Foundations For the Small Log Home

Sue | March 5th, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Foundations are the integral part of every small log home. Choosing which one is right for you depends on several factors. Instead of just thinking about the cheapest overall price, it is much more important to consider the current and future needs of you and your family.

There are three very common foundations that are used with log homes, and one that is not very common. The first three are:

  • Full Basement
  • Crawl Space
  • Cement Slab

The fourth that is not widely used is:

  • Piers
  • Cribbing

Small Log Home on Full Basement

A small cabin can be made a lot larger by simply adding a daylight basement to it. Even if the land is almost level, as was the location of this home, the front of the cabin can be dug away so large picture windows can be added to the basement. These windows were cut into the foundation after the home was finished. What a difference it made! You could sit in the new family room and look out at the entire Madison Mountain Range. This home was originally 1,800 square feet. The basement added another 1,000 square feet of living space.

Some of the least expensive square footage you can gain in a home is from finishing the basement. It should be noted that in some areas of the United States permitting needs to be obtained to add this area into the full square footage of living space within the home.

Montana Log Home Plan

Small Log Home on Crawl Space

When a log home is built with the permafrost, as in Alaska, it is very hard to dig a full basement. Instead some owners used a crawl space. Crawl spaces are made by digging the footers around the perimeter of the cabin. Footers are also added under any support posts or interior log walls. Then a four foot concrete wall is poured. And finally the first floor sub-floor is set on top of the basement. Sometimes things like the furnace, hot water tank, and well pressure tank can be set down in this area. Be sure to check with your local code enforcement officer before doing this to your own property.

Small Log Cabins on Cement Slabs

For those who do not care if they have any storage space or living space in the basement a cement slab may be a good option. Getaway cabins or for weekend cabins may have no need for storage. In this case a cement slab can be used to save on funds. The cement slab  has footers dug all the way around the edge. A second footer is installed underneath any the interior log walls or support posts.  Then a thick cement slab is poured.

And finally:

Small Log Homes on Post and Peir

A post and pier foundation is where only posts are sunk into the ground. Then a framework for the subfloor is installed and the cabin is built.

In some cases the job site location itself may dictate a different foundation than you originally envisioned. For one log home located near a river the ground was too soft, so a geo-grid build up was installed. Then the crawl space foundation was built four feet above ground and the foundation was then built up with back fill. This way the home was four feet safer from the water table in case of flooding. In another instance the ground had expanding clay soil. Other neighbors were having trouble with the foundation walls getting damaged. In this case the foundation was engineered and a thick cement slab was installed.

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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