So, you have decided to buy a log cabin. I bet you’re excited about picking the design and imagining all the possibilities it holds. I hope you’ve done your research too. Because a few pertinent questions do come up: do you want a new or secondhand residential log cabin? What size do you want it? Why does size even matter in the first place? Sifting through all the details can get quite scary, but don’t worry, I’m here to help you pick the best possible log cabin for your needs. Go on then, grab my hand, and let me guide you through the exciting process of log cabin shopping.
Whether you are buying a new or secondhand residential log cabin, keep the following factors in mind when shopping:
1. New or Secondhand?
The most important factor here for whichever option you go for, is the quality of the wood. You want slow-grown timber for log cabins. This is because it usually has increased density, improved durability, and is less prone to warping or splitting.
Most people buy log cabins brand new. What you need to do then is ensure that all the logs, design and other specifications are right for you. Since log cabins are made of interlocking logs, ensure there’s a tight fit between the logs, with no visible gaps. This ensures that the cabin is resistant to dampness and wind penetration.
If you opt for secondhand living, please do your research, and take your time comparing the various log cabins for sale. Watch out for wood rot, ensure that the staining is done properly and evenly, and inquire when it was last stained. The base of the house should also not be in contact with the ground, as the wood can absorb moisture, causing it to rot.
2. Size and dis-assembly
What do you intend to use your log cabin for? Do you want a home gym in there? What about furniture? Ensure that the design you chose has ample space for all amenities you need, from a home office to an entertainment center, and storage space. Cabin makers usually quote cabin sizes in different ways, which could refer to base size, internal measurements, external measurements, or externals measurements with overhanging roofs. Be sure to double check the technical dimensions as differences between internal and external measurements could be significant.
The construction technique of log cabins is such that the frame is made in a workshop, then disassembled and finally reassembled at the site of the house. Many large log cabins are difficult to disassemble, whereas some of the smaller cheap log cabins do not fit together as tightly and are designed to be disassembled. The beauty of small log cabins is that if they’re not easy to take apart you can crane them on to a lorry for transport. The larger log cabins are usually too heavy to haul via road, and taking them apart could irreversibly damage them since they don’t come apart very easily.
3. Lead time
The time difference between when you order your log cabin and when it arrives varies depending on many factors. Smaller log cabins get delivered faster (a matter of days) as they are mass produced and the sellers hold stock. If you want a custom-built log cabin, however, the lead time is likely much longer. The same goes for larger log cabins. The length of lead time is influenced by the source of the timber, location of the workshop, and shipping time.
Mass produced log cabins tend to be significantly cheaper than custom designs. However, you need to make a conscious decision if an off-the shelf product fits your purpose, or you need a custom design. Ask yourself, “Do I really want this design?” as this is your future home you’re purchasing. The trickiest bit when it comes to price is in comparing products of different sizes. As hard as it may be, you need to be objective in your comparisons, and look at the different features each has to offer. Only compare similar structures, and don’t be tricked into thinking that two cabins are similar because they have the same design. The type of wood they are made of could differ, as well as the bells and whistles in the interiors.
The choice of timber accounts for most of the cost, and this varies depending on its source, the current exchange rates, and taxes. Features like windows, doors, flooring, insulation, and fire treatment also have an impact on your bottom line.
Whether buying new or a secondhand residential log cabin, finance is not as easy to come by in all countries as mortgages for regular homes. But in today’s environmentally conscious world, it is not unusual to find banks seeking green clients. If your lender is familiar with log homes, you can secure a log home construction loan quite easily. Consider the payment terms when looking into financing, and keep in mind that larger projects usually have more stage payments than smaller ones.
If you can offer cash for construction, you can negotiate a better deal with your builder for the cost of the project. You need to create a draw schedule so that you only cover the amount of total cost already consumed as the construction work progresses. This is the cheaper alternative, as you save on interest payments and have more control over the distribution of the money.