Log Homes Minnesota – How much do they cost?

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.

Minnesota Log Cabins

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.

Happy 4th of July

Well….summer is here in full swing today delivering heat and humidity just in time for the holiday weekend. It seems like Memorial Day was just yesterday!  Many people are heading north to their Minnesota log homes and looking forward to the time spent there. Others are heading up to what may be one of their last times visiting the cabin as they know it. Their next time at the cabin will be spent removing belongs and getting ready for it to be demolished.  We have a few late summer and early fall starts that will involve tearing down an existing cabin to make way for a new log cabin. Some of these cabins have been passed down through the generations so it is a bittersweet time in the last couple of visits to the old cabin. Years of memories were made of campfires, learning to waterski, fish caught, fish lost, family members that have since passed and time spent “up north” as a kid.  Quite often there is something salvaged from the old cabin to be incorporated in the new one.

I’m planning on taking some time to get out on the water to do some smallmouth bass fishing this weekend. I’m guessing the grill will be doing its thing every day as well!

Hopefully everyone has fun on the water, catches a few fish and has a great time with family and friends on this Fourth of July weekend.

Wisconsin Log Homes and Wisconsin Log Cabins

Being located in east central Minnesota it is easy for us to offer log home builder service throughout Minnesota. I get asked rather often if we also build in log homes and cabins in Wisconsin. Yes, we do offer our log home planning and building services in Wisconsin as well. My model is less than an hour from the Siren, WI area so it is easy for me to get anywhere in northern Wisconsin. I have crews throughout Wisconsin, from the heart of the lakes area to the bluff country of southwestern Wisconsin. Here is a quick sampling of some of the areas in Wisconsin that we have built log homes and cabins in: Siren, Danbury, Webb Lake, Minong, Hayward, Spooner, Somerset, Turtle Lake, Amery, St. Croix Falls, Balsam Lake, Winter and Cumberland to name a few. With my model being located an hour from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul it is easy for people in those areas to visit and go over plans here and also get full builder support in Wisconsin. I know quite a few over the years have been happy to only drive an hour to view my model and meet rather then drive three or four hours and burn up a weekend to go over log home plans and ideas. We are familiar with local codes in Wisconsin so we know our plans are drawn to meet those codes and our builders are local so you aren’t paying road and travel time like you would with a log home company that doesn’t have local builder support.  Wild River Log Homes represents Stevens Point Log Homes which is a Wisconsin based company. Stevens Point Log offers a wide range of log products and has the best looking rustic half log available.  The fact that they are located in Wisconsin saves on shipping costs to your building site and our local builders take care of off loading the materials so you don’t have to worry about it.

Another question that comes up is people ask if we build smaller log cabins. The answer to that is also yes. Over the years we have built many cozy cabins that are used both seasonly or all year. Granted, the definition of cabin can vary from person to person but most consider a cabin to be anywhere from 800 sq. ft up to maybe 1500 sq. ft. or so. We have built many over the years in both states.

For more information on Wisconsin log homes head over to my website.

Minnesota Log Homes – More on Log Home Packages

Summer has finally arrived and here in Wisconsin and Minnesota log homes are being enjoyed now that the weather has improved in the last couple of weeks. Some of these log homes are seasonal/weekend cabins while others are lived in throughout the year. Whether you are planning a cozy log cabin or a year ’round log home we can help you throughout the process.  Hopefully my blogs will help you along while you are researching log home companies, pricing and log home packages.

Thank you for the compliments on my previous blog on log styles and peel variations. I’m glad you found some of my tips to be helpful.  Due to the emails and calls I got I figured I would continue with more information on things to look for while you are breaking down packages and inclusions between companies. All the materials impact pricing so it really is up to you to sort it out. As you narrow down your selections you are going to have to pay closer attention. Like I mentioned earlier, some appear a lot less expensive while others seem more than others. It all comes down to materials included and type of materials.

I’m going to cover two items in this blog with the first one being windows. As we know, energy costs aren’t expected to decrease so energy efficient windows are going to be playing a part in the equation. Most log home companies include a window in their package with an aluminum clad window usually being the standard offering. Some offer a vinyl window as their standard offering so you have to make note of that. A lesser grade vinyl window is fine in a seasonal hunting cabin that may not be heated through the winter. The costs savings makes sense in that situation. However, many people want to enjoy their log home or cabin throughout the seasons or full time and an aluminum clad window makes sense for two reasons. One for efficiency and energy savings and two, a window with wood on the interior of the home just looks better and fits the theme of a log home. No matter the color of vinyl, it just isn’t wood.

The other is exterior log or wood materials. All of us have the main floor walls as log, either half log or full log. The variables start to show up in the upper gable ends and dormers. The illustration below shows the two areas I’m referring to in this article. 

Our standard offering is half log in the upper gables on dormers. The majority of log home enthusiasts expect log from top to bottom so that is where we start. Some companies will offer a thin wood siding such as cedar, pine or cedar shakes on the gables and dormers. There isn’t anything wrong with those materials at all. However, while comparing log home package offerings these items can show a price swing so again, it is up to you to sort it out. Like I have said before it is so easy to get caught up in just package inclusions and you really need to look at total costs to figure out which one is right for you.

