Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-04-2016, 11:35 PM
hpanderson hpanderson is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1
My boyfriend and I are buying 2 acres and want to build a log cabin

My boyfriend and I want to build a log cabin on 2 acres of land. He is an excavator and will clear the land out before we build the log cabin..but we have no idea where to start or the things that will come up that we should know? How costly is it all? We want to put electricity in it, plumbing, and all that eventually. Shower, kitchen..etc
  #2  
Old 12-04-2016, 11:49 PM
PastTense PastTense is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6,075
A Google search gives lots of advice:
https://www.google.com/search?q=build+log+cabin
  #3  
Old 12-04-2016, 11:50 PM
Common Tater Common Tater is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,855
I would discuss things with your insurance agent first. My buddy built a new cabin out of old cabin logs, and it turned out nice. But it's not a "standard" home, and is difficult to value. He used propane stove for heat, they would not insure anything that burned wood for heat. That was a bridge too far I guess. If you're planning on sewer hookups and connections to city utilities, then maybe there's a lot less issues. Just do your homework ahead of time, particularly with respect to code requirements.
  #4  
Old 12-04-2016, 11:59 PM
BrerRobert BrerRobert is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 61
Most people who are building cabins for primary homes purchase kits with some level of prefabrication.
  #5  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:32 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,941
Depending on where you are, this may be fairly easy or almost impossible. Some places don't have much in the way of regulations. Other places may require you to submit plans that have been approved by a structural engineer before you can build. You may even have to provide insulation calculations done by a certified engineer to prove that your design is energy efficient in some areas. Make sure you know the legalities of your area before you start this project. At the very least, you'll probably have to adhere to standards like the International Building Code. If you have no idea what that is, then you definitely haven't done anywhere near enough homework to build your own cabin.

As already mentioned, insurance companies may place additional restrictions on your home. Find an insurance company that is willing to work with you and then work together to come up with a building plan that makes both of you happy.

Have a good plan to deal with water (the rain type). Grade the land so that it slopes away from the cabin. Start your first course of logs at least a couple of feet above ground level. Make sure your roof has large overhangs to drop the water as far from the base of the cabin as possible.

Where is this two acres of land located? If you're out in the middle of the woods somewhere, there may not be existing electricity and sewer lines and such to hook into. You may be looking at things like having your own well and septic system and maybe your own generator. Believe it or not, internet can be arranged for places like this in some cases. Some rural internet systems exist that use wireless to daisy chain from one farm or cabin to the next until they get back to civilization. Some of these systems aren't the most reliable in the world though.

If you are close enough to utilities, make sure you know the costs of getting hooked up. If they have to dig a couple of hundred yards of trench to hook you up, that's gonna cost you a lot more.

If you need to use your own well water and put in your own septic, make sure that the ground perks well enough in that area for a decent septic system and also make sure that the groundwater is close enough to the surface that you don't need to drill an excessively deep drill to get your water.

Keeping your cabin shady will also help keep it cool in the summer. As you are clearing your lot for the cabin, make sure you keep shade trees close enough to the cabin. Don't just level everything.

If you are heating your cabin with firewood, 2 acres is about the minimum amount of land you'll need to grow your own firewood, maybe a bit more or less depending on how far north you are and how much heat you need. There's another potential reason to be careful about how much land you clear around your cabin.

Design your cabin with sunlight in mind. Don't just plop it down and hope for the best or you may end up with the sun coming in rather annoyingly through the windows at times, or you'll have favorite rooms that don't get enough sunlight and are dark and gloomy.

Give us more info about exactly what you are planning and we can give better advice.
  #6  
Old 12-05-2016, 05:05 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Worcestershire UK
Posts: 5,533
Surely, the very first thing to do would be to talk to any potential neighbours. They may have already gone through the process, but even if they didn't, they will point you in the right direction.

I imagine that you already know whether or not your local zoning/building laws will allow you to build in the first instance.
  #7  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:49 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,448
Logs are a terrible building material. I strongly consider something more conventional (e.g. brick or siding).
  #8  
Old 12-05-2016, 07:09 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 27,129
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrerRobert View Post
Most people who are building cabins for primary homes purchase kits with some level of prefabrication.
A friend of mine built his home (four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, full basement) not really as a kit, but with precisely scheduled delivery of components. He secured a construction loan that converted to a mortgage once the house was finished.

