The Tiny house Blog

Are Log Cabin Homes Cheaper? (Read This First!)

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
Modern tiny house in the woods

Log cabin homes may be cheaper to build than traditional homes due to the materials' cost-effectiveness and the construction process's simplicity. However, the price of the land and site preparation, together with any extra amenities or finishes, can also impact the home's overall cost. 

Do you long for a cozy cabin tucked away in the woods but are worried about the price? 

Look no further! 

You might find the cost-effective option you've been looking for in log cabin homes. 

But before you start planning your log cabin dream home, read on to discover how log cabin construction differs from a traditional home when it comes to cost.

Log cabin homes’ cost breakdown

You can determine the cost of building a cabin the same way you do for a traditional house. 

We have based the following cost guide on the premise that you have already purchased land and are in the design and construction stages because land prices vary so much by city and state.

The following is a breakdown of the prices for site preparation, setting up utilities and services, construction, and finishing.

Site preparation

After purchasing the land, the first step in building a log home is preparing the site. Typically, this involves excavating and clearing the land.

Here is a cost breakdown for site preparation:

  • Clearing land costs $3,200, or $250 to $1,000 per acre.
  • Generally, it costs $3,500 to excavate land, although the price might vary substantially depending on the scope of the operation. 
  • Project bids are expressed in cubic yards of dirt carried at $50 to $200 per cubic yard.

The expense of site preparation will increase as your cabin location becomes more distant and the terrain becomes more complex.

Building permits

Typically, local government entities grant building permits, and the construction project's value determines the fee. 

Permit prices, ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, might vary greatly. The national average cost is $5,086.

However, the easiest way to determine the precise cost of permits for your unique case is to speak with your local building department. 

It's also important to remember that some places may have differing regulations for log cabin structures, which could drive up permit costs.

Engineered house plan

The average cost of a 500-square-foot cabin is $75,000. However, prices differ based on location and design. 

You'll need to consult an expert to determine the plan and layout. 

The typical cost of hiring an architect ranges from 5% to 20% of the project's overall cost. 

Modular log cabin prices may be lower, but you won't have as much input over the design.


The cost of lumber and all other building materials are the two factors to consider when figuring up the material expenses for your log cabin.

A log cabin's structure alone will cost between $25,000 and $65,000. However, this range is subject to change depending on the frequently erratic pricing of wood. 

Different wood species come in at different price points.

Let's examine the price of a 1,000-square-footage home composed of various framing wood types, all materials included:

  • Spruce: from $100,000 to $300,000
  • Fir: from $100,000 to $300,000
  • Pine: from $100,000 to $300,000
  • Cypress: from $110,000 to $310,000
  • Cedar: from $150,000 to $350,000
  • Redwood: from $150,000 to $350,000

Budget for the following essential building supplies while constructing a cabin:

  •  $1,000 to $10,000 for concrete
  • $10 per sheet for drywall
  • $1 to $5 per square foot for flooring
  • $0.10 to $1 per square foot for insulation
  • $25,000 to $65,000 for lumber
  • $1,000 to $3,000 for roofing
  • $2 to $15 per square foot for siding

It's a good idea to check pricing guides for each stage of the building process because the prices of these log cabin construction supplies can vary so widely depending on quantity, quality, and location.

Utilities and services

You'll need to set aside money for utilities and services if the land you bought isn't already wired for electricity, water, gas, and septic. Keep the following in mind:

  • Electrical wiring costs between $3 and $5 per square feet.
  • The labor and material cost to install new drain pipes ranges from $1.40 to $10 per linear foot. Cross-linked polyethylene costs between $1.40 and $4 per linear foot, while copper costs between $3 and $10 per linear foot.
  • Gas line installation typically costs $200 to $2,000 for every 20 to 100 linear feet.
  • A septic system can cost between $10,000 and $25,000, including the leach field, tank, and piping.

Labor cost

The average cost of labor to construct a log cabin is between $50 and $150 per square foot. The cost includes site preparation, foundation work, framing, roofing, and finishing work.

If you employ a project manager, his fees range from $5,000 to $50,000, or 5–10% of the cabin's overall cost. Builders typically charge even more, from $15,000 and $100,000, or 15% to 20% of the overall cost.

It's important to remember that the type of construction will also affect how much labor will cost to build a log house. 

If you plan to build the cabin yourself with some assistance, the cost may be less than hiring a contractor to complete the project from start to finish. 

Additionally, the price of labor may vary depending on whether you want to utilize a log cabin kit or build it from scratch with a contractor.

It is advisable to request estimates from many builders or contractors and compare the prices and services they provide.


Log home insurance is approximately 20% higher than for a non-log home of equivalent size. Even worse, many insurance providers impose a 25% to 50% extra for a log home.

