How much does a log home cost per square foot?
This is a question we get asked all the time. At face value, it seems simple enough. It’s a figure you see when scrolling through housing websites, one that’s sometimes cited by builders, the seeming standard for evaluating the price of a home.
- You divide the total value by the square footage, and you’ve got price per square foot, right?
Although this formula works fairly well for houses that are already built, calculating the cost per square foot of new construction is a bit more complex. Mostly because few builders and contractors haven’t agreed on what exactly is included in a “square foot” (aside from the measurement, that is).
In this blog, we’ve compiled our decades of knowledge and experience building log homes to give you the tools to better understand how your project is priced and what considerations go into the “price per square foot.”
The Builder’s Perspective
First, it’s important to understand that not every builder will view your project the same way. Different builders consider different elements of your log cabin as part of the overall square footage.
For example, let’s say you have a floor plan for a 3,000-square-foot log cabin home. You also want to add a two-car garage (500 square feet), a covered deck (300 square feet) and an unfinished basement (400 square feet). Builder A might look at this project and consider every element of your home when calculating his square footage. He’ll quote you a price based on a 4,200-square-foot plan.
However, Builder B looks at this and only considers the floor plan and covered deck — because it’s attached to the home — in the square footage. So, he quotes you based on a 3,300-square-foot plan.
Builder B’s quote will likely look more appealing in terms of cost but remember it’s because he’s not considering every element of your home. Inversely, Builder A’s quote might seem very high because he’s figuring the same price for an empty garage and unfinished basement as he is for your finished home and deck. So when you’re getting estimates from log home builders, remember that the price per square foot will depend largely on how they’re measuring the size of your project.
What’s Included in Price Per Square Foot?
This is another area where different builders will have different opinions. Some calculate the price per square foot as just the cost of materials and labor. Others include furnishings and finishings. Still others fall somewhere in between. In most cases, the price per square foot of a log home includes:
- Materials costs
- Labor costs
Common additional costs that are not included in a price per square foot estimate are:
- Septic system installation
- Water, sewer, gas, and electric hook-ups
- Building permits
- Site condition alterations (tree removal, blasting, soil testing, etc.)
- Energy efficient modifications ( type of HVAC preferences)
If you plan to modify your log home package or add on different structures, ask your builder to factor those considerations into their estimate so you can have a better idea of what your log home will cost per square foot.
Factors That Affect Cost
Just like with traditional homes, there are many different factors that can affect the total cost of a log home.
- Builder Grade vs Premium. The first thing that will make a big difference is whether you’re using builder grade or premium grade products (or anything in between) in your new log home. As you can imagine, these two types of finishes differ greatly. You can think of builder grade products as entry-level or least expensive in cost. This helps keep the overall cost of a project as low as possible, however quality will be sacrificed. Premium products are “top shelf” or “top of the line” and as they are usually high-quality materials, they do cost more. There are mid-range products to choose from as well, however it’s best to know what type of products you want in your log home and how much they cost before proceeding with the project.
- Type of Logs. The type of log you use will likely have the biggest effect on the price per square foot of your home. However, this is not an area where you want to cut costs. Choosing quality timber that’s been treated for durability is worth the cost. It keeps your home in good condition for the long-term so you don’t have to worry about serious issues that can compromise the quality and safety of your log home.
- Type of Foundation. Crawlspace, Slab, Basement (finished or unfinished), post/pier –are types of foundations that log homes have been built on. Consult with your builder to determine the best type of foundation for your home and determine how that will factor into your overall price.
- Add ons. Things like a fence around your property, a fireplace in your new home, a finished basement, or any other addition can add to the overall cost of your project. Keep in mind that your log home builder might not be able to provide all of the additional services you’re looking for, which means you might need to get a quote from another contractor after your home is finished.
Build Your Dream Home
We suggest using any builders “cost per square foot” price as a starting point. If the builder has not visited your job site, reviewed your log home floor plans (not a sketch or photos/floor plan printed from a web site) and discussed the types of finishes you are expecting in your home, the price is only someone’s best guess. Until someone presents you with a complete breakdown of costs or budgets for finish items for your particular floor plan design setting on your lot – it’s only a guess.
Although determining an accurate log home cost per square foot can be complex, log home living isn’t. If you’re looking for a peaceful home that helps you slow down and enjoy life, then you’ve made it to the right place.
At Appalachian Log Structures, we offer log home kits and custom-built homes to ensure you get exactly what you’ve been dreaming of. Contact us today to take the first step toward building your dream home.