For many people, their vision of a dream home is a log cabin tucked away in the woods, or a luxurious log home overlooking a lake, where they can cuddle up next to a roaring fire in an open fireplace. Whether it’s a little cabin or a mansion, many people dream of owning a log home!
However, many people are surprised to learn that there are also special consideration to being a log home owner. Pests, settling/shrinking and unfamiliar maintenance requirements are a few of the items that can be intimidating for buyers at first.
Like any home, there will always be maintenance & upkeep to be done, so don’t let that discourage you. Here’s a list of pros and cons associated with owning a log home. You may want to factor these into your decision of whether owning a log home is right for you.
Advantages of owning a Log Home or Cabin
Energy efficient – Due to timber’s thermal mass, which accounts for the wood’s ability to store and release heat throughout the day and night, log homes are great at conserving energy, and maintaining temperatures. This means your home can be kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter without you having to rely so heavily on air conditioning units and central heating. They are generally regarded as being anywhere from 2.5% to over 20% more energy efficient, if built and caulked properly, as compared to an identical wood-frame home.
Log homes fit into the “green” lifestyle – If being environmentally conscious is important to you, going with log will be a good fit. Builders today tend to use logs from sustainable forests, to ensure that they are not depleting forests that are already in trouble. Combined with the energy efficiency referenced above, this means that they are very “green”.
Traditional charm with modern conveniences – many people love log cabins because they bring to mind a simpler way of life. In today’s homes, you can keep that traditional charm while also adding the modern conveniences many of us don’t want to live without – beautiful modern kitchens with all the important appliances, central heat & air, open floor plans with vaulted ceilings, even integrated technology. These offer comfort and convenience in the rustic setting you’ve dreamed of, bringing you the best of both worlds.
Solid, secure homes that are beautiful, cozy and quiet. Log walls are natural sound insulators too, giving you a well-built home with an unmatched feeling of security.
Possible Disadvantages of owning a Log Cabin or Home
Maintenance & Upkeep – this is an area that can surprise new owners. Log homes have unique maintenance requirements as compared to traditional stick-built homes. Note, though, that doesn’t mean that maintaining one is “more difficult”. It’s just different. The logs may require regular caulking/chinking to ensure that water & air stay out. Staining or sanding may be needed as well. Since the logs may expand and contract as the temperature changes, settling can occur. However, some issues caused by this can be addressed during the construction process, so if you’re building, make sure you hire a reputable and experienced builder. If you’re buying a pre-built home, be sure to involve a qualified inspector that has a good knowledge of log homes.
Pests can be a problem – bugs (most commonly carpenter bees and termites) may want to make the logs their homes and/or feed on the wood. These can be effectively managed with regular care and attention.
Insurance may be more challenging to get – don’t assume that your regular carrier will insure your log home. Most big-name insurance companies do 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 & hydrants, you may see higher fire insurance rates.
Be careful with kits – if you’re building new, a log home kit may seem convenient. However, since not all kits are created equally, they may also present challenges. Kits are designed to fit perfectly together like a puzzle for a pre-designed plan. This leaves little room for creative changes you may want along the way. Some provide only the logs and timber, while others may include items such as interior walls. Some companies keep the costs down by using inferior materials. If you decide to use a kit, make sure that you know exactly what the kit includes, check reviews & ratings on the company you’ll be buying from, and be sure the design is what you want.
It can be hard to sell a log home – though some people think that they are harder to sell than stick built homes, we’ve found that good maintenance of the home, combined with specialty marketing tools and knowledge can make the sales process quicker and easier
In the end, as long as you’re aware of the needed care for your log cabin, we believe the advantages outweigh the disadvantages!