How to Prepare A Budget for a Log Siding Cabin

Are you ready to build that log siding cabin? Before you say go, have you made sufficient plans so you don’t go over budget and can stay within the completion schedule? You need to think about some important items before the actual construction begins, including:

  • Purchasing and preparing the lot
  • Obtaining building permits
  • Hiring a contractor
  • Deciding how much work you will do
  • Planning when to start
  • Ordering the materials

All these factors plus any other special work go into making an accurate construction budget. You will need to add the cost of furnishings, appliances, driveway, and landscaping to arrive at a total cost. At this point, we will cover only the construction costs. 

Draw the Complete Plans Before Beginning Construction

There are a few significant reasons for creating a complete set of building plans before you begin construction. First, you want to include all costs upfront so you will not go over budget. Second, you do not want to change parts of the plans halfway through the construction process that can cause delays. Think everything through by talking to a couple of builders, watching some videos, and talking to someone you know who has built a cabin.

We highly suggest building with log siding instead of using full logs. The reasons why include:

  • The material and construction costs are significantly less
  • Construction goes faster and easier compared to full logs
  • Skilled homeowners can do some of the work to save money
  • Material delivery costs are less

Factor these elements into your construction budget, and you can see how it will save a bundle.

Decide How Much Work You Will Do

Although many cabin owners will not do some or all the work themselves, some people will take part in the construction. If you have basic woodworking skills, the desire, and time to devote to building your cabin, you can add your special touches and save money on the budget

  • Since log siding cabins are built with conventional framing, cabin owners can install the exterior siding, corners, and trim.
  • You can also install the interior wall log siding or paneling and trims.
  • Pine or cedar paneling can be added as decking and to ceilings.
  • Cabin owners can lay pine flooring with the right tools and skills.

Work all these plans out with the building contractor upfront to reach an agreement and accurately plan a budget.

Obtain 3 Contractor Bids for a Log Siding Cabin Budget

Once your building plans are complete, it is time to obtain some bids. Try for three bids from trusted builders who will supply references. The best work begins with the right builder. Follow these steps in your search to make the best decision:

  • Get bids from contractors that build cabins as well as conventional houses.
  • Are they easy to communicate with?
  • Do you feel comfortable working with them?
  • Consider their availability.
  • Are they licensed and insured?
  • Check their reviews and references.
  • Meet their team and subcontractors if possible.

Ask to see other cabins they have built and talk to the owners who will critique the contractors. You may find the bids will vary a lot but they may not necessarily reflect the quality of the work. Narrow your search to one or two builders and choose the one that fits your budget and you feel comfortable working with. Check out these recommendations from This Old House.

Log Siding Cabin Budget: Plan the Season to Begin

If you are not in a hurry to begin construction, think about the best season to build your cabin. This decision varies by the climate and weather where the cabin will be located and the availability of the builder. Too many cabin owners that live in colder climates start building late in the year and run into weather problems completing the job. The size of your cabin must also be factored into the length of the building process.

Order Log Siding, Corners, and Trims Online

The beauty of building with log siding is the cabin owner can order many of the building materials online and save money. The general contractor will provide the essential materials and labor while you can order:

  • Log siding, corners, and log trims for the exterior
  • Log siding or paneling and trims for the interior
  • Pine flooring, pine doors, and stair systems
  • Rustic kitchen and bathroom cabinetry
  • Log trusses, posts, and beam covers

Work out all these details with your general contractor upfront so there will not be any misunderstanding. Building a good working relationship is a must and staying within your budget relieves stress. Happy building!


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