A short introduction to building a log house
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home you have built yourself?
Living in the concrete jungles that we do today, we can only imagine the wild freedom that was enjoyed by our ancestors in the old days. Sure, things were not comfortable as most of the modern amenities we take for granted in the 21st century were unimaginable back then. But the charm of the wilderness is something we cannot feel living as we do in our modern houses and skyscrapers. But if you want you can get a feel of the old world rusticity that is all but fleeting in modern times, by building your very own log cabin.
Log cabins are not only a viable alternative to regular concrete homes, building one by hand can be very liberating. And you don’t need to be a master builder to make a log cabin of your own. All you need is the determination and the right set of tools, along with the inclination to put in the necessary amount of work. In this guide, we are going to lay down a step-by-step detailed plan you can follow to build your very own log cabin and avoid most common mistakes when building a log house.
Ready to get going? Then read on!
Prepare Your Plan
The first step, and obviously the most important one when you are setting out to build your log cabin from scratch is to have a detailed plan in place. Starting on the work without a well-defined roadmap for your task can be a recipe for disaster, so take the necessary time to chalk out the details. Some of the vital things you need to take care of in your plan are as follows:
- Cabin Type-The foremost item on the list should be the kind of log cabin you want. Here you’ll want to detail the size of the cabin, how many rooms you are planning to have in the cabin and also any other features that you wish to include in your dream house. The size of your cabin, along with its features, will have a significant impact on your schedule, which is what we are going to discuss next.
- Schedule– Next, you’ll want to prepare a clear schedule for your construction. The schedule should clearly break down each task that you need to perform (for the tasks, continue reading below), and assign a well-defined time frame within which you want the task to be completed. Be very specific about your schedule; vague terms such as within a fortnight are a strict no-no. Carefully consider the complexity of each of the tasks facing you, and assign realistic time limits that you know you can fulfill. Also, include some slack time for contingencies.
- Budget– After you have settled the above two, now it’s time to get real. Building a log cabin by hand costs money, so you’ll have to make sure you have the required means at hand. The cost of your cabin will again be determined by its size and features.
Select A Location
After you have finalized your plan, you need to zero in on the location where you are going to build your cabin. If you already have a property in a suitable location, that’s great; otherwise, when buying land for building a log cabin it is wise to settle on an area where there are trees you can use as the source of timber for your cabin.
You also need to be aware of any building laws and regulations in your locality that must be fulfilled for you to build your cabin. If you feel it necessary you can consult professional legal services to help you out.
Create Your Design
The blueprint of your cabin is the one place where you get ample room to show your creativity. For inspiration, you can always scour the internet which has lots of available building plans to choose from. You can easily select the ones you like and then improve and improvise upon them to suit your tastes. Once you are done, it’s best if you take the help of a professional architect to ensure the robustness and structural integrity of your plan.
Once you’ve settled the location and other particulars, now it’s time to get your hands dirty with the raw materials: the logs that will form the framework of your cabin. This is a very essential step and should be done with the utmost consideration. The quality of logs that you use for building your cabin will determine the resilience and durability of your property. Good quality wood can go a long way towards contributing to the longevity of your cabin.
The number of logs you are going to require will depend on the size of your cabin, so here you can take the help of available online calculators to do the job for you. After you have done that, next it’s time for felling those trees. If you don’t have experience with doing this, you can ask an expert to help you.
After the trees have been felled you will need to de-bark them and leave them to dry. This is necessary to remove residual moisture. Make sure the logs are protected from atmospheric moisture and adverse weather conditions. Different varieties of trees can take different times to dry.
Build the Foundation
Now it’s time to lay the foundation for your cabin. You need to take care with this step as the foundation will ensure the stability and robustness of your cabin. There are multiple foundation types to choose from such as raft, pads, and strip; the choice of foundation is determined by the land where you are building, the soil type, and yes, you guessed it, the size and layout of your cabin.
Take ample time to research and settle on the right type of foundation. You should also take the seasonal effects into account and local topography when deciding on the foundation.
Put Up the Structure
You have already come a long way, and next, you need to start laying out the logs as per the plan of your cabin. This should be done according to the following steps:
- Settle on your notching technique. Notches are what will hold your cabin together, so they are pretty important. You can choose anyone among Butt-and-Pass, Full Scribed, and Corner post.
- Next, choose the best logs from your lot and use them to layout the four sill logs. The logs you choose for this should be straight ones and the largest in diameter and length.
- Next, lay down the floor according to the notching system you are using. The measurements for your floor should be commensurate with the dimensions of your log cabin.
- Erect the walls of your cabin. This should be done by stacking the logs and erecting all four walls using either the notching mechanism or by utilizing short rebar fixings.
Install Doors and Windows
By this time you will be able to see your cabin taking shape. Next, you need to put in the doors and windows. As you have already put up the wall, this is going to be very easy. Just saw out the wood in the places where you want to install your windows and doors, and then put the required framework into place. Be certain to use lintel logs and cleats to hold the openings and ensure the structural integrity of your cabin.
Roof It Up
Finally, put up the roof. You can find a lot of log cabin roof designs on the internet. Typically, you should be using the purlin and rafter technique; this type of roof is easy to construct. For roofing type, you can choose from among thatched or shingled designs, or go with felt or metal sheet roofs.
Your cabin is up and standing now. But the work is not done yet. After construction is complete, you will need to take steps for protecting it from the elements; humidity and UV rays can quickly degrade your cabin. Here you need to follow three steps to protect your creation:
- First, you need to clean the logs to remove any dirt and moisture they have accumulated during the construction process.
- After your logs are dry, stain them to preserve their natural color and protect them from the harmful rays of the sun.
- Finally, seal any openings in the log with an appropriate sealant to prevent the outside from getting in.
Building a log cabin by hand usually requires anything between 6-10 months. If you are in a hurry, you can choose from any of our flat packs, which come with all the required materials that you need to build your log cabin in a fraction of the time it would require otherwise. Costs range from $20,500 to $91,600, depending on the type of flat pack.