Haphazard planning or no planning at all can make building a log cabin an expensive venture. Before building a log cabin, Country Log Cabins says do some research, put your ideas into a journal, go to a workshop on how-to-build a log cabin, develop a complete project budget that also includes unexpected expenses, get the building site, and then choose a design.
When choosing a floor plan, Country Log Cabins says think about the present and the future. How many floors? Location of the kitchen and bedrooms? Will there be a garage or home office? Can changes be made as needs change? Is there an area for pets? Will there be electricity or indoor plumbing? What’s the source of heating and air conditioning? What kind of roof and foundation will it have?
Build It Yourself
“Mother Earth News” writer Bill Sullivan and his wife built a log cabin in the woods of Oregon with thrift by using hand tools and the timber onsite. Sullivan claims anyone can build the 10-by-13-foot cabin they built. He modeled the home’s simple style after the Norwegian stabbur—a storehouse built on a raised foundation of pillars or stilts. By using the stabbur design, Sullivan says the floor space of the cabin nearly doubled by having an upstairs loft. The extra-wide eaves feature helps to repel rain and snow, and heat loss is reduced because of the design’s small windows and a low door.
After marking the foundation borders with string and stakes, Sullivan dug six deep holes, three on each side, to the wall line of the cabin. Mixing bags of mortar mix with wheelbarrows full of large flat rocks located on the property, Sullivan created cement and stone piers in each of the holes, extending the supports more than a foot above ground level. To keep out termites and rodents, he packed the extra spaces with gravel, and topped the piers with large sheet metal sheets.
Using a crosscut saw, the Sullivans cut 7 to 9 inches in diameter logs for the walls and 12 inches in diameter logs for the sill logs, or the logs on the bottom layer of each cabin wall. They stripped bark from the logs using an axe, cut the trees into lengths, and then hauled them to the cabin site. They cut out the floor joists, and fashioned them with salvaged lumber and later fir planks.
Sullivan recommends numbering the logs first to determine their sequence on the wall. Once the walls were in place, the cracks were filled with mortar to weatherproof the home. They found an old cedar log on a beach and cut it up to create the cabin’s cedar shake roof. The cabin is heated with a woodstove.
Before building, make sure the financing is in place, warns Country Log Cabins. The company stresses that proper planning is cost effective and gives a log cabin home the potential to be your dream home.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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