If you have looked at kit log cabins, then you were probably dissapointed to realize they can be very expensive. You do not need to pay a large amount of money for a kit, because there is a ‘secret’ to getting ‘kit’ log cabins for free — or for a shockingly small amount of money. This is not only the least expensive ‘kit’ you can get, it is also the best one you could build. It’s the easiest, quickest, strongest, and least expensive to build.
First off, you should understand exactly what a log cabin “kit” typically consists of. It usually includes 4 basic items: the logs, the doors, the windows and roof. A log home at that stage of construction is often called ‘dried in’ (aka, it’s weather tight). Manufacturers don’t include finish materials, such as plumbing, electrical, floor coverings, kitchen cabinets, et cetera.
A kit salseman usually explains pricing like this:
1. The actual log cabin kit: $80,000
2. Materials for finishing your home: $80,000
3. Labor (with a local general contractor): $80,000
He is really saying is your ‘kit package’ (at that dried in stage) will account for roughly one third of your total construction costs. Then the say “See how inexpensive kits are!” — emphasising the dried in cost in order to minimize the fact that your total constructions costs will reach $240,000 (and that’s a giant wad of cash). You should always keep your eye on the ‘finished’ cost, not just the cost the log cabin kit.
Here’s where a lot of that expense comes from:
- Kit log cabins are made from milled wood products. They purchase raw logs dirt cheap, and then cut them up into timbers for the walls of your kit. So pay for the added added labor, the extra transportation costs, the expensive machinery they use, and their profit. It is a brute economic fact that a manufactured item is always much more expensive than the raw material that goes into it.
- Kit log cabins all experience settling (but not the inexpensive ‘secret kit’ we are about to discuss). That means it will need to have keyways cut for all the windows and doors, settling space above all windows and doors, screw jacks underneath the home, slip joints on all the plumbing fixtures, et cetera. This work is difficult enough that it really should be done by an experienced log home builder, which is makes it very expensive.
Now here’s the secret. The only ‘kit’ you need to buy is a logging truck of natural, raw, unmolested logs (pssst, that’s not really a kit… it’s just how you start building a real log home). Your raw logs can be free, or you can buy them dirt cheap from a veriaty of local sources that we discuss at our log home building class. Then you build a genuine Skip style Butt and Pass log home from scratch, without using an expensive manufactured wood product.
Another advantage to building a Butt and Pass log home is that it won’t need notching, milling, keyways, screw jacks, or slip joints. It will require none of the things that make a manufactured kit so expensive and complicated (because good log homes do not settle).
And the awesome part is that a Skip style Butt and Pass home can be built by an average person, who has no previous construction experience. For example, here’s a picture of the Dale family home.
The Dale’s attended our log home building class and then built a beautiful log home. The total cost to build this home was less than the cost of their neighbor’s car. That’s right, their log home cost less than a new car. They had no previous construction experience before building this home, they gained from attending our famous 2-day log home class.
If you are an owner builder, like the Dales, then you can take additional steps to minimize the costs of your home — steps a kit manufacture cannot take. For instance, we recently had a former student obtain brand new windows at $13,000 off the retail price. We had another member find all the insulation for his roof for just a few bucks. We are so dedicated to the concept of debt free living, and construction cost reduction that we have a section of class dedicated to explaining how to find these deals.
That is exactly what the Dale family did. They used free logs, they supplied their own labor, and they used mostly used or recycled materials. At an estimate their costs breaks down in the following manner:
- Free logs
- Approximately $25,000 worth of building materials
- Free labor (their own)
25K, versus 240K… That is the difference between costs typically associated with kit log cabins, versus the costs that can be associated with a Skip style Butt and Pass log home. And now you know why this is the ‘secret’ of the log home industry: there’s just no money to be made selling Butt and Pass ‘kit’. You can only over-charge so much for a logging truck full of raw logs, before karma comes after you.
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