Author Topic: Log Home Kits? DIY?  (Read 6199 times)

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Jenny4198

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Log Home Kits? DIY?
« on: February 21, 2007, 12:58:37 PM »
Newbie here! First time posting!

Anyone ever build a log home from a kit on your own? Hubby and I are thinking of building one and were wondering how hard it would be, if we would need a ton of special equipment, and if was even realistic price wise. We are planning on around a 1600 sq. ft. home and planning 90% of the work ourselves with a budget of around $120K. My dad is a builder and electrician too so he has a good bit of knowledge about building, he has just never done a log house. From the websites it sounds doable on our budget, but then again they are trying to sell us something! Any other issues with log homes either with construction or just living in them?

Thanks!

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 01:32:29 PM »
Welcome to the forum. Jenny.

There is a well known log home building teacher who says to not buy kits.  I would at least give his material a read to avoid pitfalls.


http://www.loghomebuilders.org/

In particular

http://www.loghomebuilders.org/warnings_about_kit_log_homes.htm
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 01:33:55 PM by glenn-k »

ailsaek

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2007, 04:40:20 PM »
That's a fascinating site, Glenn, thanks for the link.  :)

chatycady

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2007, 04:54:29 PM »
We built a small 20X 40 log cabin. It didn't take any special equipment for our project. We bought our logs locally. 6X10's and used "log hog" screws 13" long to secure them together. We also used log seal between the logs to keep out the air and water, etc.  My son in law lifted each log himself. He is a foot ball coach and high school teacher.

You will save ton's of money if you do NOT buy a kit. We did have to buy a long auger bit to drill into the logs for the electrical. And of course you need a chain saw.

Good luck.
Chaty





P.S. we bought the 1.5 cottage plans off this website.

Jenny4198

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2007, 05:00:10 PM »
Thanks for that link Glen. It seems like that site may be a little geared towards selling you their product but the overall information on it is good. I spoke with my dad again and he has once again told me to stop dreaming about a log cabin and just build a conventional house! We are on such a budget I guess that we do need to just stick with the tried and true. I don't think I feel comfortable taking on building a whole log house from scratch! Although, I am having a hard time letting go of that dream...
I have actually been lurking in the shadows on this site for a looong time and I am sure you will see lots more of me now that we are really getting close to starting this project.
Thanks again!

chatycady

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2007, 05:06:30 PM »
Don't give up on you log cabin yet. Take a look at these at  www.thedeertracks.com  and click on the "cabin" tab to view them all.
These are made by an amish man. He builds them in a machine shed  and they are shipped to the site, much like a manufactured home.

hunter63

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2007, 05:36:15 PM »
The amish built mine, and hauled it to the site.
Price as delivered, $25,000, 16' X 40' w/8' porch.
Bigger one cost more, but they will build them.
Shipping depends on your location.




John_M

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2007, 05:54:11 PM »
I agree....don't give up!!  Talk to others in your area that have log homes.  Get there feedback.  Some log home companies will sell you the logs and have building seminars to help you learn how to build them.

You found this site, so keep looking for other companies that will be willing to help you build what YOU want!!  Life is too short to have regrets!

Sassy

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2007, 07:28:50 PM »
Both your places are beautiful!

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2007, 07:41:56 PM »
Glad you all liked that link -- I have kept track of it for a couple years.  No  matter what decision you make, there is valuable information there and I like to have people considering a kit log home check it out.

A couple families near here have built kit log homes.  One close friend built his own although he has his own sawmill and is pretty  knowledgeable about working with logs.  One thing they all seem to agree on is that it is quite a bit of work especially if the building department adds a bunch of ridiculous requirements.  One guy added tons of steel tie bars through his at their order.  I heard the other guy told them to stuff it.  My friend who built the very nice log house said the inspector was so rude that his wife kicked him out of the house and they never did bother getting a final after that as far as I know.  They just gave themselves their own Certificate of Occupancy. :)

benevolance

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2007, 09:46:21 PM »
I found that link a long time ago and have it as a bookmark...I dunno the claim that anyone can easily build 2 a year.....Not me....*LOL*

Imagine the house in the picture is massive... 2 of those a year.....Wow

Still the $160,000 profit the guy claims he made made my eyes light up...That is a lot of coin to make twice a year.....