He worked a full time job while he built the house and it was very difficult. A few times he couldn't be on site when deliveries occurred. When they delivered tons of gravel for the basement he was thirty minutes late. Instead of dumping gravel into the basement, the driver just dumped in the yard. Friends with wheelbarrows were contacted and we spent hours that night moving the gravel.

It was a very stressful project!
  #9  
Old 12-05-2016, 07:56 AM
Doug K. Doug K. is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Hutchinson, KS
Posts: 3,202
I hate to say it, but if you have no idea where to start, you're going to be way, way over your heads. You need to take some lessons before you try to take the final exam.
  #10  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:20 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug K. View Post
I hate to say it, but if you have no idea where to start, you're going to be way, way over your heads..
I would add a few extra words: you're going to be way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way, over your heads.


First, you need serious, professional advice from a licensed architect in your local area who knows the local zoning regulations.
Then you need serious, professional advice from a licensed contractor.
And along the way, you need serious, professional advice from an electrical engineer, and a couple civil engineers (to design foundations, wastewater, access road, and more)
And you need serious, professional advice from a lawyer, a tax assessor and an insurance person.

All this advice will cost you thousands of dollars.

Then, only after you have all this advice---- you might be able to start.
  #11  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:29 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by hpanderson View Post
My boyfriend and I want to build a log cabin on 2 acres of land. He is an excavator and will clear the land out before we build the log cabin..but we have no idea where to start...
Get a builder/contractor or you'll be sorry. There are some that specialize in log homes if that's what you really want.

In spite of Crafter_Man's non-recommendation, there are modern log homes with hi-tech designs that still retain the look & feel of an Abe Lincoln cabin.

Last edited by Musicat; 12-05-2016 at 08:29 AM.
  #12  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:45 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Logs are a terrible building material. I strongly consider something more conventional (e.g. brick or siding).
IIRC one of the problems with logs is that as they dry out (which you want for a log cabin) they may split radially, especially depending on speed of drying. Find a professionally built log cabin and a lot of these splits have been filled with some sort of wood filler.

But yes:

-if you have no idea where to start, let alone how to build one properly - you better start studying for a year or three, or hire a pro.

-unless you live in a remote area; odds are a fairly well settled area has zoning laws that require all building plans to be approved, inspected, meet code - specifically so people don't just throw up home-made shacks that are fire-traps, and worse yet, put in heating or electricity that could burn the place down.
  #13  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:50 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 56,063
Keep a logbook.



Just kidding.
  #14  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:53 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,183
Yet another issue is that, especially as the house ages, it'll develop chinks between the logs that let in a draft.
  #15  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:54 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Stockton
Posts: 10,027
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Get a builder/contractor or you'll be sorry. There are some that specialize in log homes if that's what you really want.

In spite of Crafter_Man's non-recommendation, there are modern log homes with hi-tech designs that still retain the look & feel of an Abe Lincoln cabin.
My parents bought one of these. They didn't construct it, they were, I think, the third owners the house had.

Although they never lost their love for the Rustic Americana look, one thing Mom hadn't expected was that if you have rounded logs on the inside walls, you have to dust the logs regularly, all the way to the ceiling. Their model had a cathedral ceiling in the living room, so they ended up hiring a service.

Of course, it's possible to finish the inside walls, so they don't have to be dusted.
  #16  
Old 12-05-2016, 09:05 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yllaria View Post
My parents bought one of these. They didn't construct it, they were, I think, the third owners the house had.

Although they never lost their love for the Rustic Americana look, one thing Mom hadn't expected was that if you have rounded logs on the inside walls, you have to dust the logs regularly, all the way to the ceiling. Their model had a cathedral ceiling in the living room, so they ended up hiring a service.
The StoneMilll homes I linked to offers square logs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Yet another issue is that, especially as the house ages, it'll develop chinks between the logs that let in a draft.
Again StoneMill (and I'm sure there are other builders -- this is the only one I have personal experience with) seems to have considered this. Their chinking remains flexible and they allow for settling, instructing the owner to loosen some bolts, let it settle, then tighten them up again on a periodic basis.

