Log Cabin Kits Feature

Log Cabin Kits: The Definitive Buyers Guide & Industry Review

Log Cabin Kits

With over 500,000 log cabin kits in the U.S. and 30,000+ manufactured annually; log cabin kits are becoming increasingly popular.

These ‘turnkey’ log homes are huge kits that include most of the materials required to build a complete log cabin.

However, the huge choice of log cabin kits, components and log wall systems can leave potential customers scratching their heads confused and seeking advice.

This report is packed with expert advice from industry insiders, key things you should know, different kit types and industry trends to make sure you’re well informed and ready to purchase a log cabin kit!

Contents

Chapter 1:

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Log Cabin Kit

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What You Need to Know Before Buying a Log Cabin Kit

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Chapter 2:

Log Cabin Kit Buyer’s Guide

Welcome to our complete log cabin kit buyer’s guide. Read this before you do anything else!

It contains the 3 most important factors, we at Log Cabin Hub, think you should consider before buying your kit.

Total Cost (What’s Included with a Log Cabin Kit?!)

So it’s always clear the price you will pay for your log cabin kit. The question is always:

What’s the total cost of building the log cabin kit?
Total Cost for a Log Cabin Kit

There are typically two costs:

  • Kit Cost
  • Finished Cost (Includes Kit Cost and every cost required to move into your cabin)

To know the cost, you will need to initially understand fully what’s included in your kit. When surveying the top 100 log cabin kit manufacturers we found out;

  • Log Wall Systems
  • Roofing Systems
  • Windows and Doors

Are normally included.

This leaves major costs such as; land, foundations, sub floors, interior finish and labor unaccounted for.

Use our golden ratio!

Work from a 1:3 ratio (excluding labor) or 1:2 ratio (including labor) when purchasing a log cabin kit.

For example
If your budget is $120,000 then $40,000 should go on the kit. The remaining $80,000 should be spent on the remaining costs.

Try to remember, purchasing the exterior kit is typically the “cheap part” of building your log cabin. The kit should cost no more than 35% of your total budget.

Another 25% will go on labor, 15% on foundations and site work.

So, when comparing costs, it’s better to compare total finished cost rather than kit cost.

A finished log cabin kit can range from a minimum of $125/square foot so if you calculate something significantly lower than this; it’s likely you’ve made a mistake… remember to use the 1:3 ratio.

Supplier and Kit Quality

Supplier and Kit Quality

Not all log cabin kits are born equal… and neither are the manufacturers and suppliers.

Remember, you normally get what you pay for. Buy Cheap; Buy Twice.

You should perform checks on your log cabin kit manufacturer.

Some really easy checks you can use are:
1. Log Cabin Kit Associations
Is the Manufacturer Registered with Associations?
Most good quality kit manufacturers will be registered with Log Builders’ Associations or Home Builders’ Associations:

2. Service and Aftercare
Does the supplier offer an installation service or a form of on-site assistance?
If the manufacturer doesn’t offer an installation service – walk away!

How long is the log cabin kit warranty?
You should expect a minimum 10 year warranty caveated by a maintenance schedule to adhere to.

3. Manufacturing Processes
Go and see the manufacturing processes.

Check to see if the lumber has been grade stamped?

Speak with the technicians, as well as the owners, when visiting the mill. Ask them about the cabins they are building. Gauge if they are craftsmen, who understand their subject, or just technicians

Once you have finished your checks, it’s important to remember not all manufacturers will tick all of the boxes. But, use your assessment as guidance to the quality of service being offered.

Don’t expect the best quality materials and service if you have a relatively small budget.

Be sensible with what you want from the manufacturer and understand what’s important to you (e.g. kit quality, service and aftercare) and what they are providing.

Type of Wood

Type of Wood
When taking brochures from log cabin manufacturers, and browsing log cabin kits online, pay close attention to the type of wood they build with.

Typically, for log cabin kits in the U.S, the lumber used kit will be:

  • Pine (White, Yellow and Red)
  • White Cedar (Eastern or Western)
  • Cypress
  • Spruce

The price of your kit will vary significantly depending upon the lumber used.

For example
A log cabin kit can cost in excess of $15,000 more if you upgrade from a pine kit to a cedar log cabin kit.

The reason for this?

Cedar is considered a premium log cabin material.

It has a natural ability to withstand weathering and repel insects.

Cedar is considered a byword for quality so use this as your initial screen when looking for kits.

With some parts of a log cabin kit you can cut financial corners, but, never settle for low quality log wall systems.

Use this as a lesson! Don’t just look for lumber quality, pay attention to the quality of all the components in the kit.

Other Things To Consider

Some final topics of consideration that are worthy of more research.

  • Maintenance Schedules.
  • Insurance – Most big insurance companies will insure cabins (e.g. USAA and State Farm).
  • Assembly Advice – Work direct with manufacturers where possible.
  • Taxation!

