When someone mentions they live in a log cabin home, it invokes pictures of firelight playing across walls of wood, with massive beams overhead dancing in and out of the shadows. A cozy rug before the fireplace, with cushy, wood trimmed, rustic furniture. Large picture windows showing picturesque scenes of a mountain valley, or in winter, snow blanketing the ground, with firs standing green and tall.
This is log cabin life as we picture it and is a dream desired by many. Unfortunately, it remains a dream for many. But it need not remain only a dream. More and more people are fulfilling their ambition of owning, building or renting their log cabin home. Whether that log home is set in a tranquil wood or perched upon a rural hillside, the yearning of a peaceful serene setting is becoming more of a need for people as a way to escape our twenty-first century, technology driven existence.
So, how do you start? Here are 10 things to consider before building your perfect log cabin home.
First - Decide where you will be building your home. The size of the lot or acreage will determine square footage and much more. Consider your wants and needs, such as privacy and determining window placement with regard to maximizing your best views.
Second - Check out different log cabin home plans. There are a number of sites which sell plans. Also a number of log cabin plan books that allow you to search for the right one to maximize the footprint on your lot. There are also a number of builders who specialize in building log cabin homes that you can check out. The internet is a great place to search for log cabin home plans.
Third - Determine whether you will be building your dream home yourself or hiring a builder. Get quotes from several builders. Also, if hiring it done, be sure and ask for testimonials, check with the local builders association for unresolved issues and basically, do your homework.
Fourth - Do you want handcrafted logs (round logs and chinking) or milled logs (logs that are uniform in shape, with logs cut to fit together, such as with a tongue-and-groove or Swedish cope).
Fifth - An important consideration is getting water and sewer to your log cabin home. Some choices would be pumping water into a tank, drilling for water, hooking up to county or city water. Don't forget estimates for well digging and septic installation if your home cannot be connected to community water and sewer.
Sixth - Building Permits and Inspections - Probably the most intimidating part of building your own house is the permit process. Not only do the the requirements vary from county to county, but at times the decisions made seem so subjective that we find ourselves seething in frustration. However, permits and inspections are a necessary step, and they are in place predominately for your protection.
Seventh - How will you heat and cool your log cabin? Hydronic, or hot water, heating has is seeing a surge in popularity at present, mainly because of the increasing use of radiant floor heating, which is known for providing even, comfortable heat. Customers willing to invest in a quality hot-air system, rather than a bare-bones hydronic package at the lowest price, will find that forced hot air can be as comfortable as hydronic heating. Unfortunately, if the heating system is hot water and the home owner doesn't spend the extra up front to cool their home, their finished home may be still too expensive to add the cooling system later and probably impossible to even install without doing even more expensive and inconvenient remodeling to accommodate such an install. So be sure to investigate extensively your options, because it can be expensive to choose wrongly!
Eighth - Get quotes from electricians, plumbers, masons, roofers, excavators and even landscapers. If you can do some (or all) of this yourself, great. If not, you need to know what the expenses here will run.
Ninth - An important consideration is your foundation. Do you want a full foundation or a slab? With a full foundation you will need to do a lot of digging. Be sure to budget the cost of an excavator. You will also need to know how far down the footings and the wall should go. Be sure and check with the local building inspector.
Tenth - Financing! This should be approached after you have investigated the above steps. Before you apply for the construction loan, you must get all your quotes in order. Banks are not happy about increasing the amount of money you ask for. Be sure to account for all the sub-contractors (plumbers, masons, electricians, excavators, landscapers), the well and septic, the windows and roof, the painters, and even the grass seed. Your mortgage representative will expect you to have a handle on all your financial needs
Basically, the above list might seem a little daunting. Remember, you have access to building contractors, house plans, land, materials and financing. You can build your dream home yourself. However, if ability and time are lacking, just hire a General Contractor to put it all together and present it to to you, with a markup in cost, of course!