Typical cost to Build a House
From the cost of foundations and groundwork to windows and doors to insulation and roofing, let me break down the costs of log cabin homes for you.
This post will detail my cabin build costs and also the average cabin construction costs.
Many of you might know cabin construction techniques, but, this post will reveal all of the materials and costs incurred in building a cabin home.
So keep reading if you want to understand the major costs of constructing your own log cabin home.
Site preparation and foundations
Once you’ve decided upon the plot for your cabin, the first place to start is preparing the site for your cabin’s foundation.
This happens in three main stages:
- Clearing rocks and vegetation
- Removing turf and topsoil
- Levelling the site and staking the cabin’s perimeter
If your cabin is 20FT by 15FT then clear 5FT extra each way – so your site preparation area would be 30FT by 25FT.
What you are trying to achieve is a clean and level site to work from for the installation of your foundation.
Depending upon your cabin’s site, you may be able to relocate all of the debris to another area (if the site is large enough). If you can’t, then you will have to pay for the debris to be removed from site – this is the option we took.
The typical cost is per square foot of site cleared.
It cost , 400 for the entire site to be cleared. This included the contractor removing all excess rubble, turf and vegetation off-site.
Once the site has been levelled you can then proceed to laying your cabin’s footings and foundation.
There are lots of different construction techniques for foundations, which are applicable for log cabins: concrete pads, piles and plinths.
We selected a concrete pad for our cabin, this was based on the recommendations of a structural engineer and geographic surveyor.
A pad required less excavation work, to extract cavities for the foundation, and hence less waste coming off-site.
If your soil type is peat or clay then foundations can require substantial piles to get beneath the damp levels, which is expensive.
Our cabin’s foundation cost $1, 200, which includes the rebar ($400), concrete ($600) and hard-core ($200) for the cabin’s base.
Total cost for site preparation and foundations , 600.
Drainage, Gas, Water and Electricity (Utilities and services)
Utilities and services are always a hot topic during cabin construction!
Installing utilities and services for your cabin has the potential to radically alter the total finished cost – depending upon your preference of on-grid or off-grid.
If you are looking to go off-grid and use a self-sustainable power supply, such as wind turbines and or solar panels, then don’t forget the costs of battery banks to store the power.
Continuing the cost breakdown for utilities and services, Mike Holmes, a log cabin builder in Montana, says:
$3, 000 to $8, 000 is a good estimate for the new installation of utilities and services for a cabin
My cabin’s utility and services costs were:
- Plumbing $1, 200
- Electrical $1, 000
- Water $800
If you have purchased an old cabin, which requires restoration, or a piece of land with previous occupancy, then speak to the previous owner. There is a chance utilities and services may already be installed.
If the utilities are already installed then you will just be required to pay a service connection fee – this will be around 0.
Installing utilities and services requires lots of groundwork, typically trenches to lay the piping, so it’s worth getting a builder and surveyor on-site early to assess the work required.
Installing the utilities and services early will prevent you from having to re-work foundations and re-hire expensive plant machinery to dig trenches which could have been done during the start of your cabin build.
Our cabin’s services cost $3, 000, which included the plumbing ($1, 200), electrics ($1, 000) and water ($800).
Timber and Roof
Timber and logs can quickly become the most expensive part of your cabin build.
For some lucky folks, they will have a natural supply to use. For us, we purchased road-side soft timber logs in lengths of 32FT for $80/ton. Most of the logs were 14” in girth or greater.
Once we purchased the logs we got them hauled to a local sawmill to prepare the logs and cut them to size. Then another expense to get the logs hauled back to our camp!
Try to use logs with a girth greater than 12” – this will save you money during insulation.
Weather proofing your logs is essential; there are lots of techniques for achieving this – I decided to use Permachink. If you aren’t familiar with Permachink, then look at their tutorial here.
The Permachink cost 0 and then an additional 0 for foam backers used with the chinking.
I then used Permagard to treat the timber logs once they were delivered to site. This was very time consuming and cost around $300, but, it gave me peace of mind that the timber had been treated properly.
Once the cabin’s structure was built, you will then need to decide upon your roof.
Choosing the right roof and color can really finish the cabin to a high standard and make it look great.
Roofing can come in thatch, shingles (felt or cedar), tiles, epdm rubber, slates and tin.
I decided to use a tin roof because it was the perfect color and fast to build with.
I used 2M x 950mm Bitumen Corrugated Sheets which cost $30 per sheet.
Our cabin’s timber and roof bill was $6, 600 this includes purchasing, preparing, cutting and constructing the logs.
When it comes to insulating a cabin there are almost as many choices as the timber you use.
I would suggest that you insulate the floor and roof as a minimum for your log home.
65% to 70% of all your log cabin’s heat is lost through the floor or roof.
If you are using smaller girth logs (less than 12”) with a single skin, then I would recommend you look to install a dry-wall interior for better insulation.
Alternatively, you can create two skins, in the cavity between the double-wall you can then use insulation or wool to help insulate the cabin.