What a run of hot weather! I know I’m ready for some cooler weather. This heat has shown how efficient log homes in Minnesota really can be though. Regardless of half log or full log construction, log homes are more energy efficient due to the reaction of thermal mass and the thickness of the walls. Between cold winters and a hot summer we see it all here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Proper planning with overhangs or porches on south facing walls, using tree coverage and upgrading to spray foam insulation all can pay off in both winter and summer.
My last blog I touched on costs and how they can vary from location to location. Log homes in Minnesota that are the same plan and the same specs can have quite the swing of build costs due to location but as we all know the log package is part of the equation. Too many get hung up on just the log home package and almost forget that there are build costs involved. Others may spend time trying to find that “cheapest builder” out there and not spend the proper amount of time on log home package details or builder research. There are quite a few builders out there that aren’t experienced in building log homes. The problem we see is the ones that haven’t built one before tend to do one of too things. One, they bid too high because they may be unsure of how long the project will actually take so they want to make sure they are covered. Two, they end up bidding too low because they are used to working with log and don’t realize what is involved in working with full or half logs. If they do underbid they may try to get more money out of you or start cutting corners. There are even stories out there of builders walking off of jobs and never coming back due to this. References are important and so is a timeline from start to finish. The main thing is to look at the log home package, building materials and build costs all as one, making sure all aspects are priced where they need to be. If you are financing, the lender will be looking at end costs rather than components as well. That low cost, out of the region log home company may look cheaper but by the time the builder supplies what is missing and shipping is taken into account they may be tens of thousands more than the next company, especially if they aren’t aware of our snow load and energy codes here in the upper midwest.
Research, model visits and proper planning all pay off when it is time to get your log or rustic home under way. We have built log homes in Minnesota from border to border and are here to help you from concept to completion.
We get asked quite often from people that are researching and planning log homes here in Minnesota or Wisconsin about building costs. So many will ask, sometime without a plan in mind or on paper the dreaded question of “how much per square foot does it cost to build with you”? To answer that I use the analogy of how much does it cost to fill a grocery cart. Item costs vary from store to store to fill that cart but the main thing is will be what you put in the cart. Fill it with shrimp, prime rib, tenderloins and filet mignons and that cart will be a lot more per square foot at the checkout than one with bread, canned goods and other cheaper items.
Building location and site conditions have an impact on costs. Steep and rocky sites are more expensive to build on than a flat sandy lot. In northeastern Minnesota such as the Ely area or the north shore excavating costs alone can be thousands more than elsewhere in the state due to the geology of the area. Also, location will dictate costs beyond the construction end of it for well and septics. Some of the log homes we have built in Minnesota have had wells under $5000 ranging to over $25,000 and that is all due to location and drilling conditions. Right now log home builders are bidding competitive but size, design and roofline all have a bearing on that square footage cost. The simplest and most cost effective plan to build is a simple rectangle. Once bump outs, prow fronts, porches, dormers and attached garages are added the cost per foot goes up without gaining much for square footage in living space. I have seen smaller houses build rather expensive per foot due to porches, high end tile flooring, granite tops, expensive lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures and on the other side of that have seen larger homes build less expensive per foot due to less add ons and a simpler plan.
Another factor is full log or half log construction and if you want a lot of interior log. Going with half log on the exterior and adding interior log through out the home usually ends up being more expensive than a full log build at that point. You almost have to picture yourself inside that log home or cabin and imagine what you want to see on the walls.
It is easier for us to answer cost questions if you have a plan in mind and can email or fax it so we can get a better idea of what you are after. Chances are we may have already built something similar. We want to be accurate and help you along in the process of researching and planning your dream log home here in Minnesota or Wisconsin.
You can head over to my website for more information on Minnesota log homes.
Here in Minnesota log cabins are very popular this time of year. I know quite a few are on vacation this week due to the fourth of July this past Monday. Some are renting a cabin at a resort while others are enjoying time at their own log cabin at the lake. From the ones in the research and planning stages of a log cabin I hear a common complaint from time to time. So many seem to get frustrated when they are going through log home magazines and websites and only see larger log homes featured. I get asked many times if we build “just log cabins”. Yes, the term “cabin” can vary from person to person but usually they are referring to a plan ranging from 800 sq. ft. to maybe 1500 sq. ft. or so. Over the years we have built many log cabins in that size range throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Most are used on weekends and family vacations. Some are used throughout the year to be enjoyed in the winter months as well. With a remote home monitoring system it is very easy to dial the heat back when you leave on a Sunday and turn it back up remotely before you head back up so you have a warm cabin to walk into. Smaller log cabins are affordable to build and can be easily designed to fit your needs and your lot. It is tough to beat a nice cozy cabin in the woods or on the lake.
It is hard to believe the fourth of July is behind us already. Hopefully everyone had a great weekend. I was able to spend some time on the St. Croix River and caught some fish. It was nice to get out and enjoy the weekend. If you were in the areas that got hit by the July first storm hopefully you didn’t get any damage at your location. The worst of the storm missed used by a little but but we still had some large trees down. It has been a busy week with insurance companies calling and being out surveying the damage on a few homes.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and feel free to check out my website, call or email for more information on Minnesota log cabins.