Understanding Pricing for Milled Log Homes

Sue | February 11th, 2014 - 3:41 pm

In response to feedback from our previous article, “Understanding Pricing for Handcrafted Log Homes”, we would like to share a companion article to the first. This time our focus is on Milled Log Homes– often just referred to as “Log Homes”. Milled log homes are built with a consistent diameter from one end of the log to the other. The most common log size is an 8 inch wall log. Often we use a 10 inch log for the roof system. Log roof systems typically include the log ridge beam, log purlins, or log rafters.

Turnkey Pricing for Milled Log Homes

The turnkey price is the total cost that your new log home will cost from digging of the foundation to all of the finish materials. The turnkey price includes the log shell cost, the dryin material costs, the finish materials costs, and all of the labor needed so that all you have to do is move into your new log home. For milled log homes we usually begin with turnkey pricing based on an 8 inch milled log home that is over about 900 square feet. Currently we are seeing about $165 per square foot for a full turnkey for an 8 inch milled log home on a full unfinished basement in most areas of Montana and Wyoming. So for this estimate you would take the total square footage of living space on the first floor and second floor and multiply it by $165 to get a general turnkey estimate.

Eureka log home plan with gable dormer

Madison Log Home Plan

For an example, let’s consider the Madison log home plan of 1,488 square feet. So a turnkey estimate for this plan in an 8 inch log style would start out at about $245,500. A common mistake is people hear $165 and they think the home costs $165,000. So be sure to jot down the $165 per square foot times the total square footage of living space on the first floor and upper floor.

Turnkey estimates do not include items like the cost of the property, well drilling, well pump system septic system, bringing utilities the property, driveway, landscaping, garages, and large decks or porches. Things like the porches or garages can be included in the turnkey estimate if requested by the owners, but our cost above focuses on a home over 900 square feet with an 8 inch diameter milled log wall, and with a small covered porch or open deck.

milled log home under construction rocky mountains behind

Log Shell Pricing for Milled Log Homes

Any time a Turnkey Price Estimate is provided there is always several ways to break down the costs that are all included within the turnkey number. The turnkey price includes the log shell package, the dryin materials, the foundation, excavation (based on normal digging), finish materials, and all the necessary labor.

The first cost component that we separate out is the log shell estimate. The log shell includes the four exterior log walls, log roof system, log support posts, log staircase, log railing for loft edge and one side of the staircase, log floor joists to support the loft, log support posts and header beams for any covered porches, log wall assembly materials, and construction drawings. The log shell costs usually range between about $24 to $28 per square foot based on 8 inch log size.

Dryin Packages for Milled Log Homes

In the log home world Dryin Packages are very popular. These kits include the log shell materials as I detailed above, plus the other materials necessary to keep the weather out of the home. Specifically these materials include: first floor subfloor, exterior doors, windows, roofing, soffit, fascia, exterior door and window trim, roof buildup, final roofing of shingles or metal, interior framing, and 1×6 pine tongue and groove for the ceilings and soffits. These dryin materials usually range between about $18 to $25 per square foot. This is mainly dependent on your choice of exterior doors and windows.

An important thing to note is what is not included in most dryin package costs. Things like stain, caulking, paint, insulation, garage doors, door knobs, nails, screws, etc. Nails and screws should be selected by the builder for his specific air nailers. Every gun is different. If you desire to have some of these materials included with the dryin material package then please be sure to note it to us and your builder.

Dryin Labor Cost for Milled Log Homes

Dryin labor includes the installation of the subfloor on the foundation, stacking the logs, and installation of all of the dryin materials except the 1×6 pine tongue and groove. This is a finished cost because it cannot be installed until after the insulation is installed. Dryin labor for 8 inch diameter milled log homes is currently about $28 to $30 per square foot.

If you are doing a dryin contract for your log home instead of a full turnkey, be sure to read through and see what the builder is including. Things like caulking, painting, staining, etc are not usually included unless specifically noted.

Excavation and Foundation Costs for Milled Log Homes

Of all the costs to build a log home, the one that the builder and owner have the least control in costs is the excavation. If the foundation is home to many large boulders or if the ground is very soft extra expense will be incurred to prepare it for building. It is vital to the longevity of your log home investment that your foundation be correct.

Log homes can be build on either a full basement, crawl space, or cement slab. The cost for excavation and foundations varies depending on your area, soil content, foundation of choice, etc.

Other Costs for Milled Log Homes

Within the original turnkey estimate of $165 per square foot for an 8 inch milled log home other costs included are the utilities of electric, plumbing, HVAC, the other finish materials to complete the home and the necessary labor.

If you are planning to build a new milled log home then it is wise to begin by selecting a floor plan that most closely resembles what you like and the log style and size you desire. Milled logs come in 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 inch diameters. We usually use a larger diameter log for the roof system, such as a 10 or 12 inch diameter. As your planning progresses be sure to use the turnkey or dryin numbers to your advantage to see if the log home you like is within your budget.

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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