These are not your grandfather's log homes.
  #17  
Old 12-05-2016, 09:09 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
Log cabins are wonderful homes. You should buy a kit. You can use pine logs but you are much better off with some insect resistant wood such as cedar or cypress. You can use hardwood but it will be very expensive. Don't listen to anyone who has not built or lived in a log cabin, they're just repeating some hearsay. Start looking on the internet for information there is tons of it. As logs dry they will shrink, but there are building techniques to deal with this. Kits will eliminate all the concerns with that. You can get logs that have been milled on the interior so you will have flat walls or just line the interior walls with other material so they are flat if that matters to you. For anything but a very small cabin you will have post and beam type trusses to support the roof which will be made from heavy planks. Plumbing is not substantially different from conventional houses, your pipes will just run under the floor. Wiring is a little trickier, mostly you'll just run wiring under the floor as well. Your house won't need any insulation, log cabins have a very high thermal mass which holds the heat more efficiently than insulation in conventional homes. The cost of building varies with the type of wood and size of the cabin. For smaller cabins the cost is no different from conventional framing. As the size goes up the cost increases over conventional construction but you are building something that will last much longer. You will be very happy living in your log cabin.
  #18  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:06 AM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Taint of creation
Posts: 33,150
In the few scenarios I have seen people do this the finished cost of the log home was more than a stick built so there is little to no cost savings time and material wise. It was the style they wanted.

As others mentioned if you have no experience building a house the material of the house is secondary at this point you first need to nail down the county and state code requirements for zoning, setbacks, well and septic, and a laundry list of structural, electrical, plumbing and related construction codes you will have to follow.

You're talking about this like it's going to be a fun project, but effectively you are building a code compliant residence using non-traditional materials and neither one of you has significant residential construction experience. It can be done but do not underestimate the cost, time and complexity of what you re undertaking.
  #19  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:30 AM
swampspruce swampspruce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Cold Lake, Alberta
Posts: 3,716
Kit builds might be the way to go and educate yourself with as much Googling as possible. When we looked at log homes we were going to go with something like this one based out of Calgary. We didn't becuase the plans we wanted would have used our entire budget with no room for overages. There are always overages when you build so we decided to wait until we had more equity.

Last edited by swampspruce; 12-05-2016 at 10:31 AM.
  #20  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:37 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,887
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Yet another issue is that, especially as the house ages, it'll develop chinks between the logs that let in a draft.
I don't think they develop the chinking on their own; you have to add that. (Chinking is the caulking between logs. You're probably thinking of checking.)
  #21  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:48 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I don't think they develop the chinking on their own; you have to add that. (Chinking is the caulking between logs. You're probably thinking of checking.)
To be very technical about it, chinking is blocks and wedges of wood stuck in the gaps between logs for a particular construction style. Mud covers the chinking inside and out to seal the chinking. Over time mud has become synonymous with chinking. The common American style of log cabins used logs squared off on at least 2 sides, which would be the top and bottom of the logs. The logs were notched only enough to hold the structure together and the gaps of several inches were filled with chinking and sealed with mud. Most modern log cabins and other traditional styles are constructed without those gaps and the mud is just used to seal the crack or sometimes just for decoration. Mud was not just some wet dirt, it would have been clay or plaster in the past and now is almost always a flexible synthetic material.
  #22  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:56 AM
Me_Billy Me_Billy is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,420
Note that logs "settle down" in the years after construction. That means the logs WILL crush windows, and your kitchen cabinets will move closer to the floor after several years.

Professional log home builders leave empty space above the windows so the logs can slide down without harming the window [door]. And install adjustable sliders on cabinets so they can be raised back up as needed.

