When it comes time to make plans for constructing a log home, you have several choices. Some will fit your ideas, desires, and budget while others will not. Here are the common options:
- Use pine or cedar log siding
- Build a round full-log home
- Build a square full-log home
- Create a log and timber home
- Cut down the trees and mill them
- Buy a log home kit
Building a log home or log cabin from a kit sounds convenient and easy but it is not. We recommend you stay away from using a kit and build your house with pine or cedar log siding instead. Log home kits have some issues that may cost you more than you expect in terms of money and time.
What Is a Log Home Kit?
A kit consists of a package of building materials to construct a log home. It is essentially the skeleton of a house but not the overall finished house. Log kits vary from one manufacturer to another as well as prices. All of them come with instructions that show you and the contractor how to assemble the structure.
A typical log home kit contains log wall systems, windows, doors, and a roofing system. If this sounds like a shell only, you are right. Additional kit items may be included depending on the company. Other essentials like foundations, flooring, plumbing, wiring, cabinetry, and HVAC work must be contracted by you or a general contractor. Let’s look at the cons of these kits.
General Cons of a Log Home Kit
The major problem with a log home kit is that you have a huge pile of materials sitting on a build-site subject to the elements. You can cover them for protection but this makes it harder to find the parts you need when you need them. Other issues to contend with include:
- Failure to budget for all costs from start to finish
- Locating a contractor to build your log home
- Financing the project with reasonable interest rates and terms
- It can be time-consuming to fix your construction mistakes
“Building a log home or log cabin from a kit sounds convenient and easy but it is not. We recommend you stay away from using a kit and build your house with pine or cedar log siding instead.”
Trying to Be Your Own General Contractor
If you have some home construction experience, that’s great. If you have never built a house, you are in for a lot of surprises with a log home kit. You can save a lot of money by acting as your own general contractor, but it is very challenging and time-consuming.
You must master all the details in the instructions that come with the kit. You’ll need to associate all the efforts in the instructions to complete each phase of the home project. Material suppliers and some subcontractors must be located and paid.
Footer and Foundation Issues with a Log Home Kit
One headache some people have encountered is laying the wrong size, shape, or location for the footers and foundation. Here are some other problems you may encounter:
- Not testing the soil for frost and freezing depth
- Creating unlevel foundations or footers
- Pressure from oversaturated soil can cause cracks and shifting
- Carelessness can cause a tipped or rotated foundation wall
- Mixing concreted components incorrectly
- Not allowing the footers and foundation enough time to set
Experienced concrete companies understand these issues and work hard to do the work right the first time. However, inexperienced people can make some of the mistakes in the list and find it’s a headache to correct them.
Passing Inspections and Meeting Building Codes
If you act as your own general contractor, you must learn all the essentials of meeting building codes and passing inspections for your city or county. This effort is time-consuming and at times confusing. Trying to build the home yourself from a kit is less expensive than hiring a general contractor but the issues you can create for yourself can be overwhelming.
Building inspectors can be very picky because that’s their job. If they find too many mistakes that must be corrected, you will wish you never took on building a log home from a kit.
Waiting Longer Than You Want to Move In
Of course, you want to meet your construction deadline and move in on time. Most likely there will be many unforeseen delays to deal with including:
- The weather
- Construction mistakes
- Shortage of laborers
- Unpacking kit materials
- Possible injuries
- Replacing missing or broken items
Why go through all this when you can hire a contractor to build a conventional home and clad it with pine or cedar log siding. The contractor’s crew will know how to install the corner logs, siding, and trim. The siding is attached to conventional framing and goes up fast and easy.