Luxury Log Homes, Square Footage or Log Size?

Sue | January 14th, 2014 - 7:08 am

Luxury Log Homes -Which matters more: 1. Total Square Footage or 2. Log Diameters?

The Answer: The Owners Decide.

Luxury log homes can be either built from milled or handcrafted log styles. The term ‘luxury’ is a broader term, not referring to the log style as much as the features and quality of the log cabin itself. So let’s first look at log size.

Log Diameters for Log Homes

When owners are contemplating a luxury log home most often they desire a log size larger than an 8 inches. The 8 inch log size is a long standing bench mark in the log home industry. It is the most economical to manufacture, it is thick enough to still have a sufficient amount of thermal mass, and it utilizes more of the raw tree diameter. In fact, about 80% of log homes are built from 8 inch diameter milled logs.

But for those seeking a luxury log cabin home owners tend to desire the ‘bigger logs’. To graduate to the larger log category you have to go to something larger than an 8 inch log. These log sizes include 9 inch diameter, 10 inch diameter, 12 inch diameter, and of course the handcrafted log homes.

Even with the step from an 8 to a 9 inch log diameter the logs themselves give off a larger feeling. Look at this display. Each log size is marked accordingly.

Swedish Cope Log Samples

Swedish Cope Log Samples

The larger the log the more impressive the log home. The main difference between milled logs and handcrafted logs are the milled logs are cut to a consistent diameter from one end to the other. A handcrafted log is where the natural taper and shape of the log is preserved and built into the log wall. A milled log also differs in the fact that most of the log lengths are up to about 15 feet. In contrast, a handcrafted log is a full length wall log of up to 50 feet.

9 Inch Diameter Swedish Cope Log Wall

Here is a photo of a 9 inch Swedish Cope stacked log wall with a 12 inch diameter log roof system. For this location, along the Gallatin River near Big Sky, Montana the owners desired something more than a standard 8 inch diameter log.

10 Inch Stacked Log Wall

Our next cabin is a 10 inch diameter stacked log wall. These logs are now two inches wider than an 8 inch diameter. The larger log feel is starting to come into affect even more. As you look at this smaller log cabin, remember we are looking at log size here, not total square footage. Notice there are not as many rows to climb to the top. Each row of 10 inch logs yields a taller stack height than an 8 or 9 inch log row.

10 inch log cabin finished

11 Inch Diameter Log Homes

The 11 inch diameter log homes are an unusual size. We do not currently offer this size.

12 Inch Diameter Swedish Cope Log Homes

The 12 inch diameter is the largest we go in either the Swedish Cope or the Double Tongue and Groove stacked log homes. The next step up is into the handcrafted log style with wall logs typically ranging from about 12 to 16 inches in diameter. Our next photo shows great room inside a 12 inch diameter log home. Now we are at even less rows of logs to reach the full wall height of 9 to 10 feet.

Handcrafted Log Homes for Luxury Log Home

And finally the handcrafted log home style. Handcrafted logs range in size from about 12 to 16 inches in diameter for the wall logs and up to 50 feet in length. In a milled log home the logs are only up to about 15 feet long within the walls. When this is the case end joints must be used between the end of one log and the beginning of the next down the length of the wall. Below we see the Bear Creek Plan with nine row of handcrafted logs needed to reach the top of the walls. Each row gains about 12 inches in stack height.

july 26th upclose of gable front soffit, fascia, and siding

For the largest possible log diameter, for those who are seeking “Honking Big Logs!” the handcrafted log style is where you need to focus. If you find you desire something even bigger than a 13 to 14 inch mean diameter, then we can increase the mean diameter. We quoted one recently with a mean diameter of 18 to 20 inches. For someone looking for even more extremely big logs then the western red cedar flared log homes might be the best choice.

western red cedar flared log

The appearance of a log home is transformed with the larger log diameters. You can take two log homes with very similar floor plans and get two totally different aspects of appeal. This is concept is vividly displayed in our next two log homes.

Bridger Log Home Plan

Bridger Handcrafted Log Home Plan

First we have the Bridger log home plan. It is shown here in the handcrafted log style. The logs are 12 to 16 inches in diameter. This plan also has a log truss on the left hand end, large support posts for the porch, and a solid log gable ends and dormer.

Eureka log home plan with gable dormer

Bridger Log Home Plan in 8 Inch Milled Log Style

Now we see the Bridger in an 8 inch milled log with square timbers support posts over the porch. The size difference in the logs is very noticeable. To me, the first cabin, in the handcrafted log style, qualifies as a luxury log cabin. The milled is also attractive, but it lacks some of the integral appeal that the handcrafted one emanates.

Through our exploration of log sizes, comparing photos, and looking at two completed examples of each, we have shown how log size does matter. The larger the logs the more impressive, but also the more expensive. The larger the logs the less rows of logs required to reach a 9 or 10 foot wall height. And finally, the larger the logs the more labor intensive they are to build as well. So as you ponder Luxury Log Homes be sure to put emphasis on not only the total size of your home, but also the logs from which you desire to build 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.
Both comments and pings are currently closed.