100+ Log Cabin Kits & Everything You Need To Know Before Buying
Living in a log home is the ultimate dream for many of us, use our ultimate log cabin kit tool to search a huge collection of kits and find your perfect one.
Log homes are becoming increasingly popular, with over 700,000 log homes in the U.S. and in excess of 30,000 kits being manufactured each year.
A log cabin kit is a ‘turnkey’ home which includes most of the materials required to build a complete log cabin.
If you’re looking for advice before buying a kit, you can use the contents section to read expert advice, key things you should know and all the different kit types to make sure you’re well informed and ready to buy!
Just below the table of contacts you’ll be able to search through over 100 log cabin kits and manufacturers to find your perfect home.
Let us help you find your ideal log home by sharing our collective 30 years of industry experience…
Table of Contents
- What you Need to Know Before Buying
- Dealers and What to Look For
- What is Typically Included?
- Assembly Timeframes
The Ultimate Log Cabin Kit Tool
What do I Need to Know Before Buying?
A log home kit is a package which contains all the key materials required to build a log cabin. A kit generally includes:
- Log Walls
- Flooring (sometimes)
- Windows and Doors
These materials are sold by dealers as a complete solution to building a log cabin.
Purchasing a log home kit enables you to build a log cabin using a pre-designed and step-by-step framework which has been made to satisfy building codes and permits.
Many companies allow you to change and adapt their existing plans to suit your needs.
Milled vs. Handcrafted Log Homes
There are many different ways to customize a log home.
A milled kit is where each log has been machine processed to the same specification with a uniform shape, diameter and circumference.
The logs are typically smooth due to their machine finish.
A handcrafted (bespoke) log home kit is where each log is peeled and scribed (notched) by hand using a chisel, draw-knife and chainsaw.
Each log is unique, giving the cabin a rustic and traditional appearance. This provides more customizability and preserves the log’s natural characteristics.
A handcrafted kit will cost more than a milled counterpart due to the labour involved.
Notching and Chinking Explained
The number of different log profiles, notches, corner types and chinking are vast.
A notch (scribe) is a technique used to join two logs together where the log walls intersect each other. The most common type of log cabin notches are:
- Scandinavian Saddle Notch (Traditional Full Scribed or Swedish Cope)
- Full Dovetail Notch
- Butt and Pass Notch
- D Log Tongue and Groove
- Corner Post Notch
The most common milled notch is a chinkless saddle notch, known as a full scribe.
The notch used for a cabin kit will, in some cases, determine the chinking required.
Chinking is the material used to create a seal between the imperfect joints of logs. Chinking creates a barrier between a log cabin and the elements to prevent air infiltration and heat loss.
Chinking was traditionally made from cement and lime, however, for modern log cabins; chinking is a synthetic ready-made sealant.
The average log cabin kit price for a medium sized log cabin is $122,000.
When spending that much money it’s important you understand exactly what you are purchasing.
Species of Logs and Log Profiles
Manufacturers use different species of trees and log profiles, why?
Log cabin manufacturers typically source logs from their local environment. In the U.S; the most common logs used are:
- Pine (White, Yellow and Red)
- White Cedar (Eastern or Western)
Cedar is a premium log. A log cabin kit made from hard-wood will cost ~$15,000 more than a soft-wood alternative.
Cedar has a natural ability to withstand weathering and is considered a byword for quality.
A log profile is how the log is finished. There are four log profiles commonly used in the industry:
- Round Log
- Square Log
The log profile impacts the energy efficiency of a log home. The most common log used is a D-Log with a Tongue and Groove notch.
Kiln Dried vs. Air Dried Logs
The different types of trees are initially felled and harvested. Once harvested the logs then need to dry.
It’s important that manufacturers dry the logs before building with them to reduce warping, bowing and settling.
Wet logs, known as green logs, still have a high moisture content from the water content in the original tree (typically over 40%).
The harvested logs are stacked outside, with spacers between each log, and allowed to dry over a period of months to years. The wind and natural sunlight will start and complete the drying process.
The harvested logs are initially air dried until around 25-30% moisture content before being moved into a kiln. A kiln is a large oven which is used to accelerate and control the reduction of moisture content.
