For many people, their vision of their dream home is a log cabin tucked away in the woods, or a luxurious log home overlooking a lake, where they can snuggle up next to a roaring fire in an open fireplace. Be it a small cabin or a mansion, many people dream of owning a log house!
However, many people are surprised to learn that there is also a special consideration to owning a log home. Pests, settlement / shrinkage, and unknown maintenance requirements are some of the elements that can intimidate buyers at first.
As with any home, maintenance and upkeep will always be required, so don’t let that put you off. Here is a list of pros and cons associated with owning a log home. You may want to take them into account in your decision whether owning a log home is right for you.
Advantages of owning a cabin or log house
Efficient energy – Due to the thermal mass of wood, which explains the ability of wood to store and release heat during the day and night, log houses are excellent for conserving energy and maintaining temperatures. This means that your home can stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter without having to rely so heavily on air conditioning units and central heating. They are generally considered to be between 2.5% and more than 20% more energy efficient, if properly constructed and sealed, compared to an identical wood frame house.
Log houses fit the “green” lifestyle – If being environmentally conscious is important to you, going with logs will be a good option. Today’s builders tend to use sustainable forest logs to ensure they are not depleting forests that are already in trouble. Combined with the energy efficiency mentioned above, this means that they are very “green”.
Traditional charm with modern amenities – Many people love log cabins because they remind them of a simpler way of life. In today’s homes, you can keep that traditional charm while adding the modern conveniences many of us don’t want to live without – beautiful modern kitchens with all major appliances, central heat and air, open floor plans. with vaulted ceilings, even integrated technology. These offer comfort and convenience in the rustic setting you’ve dreamed of, giving you the best of both worlds.
Solid, safe, beautiful, cozy and quiet homes. Log walls are also natural sound insulators, giving you a well-built home with an unrivaled sense of security.
Possible downsides of owning a home or log cabin
Maintenance and conservation – this is an area that may surprise new owners. Log houses have unique maintenance requirements compared to traditional stick-built houses. However, keep in mind that this does not mean that maintaining one is “more difficult”. It is just different. Logs may require regular caulking / jingling to ensure that water and air remain out. Staining or sanding may also be necessary. Since logs can expand and contract as temperature changes, settlement can occur. However, some issues caused by this can be addressed during the construction process, so if you are building, be sure to hire an experienced and reputable builder. If you are buying a pre-built home, be sure to involve a qualified inspector who has a good knowledge of log homes.
Pests can be a problem – Insects (most commonly carpenter bees and termites) may want to make their homes out of logs and / or feed on wood. These can be managed effectively with regular care and attention.
Insurance can be harder to come by – don’t assume that your regular trucking company will insure your log home. Most reputable insurance companies provide coverage. Be sure to do your research and find a reputable company that offers log home insurance. Also, because many are located in rural areas that are further from fire departments and hydrants, you may see higher fire insurance rates.
Beware of kits – If you are building something new, a home log kit may seem convenient. However, since not all kits are created equal, they can also present challenges. The kits are designed to fit perfectly like a puzzle to a pre-designed plan. This leaves little room for the creative changes you want along the way. Some provide only the logs and lumber, while others may include items such as interior walls. Some companies reduce costs by using inferior quality materials. If you decide to use a kit, make sure you know exactly what the kit includes, check the reviews and ratings of the company you are buying from, and make sure the design is what you want.
It can be difficult to sell a log home – Although some people think they are more difficult to sell than rebar houses, we have found that good house maintenance, combined with specialized marketing tools and knowledge, can make the sales process quicker and easier.
In the end, as long as you know the care required for your log cabin, we believe the pros outweigh the cons!