With that said, you can have a company build the log cabin for you. Here is one company which does this nationwide...
http://www.betrbilt.com
  #23  
Old 12-05-2016, 11:47 AM
Duckster Duckster is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 14,442
Start saving your pennies cuz you're gonna need quite a few of these.
  #24  
Old 12-05-2016, 11:55 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me_Billy View Post
Note that logs "settle down" in the years after construction. That means the logs WILL crush windows, and your kitchen cabinets will move closer to the floor after several years.
This only happens to people who have no clue what they are doing. This is akin to telling people that conventional roofs will leak and rot away if they don't cover them with shingles.
  #25  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:07 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 11,234
I will describe the experience a friend of mine had. He is a college professor, meaning he had free time all summer. He was experienced with a chain saw. His property was heavily wooded. After he decided where the house would be, he cut down all the trees on that part of the lot. He took away all the limbs and let the trunks dry for a couple years. Then he dug out a trench, lined it with plastic, filled it with preservative and put the logs (cut into convenient lengths) in the bath until he had done all of them. I don't know how long they sat in the bath nor what he did with the preservative after.

That done, he hired someone to destump the land, dig a space for a basement, lay a foundation and basement walls. Then, and only then, he hired a couple of locals who had done this many times before, to actually build it, leave spaces for doors and windows, fill in the chinks erect roof beams and all those things a layman will not know how to do. They did a super job.

The houses nearby had telephone and electricity and he was able to hook up to them. There was no water or sewage. So has a septic tank and he hired a contractor to dig a well. He got some water, not much, from the well and it tested high in arsenic. So he gave up on the well and gets his wash and toilet water from the lake he is on, while for drinking water he fills five gallon carboys at the nearest town. This is a headache since they are in a heavy snow area and the private dirt road around the lake has to be plowed continually. Also regraded every spring. Still he manages to live there over all vacations and even now, when all his teaching is on Mondays and Wednesdays, he and his wife are there for at least half of every week. It is extremely comfortable, but the water situation would drive me nuts.
  #26  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:20 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,183
Quote:
Quoth Dewey Finn:

I don't think they develop the chinking on their own; you have to add that. (Chinking is the caulking between logs. You're probably thinking of checking.)
I said "chinks", not "chinking". As in, narrow gaps or cracks. Chinking is apparently what one uses to fill chinks.

And I'm speaking from the experience of my aunt, who built her own log house (as in, the majority of every sort of work involved was done by her personally). It may well be that the pros have ways to deal with this problem, but that's just yet another argument to having it done by a pro (if at all).
  #27  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:22 PM
crucible crucible is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,293
could I suggest a 'yurt'? http://www.yurts.com/

Or some other source. Round buildings are more efficient for construction and heating. Just you and your man should be very comfortable in one. I've seen other round homes that advertise (and I think, truly) being able to be built by 'amateurs' with a few basic skills. They are fascinating to be in and, per the owners I've talked to, fun to live in. In other words, a log cabin is one neat thing to consider, but there are others.

Naturally, that leaves a lot of questions to be addressed -- water, power, sewer, heat source, use of wind or solar power, possibly water power...and much much more. All the discussion here about using experts to fully lay out for you what you are looking to do is excellent advice.

Last edited by crucible; 12-05-2016 at 12:23 PM.
  #28  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:26 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
I said "chinks", not "chinking". As in, narrow gaps or cracks. Chinking is apparently what one uses to fill chinks.

And I'm speaking from the experience of my aunt, who built her own log house (as in, the majority of every sort of work involved was done by her personally). It may well be that the pros have ways to deal with this problem, but that's just yet another argument to having it done by a pro (if at all).
It is certainly an argument for having a log cabin at least designed by a pro or using a kit. Log cabins are certainly easier to build than most types of construction, but that's just the labor. Like most things the devil is in the details.
  #29  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:26 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,183
Round buildings might be efficient to construct and heat, but they're horribly inefficient to actually live in. Look around at all of the furniture in the room you're in, or in any other room in your house: Odds are it's all rectangular. Fit that into a room with curved walls, and you'll end up with a lot of wasted space.
  #30  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:33 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
About the only true advantage of a round structure is that it can be easily built on a single small central pillar. In some terrain this becomes practical, but as noted above it is very difficult to make efficient use of the space. The efficiency of heating is a misleading, the construction materials and insulation matter far more than the shape of the house in modern times. If you had to make a house out of uninsulated low thermal mass materials then a round structure will be more heat efficient, but far more inefficient than a house with a huge difference in surface area to volume that is properly insulated.
  #31  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:42 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,619
There's actually good reasons why home aren't built of logs anymore ... and good reasons why there's not very many old homes built of logs ... they just don't last ...

