Building or Expanding Your Log Home on a Budget
If you want to create the Virginia log home of your dreams, you may need to build new, or expand or customize an existing log home. This may seem daunting – and expensive – but we have some tips to help you build your ideal log home without breaking the bank. Follow these suggestions to cut unnecessary bloat from your budget so you can focus your money where it matters.
Deciding on an Affordable Log House Plan
The size and shape of your log home make a tremendous difference in the overall price tag. Here are some suggestions for keeping prices down:
- Use a stock home design rather than paying for a custom design. There are many affordable designs out there that you can tweak to get exactly what you want for a fraction of the price. Another bonus is that these designs have already been built before, so there are less likely to be construction errors!
- Rectangular log home designs are the easiest on your wallet. As soon as you make a more creative shape with more than four corners, the prices start to shoot up.
- Choose an open floor plan. This is great because you can save money on heating and cooling, and you eliminate unnecessary hallways that add to your square footage without providing real function.
- Keep your log home under 32 feet wide. If you go wider than this, you may need longer rafters, which will quickly hike up your costs.
Building Smart and Saving Money
Once you’ve decided on your building plans, there are many more decisions you’ll need to make about labor and materials that will have a tremendous impact on your total budget. Consider these tips to see where you save and where you should invest:
- Source your materials locally when you can to save big on transportation! Many materials are nearby in Virginia and can be picked up or shipped a shorter distance to cut costs.
- If you can, try to clear your building site yourself. This can be a significant expense if you outsource it, and you can save a lot by putting in some sweat equity.
- Foundation can be expensive, so opt for the most affordable alternative materials you can find. This includes concrete slabs and patio pavers for tiny cabins under 200 square feet.
- If you want additional living space, adding a basement is the most affordable way to expand your Virginia log cabin!
Roofs, Ceilings, Walls, and Floors
The bones of your Virginia log home are decided, but there are many choices left with big impacts on your budget. Here are our tips for the most economical roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors for a log home:
- A simple roof line will save you tons! Adding extreme angles or multiple roof planes will significantly increase your costs in materials and labor.
- Try to keep your ceilings low in most if not all rooms. Think about 8-foot high ceilings where possible. This keeps construction costs down as well as energy costs once you move in.
- Buying smaller logs for the walls and floors will save you money while giving the same energy efficiency and strength that larger logs provide.
- Pick one flooring to use in as much of your log home as possible. Laminate and vinyl flooring are some of the most economical options that resist wear and tear.
Keeping Costs Down Outside
Make sure that the exterior of your log home isn’t increasing costs more than you’re prepared for.
- Consider how much deck space you really need. An oversized deck can easily run tens of thousands of dollars more than a smaller covered porch outside the front door.
- Grading and compacting your driveway costs a lot of money, especially if you live in an area of Virginia that experiences snowfall. Try keeping your driveway as close to the main road as possible (keeping in mind that this does reduce your privacy).
- Try alternatives to poured concrete for walkways and patios. Concrete pavers, flagstone, and crushed stone are much cheaper alternatives that look great!
Finishing Touches that Save Money
There are so many elements to a log home beyond just the walls, floors, and roof. You need to choose windows, doors, stairs, and fireplaces that will save you money!
- If you opted for a second-story, keep your stairs straight and simple to save the most money! A simple staircase can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.
- Pre-hung steel doors are easy to install and function well. For greater protection against damage, spend a little more on fiberglass doors that require less maintenance.
- Traditional stonework fireplaces are a splurge. If you’re up for it, a factory-made hearth can save you tens of thousands of dollars instantly!