The following article about Ken and Diane’s 9 week log home originally appeared, some years ago, in our Association’s Log Home Builder’s Journal:
Ken, His wife Diane and son Kenny in front of their new “9-week” owner built log home.
Ken is an investment advisor. He is trained to advise people in the purchase of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, et cetera. Ken and his family just finished building a new log home. He was one of the many recent builders who attended the last local Association meeting. We asked Ken to tell us briefly how long it took him to build the home, and how much it cost.
“Well,” said Ken, “we bought the land on July 12th. On July 13th we cut all the trees for our home except the rafter poles. We only needed to cut 15 trees because we were able to get three logs from each tree; each one of the logs was 29 feet long. The average log diameter was about 17 inches. Except for the rafters, 45 logs were enough to build the entire house. After cutting the trees we spent the next week preparing the [building] site, then we built the foundation which took a week and a half. While we worked on the foundation we also had time to peel the logs, so when the foundation was finished we were ready to put up the walls.”
“In two days the log walls were completely finished and the ridge pole was up.”
“It took one week to cut and skid rafter poles and another two days to nail them in place. Then it took two more days to cover the roof with 2″ x 6″ tongue-and-groove boards.”
“Basically, we completed the shell of our home in nine weeks. That included nine Saturdays, four Sundays, and one or two hours of work each evening.”
“The house is 27×27 feet square, with two stories, totalling 1,458 sq. ft. We use the butt method of construction which is one of the methods we learned from Skip. We even did our own electrical and plumbing work, and our own septic tank and drain field system. We found the building code people very easy to get along with.”
“We’re living in our new home now, and we’re very happy with it. We did everything the way Skip taught us and it all worked out perfectly; we even sent three friends to Skip’s school.”
“The house is almost finished and we are just about ready for our final inspection. The house cost us a total of $10,000. However, $2,500 of that money was spent on getting power lines put in. Technically, we have only spent about $7,500 on the house itself.”
“Not a bad investment.”
It is possible to spend very little money in order to build a log home. It is also possible to spend a great deal of money in order to build a log home. How much gets spent is often just a function of the builder’s personality.
Our members who spend the least amount of money are those who: have modest desires, do as much work as possible themselves, are genuinely frugal, et cetera. They are the ones that just want a good solid house, a roof over their head, and no 30 year mortgage.
They usually skip things like river rock fireplaces, granite table tops, heated driveways, et cetera. In other words, they focus on what makes the most long term financial sense for them… not what their neighbor (Mr. & Mrs. Jones) might think. It’s a matter of priorities, and remember you can always add more expensive accessories and accoutrements later if it’s something you really want.
If you view our student log home gallery you’ll see that many LHBA students are building absolutely beautiful log homes, and are managing to do it without spending a huge amount of money.
It’s worth noting that it’s usually more expensive to build in a place like Southern California, or Western Washington, because you need more permits than if you build in someplace like Maine or Texas. Permits also tend to cost a bit more in a place like California, socialism tends to have that effect. There’s just no way around the fact that it’s more expensive to build in some areas, and less expensive to build in other areas.
The good news is that the Association’s class explains a lot of tips and tricks that can be used to drastically reduce construction costs no matter where you build.
We have taught over 40,000 people how to build log homes since 1965 and this is the kind of feedback we always get from our students.
“The cost of the class will pay for itself MANY times over, along the entire process of your build! Even if you do NOT build LHBA/Butt-n-Pass, you will gain knowledge (wisdom), that will help you all along the way.” — LHBA student AKchas (forum name)
“The cost of the class is quickly recovered in savings on the job. Once you start thinking non-traditionally about acquiring materials, costs can really drop.
Of course, none of us can guaranty you can get your logs cheaper. That would really fall upon you. LHBA can show you the door, but you must walk through it yourself. The decision is yours.
I make no money or incentive to convince you to do so, but believe it would be in your best interest to attend the class.” — LHBA student Rreidnauer (forum name)
“Best class I’ve ever taken!
We hope to start building our second log home in the next year or two. Built #1, lived in it for 4 great years, & recently sold it.
Knowing what I know now about everything (class, forum, LHBA in general), the class is a steal.” — LHBA student Shark (forum name)