Log Home Packages

Sue | October 24th, 2014 - 6:52 am

Log Home Packages are a collection of materials that you purchase when you order your log home. What becomes confusing is, “What is really in that package?”.  All the years we have been providing high quality log home kits (oh no, another term!) there is always confusion of what is included in a package.

The first thing to understand is that every company provides something different with their standard package. For our packages we have two main options: 1. a log shell only kit, and 2. a dryin package kit.

A Log Shell Only Package includes just the log materials and the blueprints. You cannot just go out and purchase a log package from just any lumber store. Instead you have to go to a company that provides specifically log materials for log homes.

Log Shell Only Package

When we provide a Log Shell Only Package these are the main ingredients:

1. Four Exterior Log Walls
2. Log Floor Joists to Support the Loft (if a loft or second level is included in the plan)
3. Log Roof System
4. Log Staircase for First Floor to Upper
5. Log Railing for One Side of Stairs and Loft Edge
6. Log Support Posts
7. Log Girder Beam(s)
8. Log Support Posts and Header Beams for Covered Porches
9. Log Wall Assembly Materials
10. Construction Drawings

Other materials which can be added to a log package include: exterior log stairs, log railing for porches, log siding or wood siding, and interior log wall(s).

A common question is “what is included in the log roof system?”. Our log roof systems are composed of the elements necessary to support the roof. In some small cabins a log roof system may only be a ridge beam. At other times intermediate purlins are required. If a floor plan does not include a loft then often we have to add a log truss to support the span of a roof. Also owners often like more exposed logs up in the roof system. In this case we often add purlins, log rafters, and or a log truss to ‘enhance the roof system more.

Here in this photo below we see a handcrafted log roof system that includes a log ridge beam and two sets of purlins. The dormer, visible in the back of the center of the photo also has a log ridge beam and two log purlins.

dream log homes

Log Roof System

Evaluating Log Shell Differences

Some log shells will have a very inexpensive price. Beware, a low price may mean you are only getting four log walls and nothing else! Be sure to read the bid sheets and see what the company is providing. As simple as a ‘log shell only’ package can sound, a very cheap sounding price may be even just a pile of logs with no blueprints or log wall assembly materials.

Within the log shell you can choose to remove or add in more materials. Some people prefer wrought iron railing instead of log railing. In this case we simply deduct the cost of the log railing. At other times people need more railing added in for exterior porches. A note when pricing log railing: be sure that the price includes the log railing and the support posts that hold it up. Some yards only price the log railing with a top and bottom rail and spindles and then price the support posts separately.

Log Shell Assembled - CLH

Handcrafted Log Home Shell in Gallatin Gateway, Montana

Dryin Log Home Packages

Our Dryin Log Home Packages include the log shell materials plus the other materials needed to keep the weather out of the home. These materials typically include:

1. First Floor Subfloor
2. Upper Subfloor (if loft or upper level included in plan)
3. Exterior Doors
4. Windows
5. Exterior Door and Window Trim
6. Soffit
6. Fascia
7. Roofing (less final shingles or metal)
8. Interior Framing Lumber
9. 1×6 Pine Tongue and Groove for Ceilings and Soffits

Within these materials there are also choices, but the selection of exterior doors and windows is the main thing the owner needs to spend time selecting. We do the exterior doors and windows on an allowance basis.

july 24th front soffit on log home

Dryin of Log Home

Evaluating Dryin Log Home Packages

As with the log shell only packages, there is also a variety of what is included, and not included, with a package. A dryin package is designed so that a log home builder can go to the job site and have everything he needs all together for dryin in the home. A dryin package goes quite nicely with a dryin labor contract. A dryin labor contract is where a log home builder comes and installs the first floor subfloor, stacks the logs, and installs all of the other dryin materials except the 1×6 pine tongue and groove on the ceilings (this can be done at two different points in the construction of the home depending on the insulation type you choose).

Two main ingredients that we include in our dryin packages that other companies sometimes do not are: the first floor subfloor and upper and upper subfloor. These materials cost anywhere from $3.50 to $4.50 per square foot. Leaving them out, as most companies do, changes the bottom line price of the package.

Also in a dryin package some companies may include only one choice of window. We do this on an allowance basis, so you can choose whatever windows you desire. Whatever you do not spend of the allowance amount is credited back to you.

Cost of Luxury Log Cabins

Cost of Log Cabins

Costs of Log Shell Only Packages

A log shell package cost depends on the size and style of logs you choose. The 8 inch diameter milled log is basically the industry standard. More log homes are built from that size log than any other, nationwide. An 8 inch milled log shell usually ranges between about $24 to $28 per square foot, depending on the floor plan. Log home plans under about 900 square feet tend to cost more per square foot, as there is less square footage over which to spread the cost but still the same number of log corners, etc to manufacture.

Milled log home packages come in the following sizes: 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 inches in diameter. Most commonly we will go with a larger diameter for the roof system. So with an 8 inch diameter wall log you may have a 10 or 12 inch diameter log roof system. (Note: other specialty log sizes and profiles are also available.) Click here for our milled log profiles page.

For a handcrafted log home shell package the logs typically range between about $45 to $60. These logs are usually about a 13 to 14 inch diameter and are up to 50 feet in length. Costs are dependent on the log species you choose and the floor plan of the home. A handcrafted log shell made from Lodge Pole Pine is the least expensive. Please call for quotes on Douglas Fir, Western Larch, and Western Red Cedar. These three species have climbed in raw log prices over recent months.

Cost of Dryin Materials

Before I start on this section, let met caution that this pricing in this paragraph is only for the dryin materials and does not include any log shell pricing.

For the dryin materials we usually budget about $18 to $25 per square foot. (Homes under 900 square feet please call for pricing). These materials typically include: first floor subfloor, upper subfloor, exterior doors, windows, roofing (less final shingles or metal), soffit, fascia, interior framing lumber, and 1×6 pine tongue and groove for soffits and ceilings.

Log Home Package

Log Home Package

Cost of a Log Home Packages with Log Shell and Dryin Materials

Now for our culmination– the cost of a log home package which includes both the log shell materials and the dryin materials.

The cost of the log shell depends on the log size you choose. Since the 8 inch diameter log shell is the most common let me use that for this next example.

8 inch diameter log shell $25 per square foot + dryin materials of $20 per square foot = Dryin Package of $45 per square foot.

Remember, you as the owner can specify what log size you want. You as the owner chooses what log materials you want included and those that you do not want. And you as the owner can choose whatever dryin materials you wish. Some owners choose to get their own doors and windows. That is fine. We just deduct it from the total. Other log home owners choose to hire one of our log home builders and we work with the builder to select the materials, lumber lengths, etc. that he would prefer. In this way you keep the builder happy and you reduce the amount of extra materials that may be included that your specific builder would have preferred to have modified or altered before the package was shipped.

Log Home Packages

So as you explore log home packages, remember not all are created equal. A cheap price, or an expensive price, does not mean that both companies are supplying the same things, the same quality, and the same quantity of materials. Overall, the happiest log home owners tend to be those who let us help them along the way.

Cowboy Log Homes

december 1 fireplace with burns and lemmons

Happy Log Home Owners

Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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