Do you plan on living in a log cabin? The good news is that you can undertake the process by yourself, as long as you are open to new approaches and DIY tactics, and be successful at it. Do away with the thoughts that you need lots of experience and instead embrace hard work, planning, natural resources, and excellent tools. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Skipping this step is paramount to watching your whole project fall apart so be sure not to take any short cuts in this process. The truth is that the most critical work revolves around planning your cabin as the design and tactics you have in mind will lay the foundation for your construction, and we all know how important it is to have a strong base underneath us.
Typically, construction of a log cabin will take up to 280 days, which translates to roughly nine to ten months of hard work. Without a solid plan, you could as well spend two years on such a project. The thing with planning is that it does not only refer to sketches but goes further into creating a schedule as to when everything will take place, including your expected time of completion. It helps you get back on track when you fall behind.
The plan should consider the building period you have in mind, your needs in the house, what other people have to say about building log cabins, the land in question, the amount of money you are willing to spend, the labor you wish to employ and the floor plan and designs. At the end of all these considerations, you should have what people refer to as the finalized costs. On speaking to log cabin builders, you will realize that more often than not, you end up spending a certain percentage less or more what you have stated and it thus helps to have backup finances just in case.
Coming up with the design can be hard at first, but once you let your creativity rule the process, you should enjoy the phase. However, where you face problems in creation, you can always consult an architect who can work with your ideas to bring your dream to life. You can also work with pre-existing plans if you wish to have a simple design.
Once the plans are as per your liking, you should visit your local planning department to know whether your design is in line with the current building codes. As you do this, you should have a registered inspector come in to look at the structural properties of your intended cabin as this will affect the approval or lack thereof of occupancy upon completion. It is essential that you understand the zoning laws in your region and where you are unsure of what applies to you, it helps to engage an expert in law.
The site you choose to locate the cabin should be in line with current and future zoning laws, have access to utilities and services and have adequate natural shelter. Additionally, you should analyze the ground conditions to see if they are a fit for your intended construction. A tip that comes in handy is to select a site with trees as you can use them to source for logs, thus incurring fewer costs in the process.
Most of the costs you incur will revolve around site preparation, foundations, utilities, services, lumber, insulation, roofing, fixings, and the tools in use. Using your natural materials and undertaking the construction by hand is an easy way to reduce the expenses. A square foot should set you back at least twenty-five dollars, devoid of the cost of land and interior finishing. Note though that this will also depend on the price of labor and materials in use. You can also save money by choosing a simple design.
At this point, you should know how much it will cost you, who will undertake the construction, where you will locate the cabin, the regulations in place and the expected outcome from the design. If you are unsure of any of the above scenarios, you should do more research before moving on to the next stage.
Preparation of Logs (Foraging)
This process involves finding desirable logs, felling and hauling them before debarking and drying them. The better the quality of the logs chosen, the less maintenance you have to undertake in the future, the longer your cabin will last, and the better the insulation properties your home will have. The lumber that’s best for your cabin should be at least thirty feet long, ten inches wide and limited warping such that you work with a maximum ratio of four inches of tapering per every thirty feet.
You also need to know how much timber you need. It helps to perform all the processes in a day as it prevents the loss of moisture and saves you a lot of effort regarding cracking and checking that occurs after a while of waiting.
Laying the Foundation
The foundation must be such that it can hold the weight of the cabin. It should prevent subsidence, transmit the cabin load and prevent the structure from sinking into the ground. The choice of the foundation will depend on the soil type, the size of the cabin, the land contours and the local resources available. It is advisable to use a pad foundation as this will reduce the work spent in preventing splash offs common in the rainy seasons.
Placing the Logs
This process is quite easy once you decide on a notching system that works for your structure and your level of expertise. The choices are butt and pass, traditional, corner post and half-dovetail. Once you lay the first course, have someone from the planning office inspect the construction before moving forward. Lack of approval at this stage could have you dismantling the structure upon completion. Floors are easy to assemble, thanks to the use of suspended lumber floors and from here, you can move on to the making of the walls, ensuring that you rotate the direction of the logs per layer. Doors and windows should follow, and you should ensure that you use lintel logs above the openings to maintain structural integrity. Finish up with any of these wall options: thatch, shingles, felt or metal sheeting.
You should now weatherproof your cabin in readiness for the coming seasons. Start by cleaning your logs before staining them and chinking your cabin.
That’s the entire log cabin building process from the beginning to the end. Good luck!