Let's skip the obvious ... dirt floors may have been okay in the 19th Century frontier ... but today this is considered unacceptable ... thus the concrete slab floor you're planning and I'm sure your excavator SO is dialed in on the foundation and just how God awful deep y'all are going to be digging ...

As mentioned above ... there's only a few species of tree that are suitable for this construction ... the others will rot long before the mortgage is paid off ... and these suitable species are in extremely high demand ... they are milled up into siding and if you've priced cedar siding lately you know just how much you'll be paying for enough logs ... and these logs will have to properly seasoned ... cut them down, stack them with air gaps and covered, and a year minimum before you can use them ... green logs will twist and warp during dry weather and that'll make a mess of everything ...

Are you planning on renting a milling machine and a crane ... or are you going to hand-hew them ... maybe in the 19th Century we could find enough straight trees, but today this isn't the case ... at a minimum you'll need to hew the top and bottoms so they fit together ... and have plenty of extra ... there will be mistakes and there will be logs ruined while you learn how to fit them together properly ...

... and you'll still be framing your roof ... even in the 19th Century, people hand sawed dimensional lumber to build trusses ... as far as I know, log roofs were only built in coastal Norway and where these folks immigrated to here in the USA ... so not surprisingly, purlin construction is something of a lost art ...

Your electrical will be in pipes nailed to your walls and the electrical boxes will protrude out into your living space ... I suppose you could cut channels on the inside of the logs ... but either way you might find this will look awful, perhaps ruining the rustic look you're trying to achieve ... plumbing, cable, phone all the same thing ... just nailed to your walls ...

You avoid these and other problems by buying a kit, with it's warranty ... and from the links above we can certainly say these are beautiful homes in every way ... I'll bet dog hair to kitty litter these companies sell more modest kits ... something for every budget ... there's some trade-offs with this route but I'll double down my bet that you will be completely satisfied with the results (and so will your insurance agent) ...

I once worked in a mill where we made pre-cut log cabins ... we'd buy 4x8 cedar beams, run them through a planer to round off the sides and cut a tongue-and-groove system on top and bottom, cut them to length, notch them and load all the pieces into a semi-trailer so they could be hauled out to Amish country ... about half our business ... the Amish didn't have a problem with electric wiring ... it was completely forbidden in fact ... so our kits were of great value to them because they could assemble these kits by themselves ... no power equipment needed ... just a sledge hammer ...
  #32  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:46 PM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: revillagigedo
Posts: 2,449
Talk to your state forestry department. Land use conversions are usually exempt from forest practices but you usually have to start the process (pay $) in order to declare it a land use conversion.
  #33  
Old 12-05-2016, 01:20 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 34,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrerRobert View Post
Most people who are building cabins for primary homes purchase kits with some level of prefabrication.
And are surprisingly inexpensive.

Another thing to do is buy a used double or single wide and park it there. In many areas you can live in that while building your primary residence. (In some, you can live in a mobile with few restriction).
  #34  
Old 12-05-2016, 01:27 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,887
I like the idea of a post-and-beam frame covered in structural insulated panels. On This Old House, they once built an extension to an existing house using this method. The post-and-beam frame looks cool and the panels make for a well-insulated structure.
  #35  
Old 12-05-2016, 01:37 PM
August West August West is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: The Cheese Belt
Posts: 4,766
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Logs are a terrible building material. I strongly consider something more conventional (e.g. brick or siding).
Over half of my house is a log cabin built in 1845, over 170 years and still going strong.

That half is way more energy efficient than the stick built half (added in 1910). Until we remodeled 3 years ago the "conventional" had no insulation in the walls. Even with the spray-foam insulation we added, it's no match for a foot and a half of solid oak.
  #36  
Old 12-05-2016, 02:06 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 73,183
Then again, a foot and a half of solid oak is a lot thicker than most log cabin walls. Most are of a thickness much more easily matched by conventional construction, using insulation with much higher R values.
  #37  
Old 12-05-2016, 02:26 PM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,244
I knew someone who built a cottage in an area with very small trees - pine trees no more than 30 or 40 feet tall, spindly, no more than 6" diameter at best - but plenty of them. Basically he build a dual-wall log cabin with side-by-side logs, and filled the gap between with pink fiberglass insulation. However, he used a lot of the local clay to chink the chinks between the logs, inside and out.
  #38  
Old 12-05-2016, 02:35 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: The Middle of Puget Sound
Posts: 21,059
Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
In the few scenarios I have seen people do this the finished cost of the log home was more than a stick built so there is little to no cost savings time and material wise. It was the style they wanted.