Log homes are more expensive to insure for various reasons.

According to representatives from several insurance firms, the following are the main variables that determine your log home insurance rate: 

  • The kind of construction (log or not)
  • The closeness of the home to a fire station (less than 5 miles)
  • How close a fire hydrant is to the house (less than 1 mile)
  • The home's general market value (higher value means higher premiums)
  • Whether or not the log house is your main abode.

How much does it cost to build a log cabin yourself?

You can construct a tiny, simple log cabin yourself with some technical know-how and a lot of hard work. 

Some businesses offer DIY log home kits for construction and design, with average prices ranging from $50 to $80 per square foot.

But even while it has a certain allure, building a log cabin from scratch might not always be the greatest choice. 

It may take much longer to build a cabin from start to finish on your own than hiring a professional. You may end up paying more in repairs and maintenance over time if you make mistakes when building a cabin.

For a customized quote on a log cabin, get in touch with a local home builder.

What are the prices of DIY log cabin kits?

Several DIY cabin-building kit options are available. 

These packages, which range in price from $50 to $80 per square foot, include all the essential materials you'll need to create your cabin. 

You will also need to perform some tasks before beginning the construction, like laying a foundation and clearing the land.

DIY cabin construction cost vs. hiring a professional

Although building your own log cabin might sound enticing, there are several risks involved. 

Any building blunders will be costly, if not dangerous, from pouring the foundation to stacking logs and making windows and doors. Hiring a qualified craftsperson to build your cabin can also maximize your return on investment (ROI).

There are several strategies to reduce the cost of building log cabins. The cheapest designs are the smaller, simpler ones. 

Instead of actual logs, log siding costs around $6.25 per square foot, though it requires more maintenance than an authentic log home. 

Whichever route you choose, your best bet is always to work with a reputable local home builder.

How much does a log cabin cost by type?

Log cabins
View this Weekender house 

There are a few common types of log cabins, including full-scribe, post-and-beam, and timber-frame homes.

Full scribe

A full scribe log shell typically costs between $70 and $100 per square foot, which is more expensive than wood frame, post, and beam log shells.

The cost of the log work for a complete scribe log shell, which is the most expensive of the three varieties due to the effort and complexity of the structure, is typically about one-third of the entire cost to construct.

Timber frame 

A timber frame package is normally the least expensive of the three constructions since less wood is typically used than in a classic full scribe or post and beam build. 

The price is also affected by the complexity of the design, the size, and the type of wood used in the project.

A basic timber frame home package cost will range from $70 to $95 per square foot. Gaskets, designed hardware, and two Artisan team members' labor are all included in the pricing.

There is also the possibility of adding some timber highlights to your conventional home to replicate the look and feel of timbers if a full timber frame is out of your price range.

Your building project's cost may be impacted by the kind of timber you choose to use for the post and beam and timber home.

Post and beam 

Post and beam homes have finishing expenses that are comparable to timber frame log dwellings. 

For the shell, you should budget between $50-70 per square foot and up to $305 for finishing fees. Your expenditures may vary based on the kind of wood you want to use for construction or the characteristics of the wood.

Many of the walls in a hybrid log home, as opposed to a classic full-scribe log home or a modern home, will be framed, allowing for a variety of cabinetry options and easy access for electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople. 

A post-and-beam log home also needs less upkeep, which will save you money in the long run.

Cost of log homes vs. traditional homes

Log cabins are comparable to conventional dwellings in terms of construction costs. The average cost per square foot to build a house is between $100 and $200. 

Comparably, building a cabin falls within this price range, costing between $125 and $175 per square foot. 

However, costs can rise as high as $300 per square foot or more, particularly in locations with a higher cost of living or more demand for land and materials.

Because cabins are often smaller in size than houses, building one normally costs less. However, maintaining a log cabin differs from maintaining a regular home, which can be expensive. 

The cost of staining, caulking, and cleaning supplies will probably cost you at least $1,000 a year, but siding-covered homes require much less outside maintenance.

Takeaway: Building a log cabin on a budget is achievable

Building a log cabin home can be a cost-effective alternative to conventional homes. 

The cost of the land, permits, engineering house plans, utilities, services, labor, and insurance are just a few examples of the many variables that might affect the price. 

While building log cabin homes could be less expensive in some circumstances, it's crucial to do your homework and speak with local experts to get a precise quote for your particular situation. 

But there is no denying that log cabin homes offer a distinctive and rustic appearance that is not present in traditional homes. For many people, the visual appeal justifies the cost of the property.

So if you are considering building a new home, don't overlook the option of a log cabin home. It might be the perfect fit for your dream home!"

If you would like to learn more about log cabins and tiny homes, visit!

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