How Much Does it Cost?

Sue | November 5th, 2014 - 9:40 pm

We all love to dream about our new log home, but the reality behind every dream is, “How much does it cost?”. Cost is the vehicle that carries that dream. Well laid budgets can encounter surprise costs during the build, but overall the well prepared budget vehicles will get to the finished home line in much better shape than one that is not.

Building Costs of Log Homes

The cost to build your log home depends some on how much you plan to do your self. That little word labor has cost associated with it. No matter what, you have to purchase your log shell materials, dryin materials, foundation, and all the finish materials to complete the home. For these costs it is very important to not minimize them. Instead look at the cost projections straight on and accept that these are costs that don’t change, no matter how much work you do yourself.

Then there is that log home labor cost. That is what you have to pay the workers to install your foundation and assemble the great mass of materials you plan to purchase with your log shell package.

Right now for a full turnkey we are seeing 8 inch diameter milled log homes starting out at about $165 per square foot. A full turnkey is where everything is done and all you have to do is move into your new log home.

As straight forward as this may sound, sometimes people misread. Be sure you realize this is not $165,000 for a turnkey. Also be sure you realize that the $165 is not the cost to build your house and also includes things like the cost of the property, well, septic, driveway, and bringing utilities to the home site.

bear creek pencil sketch rendering

$165 per square foot starting out means that you take the total square footage of living space for the home on the first and second floors and multiply it by $165. This formula works pretty well for giving a general budgetary cost when the home is over 900 square feet. So if you choose, let’s say the Eureka plan with 1,384 square feet, and you need a full turnkey, then you should have a minimum budget of about $229,000.

Doing Some Log Home Work Yourself

Sometimes doing some of the log home work yourself is called, ‘the cost of sweat’. One good option for some is to hire the general contractor to dryin or lock up the home and then the rest of the finish work is contracted by you directly. This is especially a good choice for those who already have some building experience and feel comfortable doing some work themselves such as, laying flooring, installing cabinets, installing drywall, etc. How much will you save doing this? It all depends on how proficient of a builder you are, what your skills include, and how much you actually do yourself.

Dryin Labor Costs

Dryin labor is where the builder comes and installs your subfloor, stacks your logs, and installs all of the dryin materials (except the 1×6 pine tongue and groove on the ceilings). Dryin labor costs about $25 to $30 per square foot. Some areas such as parts of Colorado and California may be more towards the $35 per square foot range. So again, you take the total square footage of the home and multiply it by $25 and $30 to give yourself a range. So for the Eureka plan I would estimate the dryin labor to cost between $35,000 and $42,000.

rocky mountain log home getaway

Balancing the Building and the Log Home Budget

Now comes the balancing act. You may be thinking, “Boy a turnkey sounds good! Just move in. But can I afford it?” That question is one that only you can answer. In a break down of costs you have the log shell of about $24 to $28 per square foot, dryin materials of about $18 to $25 per square foot, and dryin labor of about $25 to $30 per square foot. If you want a dryin, then these price per square foot costs are what you should seriously look at.

front and side view of log home

You also have to remember to put in some foundation cost. Foundation costs are dictated by the foundation type you choose and your job site location. Some foundations can escalate in cost due to soft ground. Last year we had hole for a foundation that was soft in one end as it was along a stream. We ended up having to spend an additional $25,000 to build up the foundation with a geo-grid and have a civil engineer design and inspect it.

Cost of Luxury Log Cabins

Cost of Luxury Log Cabins

If you actually price out the costs I provided above, you will be well on your way to determining an overall budget. If you have to have a turnkey and only have $165,000 for the home, then you should only consider floor plans of no larger than 1,000 square feet. If you have to have more room and don’t have a large enough budget then you have to make some hard decisions. Are you satisfied with not building with log? You, my friend, are the only one who can decide. But whatever you do, please don’t ignore overall budgets, and turnkey pricing. Every home, every home, has a budget, even if someone doesn’t want to admit it.

Cowboy Log Homes

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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