As others mentioned if you have no experience building a house the material of the house is secondary at this point you first need to nail down the county and state code requirements for zoning, setbacks, well and septic, and a laundry list of structural, electrical, plumbing and related construction codes you will have to follow.

You're talking about this like it's going to be a fun project, but effectively you are building a code compliant residence using non-traditional materials and neither one of you has significant residential construction experience. It can be done but do not underestimate the cost, time and complexity of what you re undertaking.
Agreed with this. If you're just building a real cabin which is little more than some walls to keep out the wind and a roof to keep out the rain where you can camp rustically a few weeks every year, then that can be pretty cheap. If you want something that meets building codes with electricity and running water and a building loan, that's a whole other kettle of worms.
  #39  
Old 12-05-2016, 02:49 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Sturgeon Bay, WI USA
Posts: 19,905
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
If you want something that meets building codes with electricity and running water and a building loan, that's a whole other kettle of worms.
You said it --Those worm kettle codes are a real bitch.
  #40  
Old 12-05-2016, 03:31 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Agreed with this. If you're just building a real cabin which is little more than some walls to keep out the wind and a roof to keep out the rain where you can camp rustically a few weeks every year, then that can be pretty cheap. If you want something that meets building codes with electricity and running water and a building loan, that's a whole other kettle of worms.
I think people would be surprised to find out how much work is involved just keeping some camping cabin up. Keeping out the bugs and raccoons. Keeping the wood from rotting. The same with the outhouse.
  #41  
Old 12-05-2016, 04:08 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Manor Farm
Posts: 16,625
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Logs are a terrible building material. I strongly consider something more conventional (e.g. brick or siding).
Having participated in building both traditional log and 'native lumber' houses I'd have to agree with this. Traditional-style log houses were built because the materials were nearby and easy to use with minimal processing (debark and trim, cut saddle joints, and stack them together, using smaller pieces to form a sod or thatch roof). They were not especially robust against weather or rot and had to be frequently maintained and even rebuilt several times, which is why painted lumber became so popular once it was more widely available. If money is at issue, buying a small portable cabin or building a cabin from a couple of salvaged insulated CONEX containers is a better alternative, allowing you to set up quickly with minimal foundation work and from which you can later upgrade or expand (tougher to do with log construction unless you planned it from the beginning). If your desire is to build using on-site or local materials then you might look into rammed earth construction or straw bale construction (depending on what is available near you), although both require some expert support or a good deal of research and some testing to build a robust structure that won't suffer from water degradation or rot.

Yurts have been used by nomadic peoples for millenia as mobile structures, or as an open structure in tropical climates. Yurts and yurt-like structures are floor space efficient and easier to heat and cool than other types of portable structures, but unless you really like the spartan lifestyle and don't mind sharing a very small space with no privacy they aren't a good choice for a permanent structure that you might live in for an extended period of time. (The biggest yurts I've seen top out at around 1200 s.f. which may sound great until you realize that breaking it into rooms gives you a lot of unutilizable wedge-shaped space.) The less said about geodesic domes the better; they make fine protective domes for radar systems but they suck as living space in pretty much every possible way imaginable.

The o.p. doesn't indicate where the land is, but don't dismiss the costs of running electricity, putting in septic, drilling a well, et cetera. Unless you are genuinely prepared to rough it, or install and maintain a solar electric system the upkeep costs are going to dwarf your theoretical savings by living off-grid. There are a lot of resources online and in print about how to build and live in off-grid or remote locations, and a critical reading of them will well-illustrate the difficulty of doing so. If you haven't done this kind of work before I'd recommend getting some experience with basic construction by volunteering and/or spending some time on trial projects like building a smaller outbuilding (you'll need some place to store tools and things you wouldn't bring into the house) before committing to a larger build. Such work can be exhausting, and if you can't get a loan or insurance, you'll need to do most of the construction and upkeep yourself.

