Luxury Log Cabins ~ Milled vs. Handcrafted

Sue | April 21st, 2014 - 7:04 am

For a log cabin the logs are the first area to be explored. The logs themselves dictate a large part of the cost of building the structure. We have found that when people are striving to go as inexpensively as possible they think a “cabin” is less expensive than a standard home. This is not the case. In fact, it is more expensive to build a log cabin than it is to build a conventional home. The difference in cost between the two is the log package itself.

Milled Log Cabins

In the milled log homes, the base line is an 8 inch milled log. This is an industry standard in size and is available from almost every company that provides milled log homes. An 8 inch milled log shell from us, Cowboy Log Homes, usually ranges roughly between $24 to $28 per square foot, if the plan is over 900 square feet of living space. Plans under 900 square feet tend to be more expensive per square foot, as they still have the same number of log corners but less square footage over which to spread the cost. Larger log diameters of 9, 10, or 12 inches increase in cost. Also features such as dovetail corners and western red cedar wood species also increases the cost.

log home great room

10 Inch Luxury Log Home Interior

Handcrafted Log Cabins

In the handcrafted log home style, the logs are larger. They typically range from about 12 to 15 inches in diameter. The natural taper of the log is preserved through hand peeling with the traditional draw knife. A handcrafted log shell for a cabin over about 900 square feet usually ranges between about $50 to $60 per square foot in Lodge Pole Pine wood species.

tongue and groove end on handcrafted log home

Handcrafted Log Home Interior

Estimating Turkeys for Milled Log Cabins

Now to figure the total cost to build a log cabin from either milled or handcrafted log, a general cost estimate can be made based on whatever your local contractors are charging for a conventional home. A conventional home is also referred to as a ‘stick built’ home or a frame home. This is where standard framing lumber, insulation, siding for the exterior, and drywall is used for the interior. Here in Montana we are seeing about $14o per square foot for a turnkey from reasonably priced contractors. So if the log shell for your milled log cabin is estimated at about $25 per square foot, then the total turnkey estimate to build your log cabin would be about $165 per square foot, starting out.

Cost of Luxury Log Cabins

Cost of Luxury Log Cabins

Cost of Handcrafted Log Cabins

To estimate the cost to build a handcrafted log cabin over 900 square feet, take the local building cost per square foot for a conventional home, I am going to use $140 per square foot as in our previous example, then add the cost of the log shell to the total. So if your handcrafted log shell costs $55 per square foot then your total turnkey would be estimated at around $195 per square foot starting out.

The reason we provide these general numbers is to provide a ballpark of what construction will cost for whatever style log home you desire. Then you can see if the numbers broadly fit into the budget for construction.

Luxury Log Cabin Interiors

The larger diameter the log the more impressive the luxury log cabin will be. Other interior choices that increase the cost of the home are things like custom cabinets, hardwood floors throughout the home, hard surface counter tops, interior log walls, large real stone masonry fireplaces (instead of cultured stone), whirlpool tubs, tile showers, and expensive appliances. A log home can have a kitchen that costs $10,000 or it can have a kitchen that costs $100,000 or more. So some of the luxury choices are reflected in the owners tastes.

Luxury Log Cabin Kitchen

Luxury Log Cabin Kitchen

Luxury Log Cabin Homes

If you have been searching for luxury then luxury log cabin homes is the place to look. This is indicative of a personal desire for quality, unique building materials, higher end finishes for inside the home, and also a larger log size.  The log materials in the home made a large impact in the total feel. A milled log style or a handcrafted log style can be used for a luxury cabin. In a milled cabin an 8 inch log home can be luxurious but more commonly homeowners opt for specialty dovetail corners, the more expensive wood species such as cedar, and a log or timber roof system. In the handcrafted log style the logs themselves make a huge statement due to their sheer size. Cedar logs, timber ceiling, and log trusses can also be added to further enhance the home. So if you desire something more than a cabin then be sure to pay attention to the log materials themselves to lend to the charm of the log home you are striving to create.

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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