Kiln dried logs are more expensive as the process is very energy intensive.
It’s important that whatever process is used to dry the logs the logs have around 10% moisture content before building.
Stamped vs. Non-Stamped Engineering Plans
When selling a log cabin kit, a manufacturer will also provide construction plans, a cut-sheet and a materials checklist.
Stamped blueprints are typically only included from premium manufacturers.
Stamped blueprints are required by local municipals as part of building codes for structural engineers to assess your log cabin.
Typically, stamped engineering plans cost between $1-$2 per square foot if they aren’t included in a kit.
You should know the following: 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
Dealers: Where Should you Buy a Log Cabin Kit From?
There are over 300 manufacturers and dealers in the US.
Not all prefab log homes are born equal… and neither are the manufacturers and suppliers.
You should perform checks on your chosen manufacturer.
We would recommend you undertake the following three checks as a minimum:
- Is the manufacturer registered with an association?
- Does the supplier offer an installation service or on-site assistance?
- Are the logs and blueprints graded and stamped?
Most good quality kit manufacturers will be registered with Log Builders’ Associations or Home Builders’ Associations. You should make sure your kit manufacturer is too.
You should expect a minimum 10-year warranty caveated by a maintenance schedule to adhere to from your kit manufacturer.
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
What is Included with a Typical Log Home?
When purchasing a kit, you should thoroughly research and understand what is included.
After surveying the top 100 kit manufactures in the US we discovered that typically, log wall systems, roofing systems and windows and doors are all included.
These materials will provide you with a complete log cabin shell.
However, in addition to a typical kit you also need to source the following materials;
- Sub Floors
- Interior Floors
- Interior Finishes (Kitchens, Bathrooms, Interior Doors)
You should read this section in conjunction with the cost section for a full understanding of cost.
The list of materials in a kit can be misleading, 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
Pricing, Turnkey Costs and Additional Costs
It’s important to not just assume that the cost of the kit is the final cost of building your log cabin. There are many other costs that you’ll need to include in your budget.
There are typically two costs associated:
- Kit Cost
- Finished Cost (Includes Kit Cost and every cost required to move into your cabin)
The kit cost is the price typically quoted by the kit manufacturer.
The typical price of a log home measuring 2,200 square feet is $122,000.
Additional Costs (Delivery Costs and Taxes)
The kit price is missing lots of expensive items from it. These items can include:
- Kit Delivery Fees
- Sub Floors
- Interior Finish
- Stamped Plans
Finished Price (Turnkey Price)
It’s better to use a working ratio of 1:3 ratio (excluding labor) or 1:2 ratio (including labor) when purchasing a prefab log home kit, to estimate the final cost.
A log home kit which costs $50,000 would cost $100,00 if you build-it-yourself and $150,000 if you pay someone to build it for you.
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
When it comes to planning the purchase and build of your prefab cabin, there are two different timeframes:
- Manufacturing Time
- Assembly Time
The manufacturing time is how long it will take the supplier to manufacturer your kit.
- If the kit is cheap the manufacturer may have some in stock.
- For larger log cabin kits (over 1,500 square feet) the manufacturer will build them on request.
This can can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.
The assembly time is how long it will take a full-time contractor to assemble the cabin kit from scratch.
This can vary from one week to a few months and is driven by contractor experience and the size of the kit.
If you are using a contractor expect this number to be a couple of weeks.
If you are assembling the cabin yourself expect this to take a minimum of three months.
Log Cabin Kit Financing
There are multiple options when it comes to financing the purchasing and building of a log cabin. These typically fall under:
- Specialist Finance Broker
- Credit Union
Financing products can either be:
- Log Cabin Finance
- Construction Loan
- Land Loan
The most common form of financing is a construction loan. This is a short-term loan (less than 24 months) which is used to finance the build phase. A construction-to-perm loan automatically converts to a mortgage upon completion of your build.
If you’ve made it this far, you will now know all the important things to consider when buying your log cabin.
You should be able to choose a manufacturer, and be equipped with the right questions to ask them.
You’ll also be able to write a full budget and make sure that there are no hidden costs or extra surprises.
Perhaps you even managed to find the perfect log cabin in the tool section.
We’d love to hear about your journey and process below, or feel free to drop us an email.