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How much room do you need in a log cabin? Your personal needs for family and friends will determine if you need a half-second floor or full second floor. Each provides more living and storage space while driving the construction cost up accordingly.
Other factors go into second-floor considerations such as family size, frequency of occupation, budget restrictions, lot location, foundation strength, or tree removal. There may be other factors associated with your particular situation like the availability of building materials and laborers.
If you do want a partial or full second floor, draw up your plans carefully so you don’t need to make modifications later. Other cabin owners have found out that changing plans mid-construction is very costly. A second floor does make sense if your lot is small and you want to make maximum use of your yard for gardening, outdoor living, or separation from neighbors.
The following ideas should help you make a second-floor decision.
Decide on the Purpose for a Cabin Early On
Think about the purpose of your log cabin before drawing plans and hiring a contractor. Ask yourself if it will be occupied full time, for vacations, weekend outings, by other family members, or occasional renters. Will you have the money to justify another level?
If your reason for a cabin is full-time occupancy by your family, you may need the extra space especially if you don’t build a basement under it. Will you need additional space for a personal or small business office, hobbies, exercise room, storage, or workshop? What about adding a room or two above a garage? Once you’ve addressed these options, it’s time to think about some other common factors.
The Number of Occupants and Better Views Are Other Factors
Do you want a log cabin for yourself, immediate family, or immediate plus extended family? If you have children, do you want each of them to have a bedroom or will two children share a room? Will any of the occupants have special needs such as disabilities or old age? The answers to these questions will help determine how much room is needed for everyone.
Another consideration is having better views out the windows because of the extra height of a second floor. Dormers make wonderful places to sit in front of and enjoy the outdoor scenery. They can be installed on the front of a cabin or the front and back sides.
Budget Restrictions Enter the Picture
Building up with a second floor is always less expensive than building out because it needs less material and labor. For example, if your cabin’s main level is 1,200 square feet and you want to add another 800 square feet, all you need is more wood and framing labor. In comparison if you build out, you need to add more footers, a larger foundation, fill rock, roof system, and more excavation cost.
Check your credit, cash flow, savings, and mortgage payment potential before making this decision. If you are selling your current house, will you make a sufficient profit to add a nice cushion for the budget? If the financial picture does not look great, you may need to settle for a one-story log cabin.
Lot Size, Grading, and Tree Removal Are Other Factors
Cabin building materials are not the only cost in your budget and you should allow for:
- Lot size
- Amount of Grading
- Tree Removal, if any
- Driveway length
A cabin that is built up instead of out can get by with a smaller lot, less tree removal, and less landscaping. Trees close to the house that work for a single-story cabin may have limbs in the way for a second floor. Discuss all the considerations we’ve mentioned with your contractor to obtain a range of bids with options.
Availability of Materials and Labor
Many cabin owners have saved thousands of dollars by building with log siding instead of full logs. They used the savings to add partial and full second floors for added living and storage space. You can do the same by ordering from The WoodWorkers Shoppe and still have the full log cabin look.
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