Jared

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2007, 05:15:31 AM »
Chatycady how much was your log home? If you don't mind me asking.
Jared

chatycady

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 06:17:47 AM »
Well it isn't finished yet, still need about 3K in t&G and flooring to buy and finish. And the kitchen with appliances yet to buy

The logs and log siding for gable ends, log screws and log seal were $10,000, but I bought way too many logs and will have enough to build a small 8X8 wood shed. So right now windows, doors, roof and , insulation (blown in floam), electrical, plumbing,  wood stove, I have about 55K.

Oh, but that includes the basement so 47K?

$55 - 60 per square foot. (20X40)

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2007, 06:21:34 AM »
Very thrifty building at todays prices.  :)

Jenny4198

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2007, 10:22:09 AM »
Yes it is very thrifty, and a gorgeous home to boot! I am still researching log homes, but I just don't know if we will go for it or not! So many decisions to make! We are still going back and forth about building a small home at the front of our property to sell in 2 years to make a little more cash for the "dream" home. We are kinda running out of time to make these decisions. Thanks for all of the pictures, I love looking at other owner-builder projects, it makes me feel a little better about us taking on such a project!

So, are there any issues with the electrical or insulation in log homes? I am really worried about it being drafty or really hard to wire. Any thoughts on that?

benevolance

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2007, 01:34:39 PM »
Jenny

Well placed Knob and Tube can solve the wiring problems...
As for being drafty.....If you have the logs dried...And then you chink them...And then you seal them on the inside and outside....And then cover them with a clear weather resistant coating....They are not going to be drafty at all.

I guess it all depends on what type of log home you build.... For those that square 2 sides of the logs and place a piece of insulation between each piece of wood as they go up row by row in the walls...They have great insulation value...

And the traditional chinking....There are flexible caulking that you apply smooth  to fill in between the rows of logs and it is paintable over... so you can apply clear stain or paint on it....Prevents any drafts...

Personally I love the look of cement between the rows of logs...That is just my preference... For those that want to do it themselves with ease...The logs that are already squared on 2 sides by the lumber company would make it very quick and easy to build the log cabin...

Just depends on what you are comfortable tackling I guess... And then ask yourself what you like in terms of looks..Style of logs home...

Try to find some kind of balance so that your budget, ambition, skill level and personal tastes all are met within reason...

Sadly life is a compromise...We have to make decisions :(

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2007, 02:55:53 PM »
Seemed I remembered Knob and tube was no longer legal - not that it is unsafe.  Found a reference here.

Quote
Explanation: According to the NEC ALL conductors of a circuit must be in the same cable/conduit/whatever. Most other countries only require the active and neutral conductor in this clause (for a good reason) and specifically exclude the ground wire, so you're allowed to do that in other places! For that reason I might be tempted to wire that way if I can't do a full rewire. It's not 100% up to code but gives you full safety. That's one of the few points where I don't agree with the NEC.

But a good alternative is using armoured cable - I just assume it is legal in houses as it is in conduit - then you can surface mount things if you don't want to try to get it into the wall.  

Seems Daddymem may have had some issues like this with the Firstday system.  I'm not sure of their details.

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2007, 03:28:25 PM »
Posted on the other link but here too -- Log size and other calculators - shows a 6.11" dia.  DF log good for 20 feet for floor joist.

http://www.ls.net/~windyhill/Calcs/CalculatorIndex.htm

chatycady

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2007, 03:46:54 PM »
THe electrical isn't that difficult. I am doing all the wiring and have just about got it wrapped up. I'm a simple old lady so anyone can do it.

I chiseled out a hole in the log for the box using a spade bit and wood chisel,  then went down to the basement and took a 1.5" spade bit and drilled a hole into the bottom log. Then back upstairs and used a 1/2" flexible drill bit and hit the hole from below. Then I fished the wire through. It doesn't take skill just patience!

You can also put outlets in the floors. We also ran wires around the door frame for the porch lights. I also put in two fake beams to run lights from the loft down to the basement where the panel is.

If you plan ahead you can drill 1" holes in the logs as u stack them. We weren't that organized, unfortunately.