Chapter 3:

What The Experts Are Saying You Need to Know Before Buying a Log Cabin Kit.

We have interviewed some of the leading log cabin kit manufacturers in the U.S to ask them:

“What should a prospective customer know before buying a log home kit?”

The responses are all listed below and it’s time to learn about the most important things you should know before purchasing a log cabin kit…

Honest Abe Log Homes“Compare longevity of the company in the industry, if the company is member of Log and Timber Homes Council so that you are sure standards are being met, visit the manufacturer’s milling operation, model homes and design department, compare apples to apples in pricing and package contents.”

Honest Abe Log Homes

Conestoga Log Cabins“The list of materials in a kit can be miss-leading, customers should make sure they understand what they need to buy to complete. They should understand the amount of cutting that will be needed or if the kit materials come pre-cut.”

Conestoga Log Cabins

PFB Custom Homes Group“Customers should research how much of the home’s construction is included in the given kit price. Then, budget additional time and money for items such as windows, plumbing, HVAC, and the installation of interior finishes.”PFB Custom Homes Group

Moosehead Cedar Log Homes“You have to love “wood” and its few characters (i.e. splits, cracks, knots) and understand the R-Value of a “log” home, the maintenance of one, and the importance of the site they have chosen.”

Moosehead Cedar Log Homes

Coventry Log Homes“Educate yourself on what you are getting in the kit as well as the quality. Many companies won’t tell you what is missing from the kit or that the grade is sub-par.”

Coventry Log Homes

Timber Haven Log Homes“You get what you pay for. Don’t expect top quality materials and services on a low budget. Customers need to expect to choose what is most important to them… the highest quality or lowest price.”

Timber Haven Log Homes

Gastineau Log Homes“Everything should be in writing telling you exactly what you are buying. Then read what you get in writing!”

Gastineau Log Homes

Ward Cedar Log Homes“The total cost. The kit is one price and then you have to figure everything else in.”

Ward Cedar Log Homes

Meadowlark Log Homes“You should be convinced this is what you want, it is typically more expensive than a frame home.”

Meadowlark Log Homes

Appalachian Log Homes“A log cabin is a wood home and requires staining with good products just as any other wood siding type structure.”
Appalachian Log Homes

Northeastern Log Homes Inc“You should really check a kit’s energy codes and do research on windows/appliances for the best energy efficiency.”

Northeastern Log Homes Inc

Beaver Mountain Log Homes“Research turnkey costs, don’t just compare kit costs.”

Beaver Mountain Log Homes

C. M. Allaire & Sons, Inc“Have a clear understanding of the process and the costs.”

C. M. Allaire & Sons, Inc

Confederation Log & Timber Frame“Log homes are the best green building material available. It is better to use older trees and trap the carbon within.”

Confederation Log & Timber Frame

Rocky Mountain Log Homes“Understand the difference between green wood and dead standing, work with a company that has been in business a long time.”

Rocky Mountain Log Homes

Natural Element Homes“Buyer beware! Know what you are buying and understand that not all log home companies offer the same quality and services.”

Natural Element Homes

Appalachian Log Structures“You should know the following: What is included in the kit; size of logs; are the logs treated for WDI?; type of wood used; what does the warranty include/exclude; linear foot or pre-cut components; is the kit designed to meet local building codes; are blueprints included; what is the company’s overall reputation; how long has the company been in business?”

Appalachian Log Structures

Chapter 4:

Log Cabin Kits Industry in Review 2017 [Infographic]

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Log Cabin Kit Industry Review in 2017

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Chapter 5:

Log Cabin Kits Glossary

Term Description
Turnkey log homes The complete log cabin kit cost. So, the finished cost of a log cabin kit (Includes Kit Cost and every cost required to move into your cabin)
Log wall systems A component within a log cabin kit. Wood logs are stacked on top of each other and lock together using wooden joinery.
Golden ratio A ratio used to give a quick cost calculation from kit price to turnkey (full) price. Typically, use 1:3 ratio (excluding labor) or 1:2 ratio (including labor) when purchasing a log cabin kit.
HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning) A technology (e.g. insulation) used to control the temperature within the log cabin.
R-Value The R-Value is the measurement of resistance of heat flow through a certain thickness of material. The higher the R-value the better because the more thermal resistance the material has and therefore, the better insulator it makes.Read more about log cabin insulation.
Scandinavian Saddle (Traditional Full Scribed), Full Dovetail, Butt and Pass Is a type of log cabin notch. When you construct your log cabin, where each two log walls intersect, a notch is scribed to enable the locking of the walls; notches are used to join the corners of your log cabin together.Read more about log cabin notches.
D-Log, Full Log, Square Log Logs can be harvested and felled using different techniques. The end result is a different log design and style.Read more about different log types.

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