Many people say that their dream home is a cozy log cabin, but while these can be very beautiful and rustic homes, building one can be more expensive than you may realize.
Like with building any home, building your perfect log cabin can come with many hidden costs, so you need to plan well ahead to make sure that you have a reasonable budget and that you can stick to it comfortably.
Here is everything that goes into building a log cabin, and the average cost of everything. Keep in mind that these are just estimates, the price will vary from company to company, and where you are building the cabin will also have an impact on the final price.
Cost Per Square Foot
On average, building a log cabin will cost around $125-175 per square foot, but it has been known to go as high as $300 per square foot.
Here are some sizes and their average cost to build:
- 200sq. ft. – $25,000 – 35.000
- 500sq. ft. (the average size of a log cabin) – $62,000 – 87,000
- 1000sq. ft. – $125,000 – 175,000
- 1,500sq. ft. – $187,500 – 262,500
These prices are the average based on what others have spent when building their cabins, but your total may be higher or lower depending on what you can build yourself, or what prices the various companies may offer.
What Goes Into Building A Cabin?
Average price – $1-45 per square foot cleared
This is very difficult to put a price on, as it all depends on the site you are building the cabin on. If the site is relatively clear then the price will be lower as less work will have to be put in. But if you are working on uneven or hilly land, removing trees or other wild plants, or have to do some demolition work, then the price will increase.
Average price – $4000 – 5000
As there is a lot of different types of foundations and ways that it can be laid, the one you choose will have an impact on the overall price. For log cabins, you can use concrete pads, plinths, or piles for the foundations.
For this step, you may want to get advice from a professional like a structural engineer or a geographic surveyor to make sure that you are choosing the right foundation for your cabin and the environment around you. Usually, the cost of a professional’s advice will cost around $500.
Average cost – $6000 – 8000
You can’t have a log cabin without the logs. The building materials for that cabin will probably be one of if not the most expensive part of the build.
Like much of this process, it can be hard to put an exact number on the cost as it depends on a huge variety of factors like where the wood is coming from, how much you need, whether it needs to be cut and shaped, and how much weatherproofing needs to be done.
If you can cut down trees and treat the wood yourself then this will obviously bring the cost right down, but this is not a possibility for everyone, and even if it is one for you it can be a lot of work and take a very long time.
If you cannot do this, then you will have to buy your own logs. Most logs cost around $0.2 – $1 per square foot, but again this depends on where you get them from.
You will then have to take them to a sawmill to cut them to size and hire trucks to bring them to the site, all of which makes the cost go up.
After this, you have to weatherproof them. The best way to do this is to use Permachink as well as foam backers, with these coming to around $1000 – $1200 total.
Don’t skip out on the weatherproofing to try and save some money though, or your build will be a disaster before you know it.
Average cost – depends on the material used
Unlike other things on this list, you cannot put an average price on roofing as it depends completely on the material you want you to use.
A thatched roof for example can cost $900-1000 per square foot. While this is already expensive, it will cost more in the long run as it needs frequent repairs every few years to keep it in good condition.
If you want a cheaper roof option then a good choice is tin. This super cheap material costs an average of $30 per sheet and is very durable as well as fast to build with.
Other roofing options are shingles (cedar or felt), EPDM rubber, slate, or tiles.
Average cost – $5000 – 6000 (if not living off the gird)
This is what will cause the biggest price difference for people. If you are planning to live off the grid, then the costs of water, gas, and electricity will be far lower than those who need to be hooked up to the main power supply. Even then you will still have to invest in quality solar flannels or wind turbines to provide you can with all the energy you will need.
Installing utilities to your cabin will require a lot of groundwork, so you should get a surveyor or builder in to help with this part of the build.
While this will add to your total cost, it may help prevent surprise costs in the future as fewer things will go wrong if you have a professional on-site.
This is only the start of things you need to think about when building a log cabin.
You will also need to look at how much insulation will cost, the cost of doors, windows, and other fittings, the cost of the interior, and labor costs for the whole build.
With so much that can go wrong in a build, it’s very important to plan your budget correctly and stick to it as much as possible, so that if things do go wrong, you have a bit of money spare to fix the issue.