By the time you upgrade from standard offerings from one company such as vinyl windows to aluminum clad and adding half log on the entire outside that package may quickly exceed another companies package costs if it didn’t start higher already.

Your research will pay off and feel free to call or email with any questions you may have on Minnesota log homes. We are here to help you sort it all out.



Minnesota Log Homes – Rustic Half Log

Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin, we have built with both full log and half log. Over the past few years though the trend has been leaning towards half log. Many are saying it won’t be long and half log may be the only way to keep the the budget on track while meeting local energy codes. Time will tell on that. Like I said, the past few years have been trending, at least for us, towards half log construction. It offers more flexibility on the interior and is perfect for those that are hesitant to go full log because of the perceived settling issues.

As you are researching log homes and log styles you are going to see wide range of offerings, each requiring a decision. One will be height of log. Most start at 6″ and go up in two inch increments with 8″ being very popular in this region. The next will be the profile being smooth, machine peeled or hand peeled. Smooth is just that, it is a smooth profile with no peel marks. Some companies offer that same log with a rustic peeled look to it. Some machine peelers have a repetitive pattern to them so watch out for that. Thickness will range as well. Log siding products are usually two inches or less for depth. More of the half log siding products will be three inches or more in thickness and have a more rustic look. The following photos illustrate the differences you will have to look for.

Our Log: The log we carry is truly a half log and has an awesome rustic appearance that can’t be duplicated. The 8″ log we offer is actually 8″ tall and thickness is four to six inches thick. The thickness of the log increases the energy efficiency of your log home throughout the seasons. When it comes to the peeling it is offered in both machine and hand peeled. The difference between our machine peeled log and machine peeled logs from other companies is our machine peeler is still operated by hand and not automated.  That means no two logs are the same!  The reason we all fall in love with log homes is because each one is truly unique so why would you want your logs to have the same peel pattern?  Our log supplier is Stevens Point Log Homes and we are happy to be affiliated with them to offer a great looking and competitive priced log homes. They offer a wide range of rustic half log siding from 6″ to 12″ tall.  The photo below shows the rustic appearance of the log Wild River Log Homes offers. It is a photo of 8″ half log that is an actual 8″ stack height.


Things to look for: A majority of the Minnesota and Wisconsin log home companies offer peeled log profiles. Again, heights and thicknesses will vary. It is up to you to figure out which size and pattern you prefer as well as what your budget allows. Is their 8″ log only 7″ or 7 1/2″?  If you are pricing just half log and not a complete package you really have to pay attention to log heights for pricing and quantity of materials that need to be ordered. For illustration purposes, the photo below shows a machine peeled half log that doesn’t have the random peel.






Log Siding: Like I mentioned earlier, there is a thinner product out there that is more along the lines of log siding. We do offer this siding in both smooth and peeled and build with it every now and then. It offers a log look for a bit less cost.  It ranges in six to ten inches tall and the product we offer is a “ship lap” style. The photo below will give you a better idea of the profile and look of it.







Thank you for taking the time to read through this blog. I want to help you along in the researching process and point out items that will come up along the way.  For more information on Wisconsin or Minnesota log homes just head to our website, send us an email or give us a call.

Minnesota Log Homes – Log Home Packages

Log home packages: What do they and what don’t they include?  Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin there are a lot of log home companies and which brings a wide range of log home packages offered. Each company has their own “package” but there is no “standard” log home package in the log home industry. No two log home companies include the same items so it is pretty much up to you to sort through your information and put some of the pieces together. You need to work with the log home company or dealer and your log home builder to make sure all the bases are covered. If the log home company doesn’t have a builder in your area that is familiar with their product and you have to find your own builder you will have to pay attention to details to make sure everything is accounted for to get your log home to completion.

Some  of these packages are log only, some may offer more items and call it a dried in shell which will usually include roofing, windows and exterior doors. A dried in shell should be a completed exterior along with all interior framing. Some offer interior materials such as knotty pine, doors, trim and other interior finishing items. Being there is such a broad range of packages, the price will range accordingly.

In the 12 years I’ve been in the log home business I’ve seen many people spend way too much time on package pricing.  The rest of the budget includes build costs and other factors related to the build such as driveway, electric service, well, septic and permits. We have seen some log home packages that appear very inexpensive up front but by the time we include the necessary materials the end costs on some of those have exceeded some packages that seemed more expensive earlier on in the process.

Our log home builders here in Minnesota and Wisconsin know our packages and what we supply and what they need to supply in the field to get your log home completed.  No one needs budget surprises!  We are here to help you sort it out and get your project from concept to completion. Feel free to contact us for more information and head over to the Wild River Log Homes website to learn more about Minnesota log homes.

Minnesota Log Homes

Hello and welcome to my first post on my new blog and updated website. Keep checking back for tips on planning your log home and getting it built. I’ll also be writing about log home packages and how to decipher the differences between what each log home company offers. Located in east central Minnesota it is easy for us to build for you anywhere in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. For photos and more information head to my website for updates on Minnesota log homes.