Weighing the Cost of Fully Precut Logs and Random Length Logs

Sue | July 16th, 2012 - 9:13 am

The more you shop for your log home the more you will soon realize there is a broad variety of log styles and prices. Especially in the early stages of planning it can be easy to let price become the over riding factor and assume that all of the quality it equal. This is not the case. Logs are as different as vehicles. Each automobile will (hopefully) take you to your desired destination, but the RIDES are totally different experiences. We always encourage our customers to choose the fully precut option for either handcrafted or milled log homes. Below are some cost estimates and also some of the experiences we have endured with our own process of Weighing the Cost of Fully Precut Logs Shells and Random Length Log

Handcrafted Log Shells

The handcrafted log shells typically range between about $40 to $55 per square foot (depending on complexity of plan, roof lines, etc). The logs are 12 to 15 inches in diameter and up to 50 feet in length — full length wall logs. We use the Scandinavian Full Scribe method with full Diamond Saddle Notch Corners or Diamond Notched Corners. The logs come fully precut and prenumbered including opening for exterior doors and windows, electric box holes and wire hole precut and predrilled, top logs and ridge and purloins are pitch cut, etc. The logs are hand peeled with a draw knife pattern and hand sanded. A log shell for a home 2000 square feet would stack in about 2-3 days with a crane and then be totally ready for exterior doors, windows, roofing, etc.fully assembled handcrafted log home shell

We are currently building a handcrafted log home here in Bozeman, MT. The log shell was 2300 square feet with a handcrafted log roof system over the great room. The logs and roof system stacked in two days. Then the third day we used the crane to set the standard trusses over the bedroom wings and attached garage.

Random Length Milled Log Shells

Random length milled logs. These shells are the least expensive. These logs are cut to a consistent diameter but all of the other cutting must be done on site. The logs come in a variety of lengths and then the contractor has to make the corners, cut in the door and window openings, pitch cut the top logs, etc. For some jobs random length logs work well.

Precut Milled Log Shells

Precut milled log shells come with the corners premade and the door and window openings precut into the log shell. Also the floor joists are flattened on one side. Sometimes the ridge beam and purloins are also flattened on one side with a ban saw. The precut milled packages usually range between about $24 to $28 per square foot.

Short Comings of Random Length Log Shells

As general contractors we have found the random length log homes do require more time to build on site than a fully precut handcrafted log shell. There is the advantage of being able to place the door and windows where ever you would like them and not having to make that decision in the design stage.  to absorb a ton of labor and machine time for lifting the logs. Also the logs are never as tight as the fully precut milled or handcrafted log shell.

Things that make milled log shell more difficult to build is mainly if the logs are cabin grade instead of premium grade. We only provide premium grade logs.

Random Length Log Home

Log Home Pricing

If you would like to choose one of our floor plans, we would be happy to provide a quote on it. Just email it to me with any changes marked on the plan and we can get started. We also can provide a quote in both milled and handcrafted log if you would like.

For erection of the log shell we can either bring our guys down for the log stack or we can provide a technical adviser for the log stack days. For the handcrafted log homes the foundation needs to be in place before the logs arrive and the crane on site. Then the logs come off of the truck and are stacked directly onto the subfloor. If the property is remote access then we may have to look into off loading somewhere else and then transporting the logs separately.

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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