Answers From The Experts: Q&A With A Log Cabin Owner
In this series of “Answers from the Experts” we have interviewed a log cabin owner, Chris H., on some of the most frequently asked questions regarding buying, owning and living in a log cabin.
We are hopeful that this series will answer questions you’ve never had a chance to ask and inspire many more of you to start living your dream and start building a log cabin home.
A full transcript of our interview with Chris can be seen below.
Please could you start by sharing a little bit about your cabin.
My cabin is technically a “split-log” – the bottom half is a full, 8-inch D style log build with the second story being standard construction. It came as a kit – it’s literally a Lincoln Log brand cabin that was delivered and assembled by a contractor on site.
What was the most difficult part about building your log cabin?
I didn’t build it, but I grew up in the neighborhood when the original owner built it in 1987. I used to ride my bike past it while it was being constructed, and I told myself I’d live there one day. When my wife and I were house hunting several years back, it happened to be on the market so I made good on that promise.
What’s the biggest difference living in a log cabin home as opposed to living in a bricks and mortar home?
Many people think log cabins require more maintenance, this is half-true. They require a different type of maintenance. Yearly I have to treat the house for carpenter bees (each year in May I’ll dust all the old nests) and once every 5 years you need to hand-wash the logs and spray with penetreat. Its not much different than having to clean vinyl siding for mold, or dealing with carpenter bees on traditional eaves/roof structures. Its not more maintenance, its just different.
What are the annual running costs of living in a log cabin?
We have a wood stove so we are paying less for heat during the winter than we were paying in an apartment 1/3rd the size. I beg/borrow/steal wood from local landscaping companies, and rent a splitter during the early fall. Some people are amazed that we have no insulation on the first floor, that the pine logs are the only thing keeping the heat in. The once-every-5-years Penetreat sprays runs about $600.
How do you protect your log cabin from mother nature?
The cabin in on a lake, but raised on a roughly 5 foot foundation. Which gives us space for a fully finished basement. The biggest danger we face is the basement flooding, and the first thing I did was replace a 20-year old sump pump with an industrial sized one (we do get a LOT of water in the sump pit). I plan this summer to add a municipal water supply backup pump that operates during a power outage, at the cost of potable water.
What’s your best tip for living in a log cabin?
No real tips, you have to love the space. The biggest drawback for a log cabin is you don’t necessarily have the freedom to run wires through the walls – everything has to be pre-planned during construction, so things like moving windows or adding door frames is a much more complex process after construction.
One thing of note, if you live in an area (as we do) where log cabins are a lot less frequent (I think there’s only 3 in my county) it becomes more of a pain to find comparables when you buy or sell, and some insurance companies won’t cover it do to the “uniqueness” factor. Two insurance companies dropped our insurance after they visited the house simply due to the fact that it was a log cabin, but we managed to find proper coverage.
If you could start over again, what’s the one thing you’d do differently?
Nada. I love this house, and my wife loves it and that’s all that matters.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Chris. If you have any questions regarding the interview or for Chris then feel free to comment below and we will be sure to answer your questions!