Stranger
  #42  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:12 PM
OldOlds OldOlds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
I would add a few extra words: you're going to be way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way,way, over your heads.


First, you need serious, professional advice from a licensed architect in your local area who knows the local zoning regulations.
Then you need serious, professional advice from a licensed contractor.
And along the way, you need serious, professional advice from an electrical engineer, and a couple civil engineers (to design foundations, wastewater, access road, and more)
And you need serious, professional advice from a lawyer, a tax assessor and an insurance person.

All this advice will cost you thousands of dollars.

Then, only after you have all this advice---- you might be able to start.
I just want to chime in that I really hate when people on the internet respond to these sort of requests with "if you have to ask you can't do it." I agree that is sometimes true, but it really depends on the type of person. Some of my most rewarding endeavors have been from a position of way over my head, and I am proud of them all. But then, I'm the type who loves a challenge and prides himself on perseverance.

Just my two cents: OP, if you're the right sort, go for it but do MASSIVE homework first
  #43  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:25 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,887
I get the impression that the OP isn't very experienced with this. I'm basing that on the question, "How costly is it all?" It seems to me that the cost can vary tremendously, depending on how rustic or how luxurious you want to get. For example, you can do a basic bathroom, with a fiberglass tub, cheap toilet and basic sink for a few thousand. Or you can go nuts with an Italian marble shower enclosure, whirlpool bath, fancy Japanese toilet and so forth and spend $50,000 or so.
  #44  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:47 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 14,964
My 2 - go with Strawbale instead of logs.
Rustic, easier to DIY, excellent insulation, and cheaper.
  #45  
Old 12-05-2016, 07:39 PM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,448
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
Logs are a terrible building material. I strongly consider something more conventional (e.g. brick or siding).
To elaborate a bit, we have lived in a log home since 2000. (Pic.) It's been an f-ing nightmare. I spend my summers fixing wood rot, chinking, staining, etc. while perched on a ladder. Just... don't do it.
  #46  
Old 12-06-2016, 03:51 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,244
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldOlds View Post
II really hate when people on the internet respond with "if you have to ask you can't do it." . Some of my most rewarding endeavors have been from a position of way over my head, .

go for it but do MASSIVE homework first
That's my whole point: IF you do a massive amount of homework, then you're no longer in over your head.But until then, yes, you are.

And in this thread, it sounds like the OP hasn't even started their homework.
  #47  
Old 12-06-2016, 09:41 AM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 5,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
To elaborate a bit, we have lived in a log home since 2000. (Pic.) It's been an f-ing nightmare. I spend my summers fixing wood rot, chinking, staining, etc. while perched on a ladder. Just... don't do it.
Thats too bad. it looks like a nice place.
  #48  
Old 12-06-2016, 09:50 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 37,454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
To elaborate a bit, we have lived in a log home since 2000. (Pic.) It's been an f-ing nightmare. I spend my summers fixing wood rot, chinking, staining, etc. while perched on a ladder. Just... don't do it.
The results aren't just a matter of the type of construction.

I've been in my log cabin since 97. It's at least 70 years old now. It's made of white cedar and even the worst abuse in the past didn't result in much rot, there's no chinking, and spraying a coat of oil takes about 2 hours every couple of years. There are stick built homes that are nightmares and there are stick built homes that require minimal maintenance.
  #49  
Old 12-06-2016, 10:07 AM
Mr Quatro Mr Quatro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 983
Where's the OP hpanderson? We are just talking to ourselves lol

Okay here's my perceptive ... buy your property near the forest service property and then you can enjoy hundreds of acres as your neighbor and get a wood cutting permit every year for your fire wood.

Go prefab delivered on a flatbed with a crane and invite lots of friends to put it together.
  #50  
Old 12-06-2016, 11:13 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,941
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Quatro View Post
Where's the OP hpanderson? We are just talking to ourselves lol
Could be a drive-by poster, but it's an interesting topic and I'm sure someone will find this information useful eventually, one way or another.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017