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2007, 03:49:23 PM »
There you have it from a pro- someone who has been there. :)  Thanks Chaty.

chatycady

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2007, 03:54:14 PM »
Pro????? I don't think so. I got frustrated one day and drilled all the way through a log, so now I have patching to do! ;) >:( ;D ;D

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2007, 04:02:15 PM »
Just hammer a dowel into it with a bit of glue and trim it off smooth - maybe with one of those little Japanese saws- It will look like you meant to do it.  Part of being a pro is learning how to very cool-ly hide your mistakes. :-/

John_C

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2007, 05:41:25 PM »
About 25 years ago, when I was camping for a week at the John Campbell Folk School in Hayseville, NC, I stumbled into a log home building class being give by Peter Gott.  He had hand hewn the oak logs and cut about half of the dovetail joints.  The logs were 8" to 10" thick  and  16" to 18" tall by about 18' long.  His class was a group that had come down from NY city and they were really surprised that the logs were HEAVY.  He told me I could participate in the class even though I wasn't enrolled. At the time I built wooden sailboats for a living so the project intrigued me.  Participation meant helping to wrestle the logs into place.   The finished cabin was really a work of art, but I decided I would probably never own a piece of land with enough oak to build like that.

In 2002 I bought a repo'd log home. Bought it because I got a really good deal, not because I really wanted a log home. It was  15 years old 1- 1/2 story  2200 sq. ft.  and need a bit of work.   About 1/3 of the joist headers were rotting so my then 14 yr. old daughter and I jacked the thing up and replaced them.  This house was made butt & pass style from white pine logs by one of the many log home companies in my area.  I lived in that house for a couple years and sold it last year.  

It performed better thermally than one would expect of 8 inches of solid wood.  It ended up being much cheaper to heat and cool than I thought it would.  It had one or two annoying leaks when it rained "just right".  It was built before log builders put various goo between the courses of logs.  That and the butt & pass corners meant lots of crevices. I became familiar with the log home builder who had originally built it and with one up the road who had more reasonably priced products.

There are log kits that include "everything" and those manufacturers mark up all of the component parts...   windows, doors, electrical and plumbing components, etc.  Some of them will pre-drill for  plumbing and electric.  All of that drives the price way up, and if they are pre-drilled they need to go up in a specific order.

There are also "log kit" builders who basically sell the logs, log fasteners, and the caulking to go between the logs.  The most economical just sell the logs by the running foot and the builder is expected to cut them to length and do the plumbing & electric rough in.  

In my neck of the woods there are four corner styles.  The Scandinavian style as shown on the website Glenn linked to and the three below
 

The Scandinavian is pretty but I'm skeptical of it. Many of the houses built that way have vertically split logs just as shown on that web site.  

Dovetail &  saddle corner  are considered better than butt & pass because the logs interlock and water runs away from the joint.  If I were building one I would do butt & pass and I would have generous roof overhangs to keep rainwater away from the logs.  There are lots of 100 year old homes built butt & pass so it works.  I'd be inclined to do some sort of borate treatment to the logs in an effort to control the carpenter bees.

You've made me rethink what I want to build.  All the framing lumber at the local yards seems to be junk, and here on the forum there are endless debates about tyvek housewrap, type of insulation, interior vapor barriers and wall finish.  All moot with logs.

Hunter63   I love the look of your place.  Do you have a floorplan you can post.

Hope it helps, John

glenn-k

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2007, 05:51:35 PM »
Good info, John.  Thanks for sharing that.  My place. the rain blows straight sideways many times - can't get enough overhang for some of the storms, but bigger helps.

I also was going to comment on how nice hunter63's house and land setting looks but got sidetracked.  A real beauty.

Jenny4198

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Re: Log Home Kits? DIY?
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2007, 06:13:31 PM »
So much information to process. I am getting more familiar with the log home style so maybe with some more research and actually talking with someone who has built one before locally we will tackle it one day, but I don't know that it will be with this house. I think we might need to learn how to build a house with someone with experience before we get in way over our heads with logs!

Hunter63 - where did you find the guy to build your cabin? We live in GA so not really a huge Amish community around here!

Thanks for all of the insight - you guys (and girls) are really helpful for a beginner like me!