What are log home kits, and are they the right choice?

When researching your dream log home, it's important to know the pros and cons. Log cabin kits come with everything to build a watertight log home, but do know that you're going to get what you pay for. It's important to make sure you know what's included in your kit. There's a lot of talk in the log home industry about log cabin kits. There's no arguing that they offer an easy way to put up a log cabin. Log cabin kits are cabins that are built on a manufacturer's property, then disassembled and shipped to the customer. From there, it's like a giant Lincoln Log project, where the homeowner can assemble the cabin themselves, or have a contractor oversee the build. Log cabin kits exist because they're relatively inexpensive and quick to put up. But, since there's so much controversy in the industry about them, we thought we'd take a little bit of time to explain their pros and cons. If you were considering purchasing a log cabin kit, here's what you need to know before you make the purchase:

They're designed to fit your budget

There's no arguing that there are a variety of log home kits to fit every budget. They can be cheaper to purchase and build than a custom log home, many kits starting at just $35 per square foot.

They're easy

A small log cabin kit can easily be assembled by most general contractors, or even a homeowner with minimal experience of building and carpentry. Since they've been prefabricated, all you have to do is put the pieces back together like a big puzzle.

They're quick

Since the pieces are prefabricated, it's quick to ship out a log cabin kit in just a few weeks. Then, it only takes a short time to assemble the kit, ensuring you have a dry, safe structure to protect you from the elements quickly. The benefits of a log cabin kit are obvious. They solve an immediate need by being inexpensive, and easy to construct. But, it's important to have all the information before you make a purchase:

Not all kits come with everything you need

Some log cabin kits only come with basic materials, like the logs you need to build the structure. Depending on what kit you purchase, they may not come with windows, doors, or even the roof, so it's important to check and see what's in the kit you're purchasing. What's more, most kits don't come with the tools necessary for assembly, so you'll want to make sure you've got what you need to be able to put it together. Know that if a kit is advertised as including dry-in materials, that usually means it contains what you need for the shell or outside perimeter of the cabin, possibly the roof, and the windows. At that point, the cabin will seal out the elements and is considered dried-in. While that's great, know that it won't come with any extras, like interior materials for walls, or amenities like stairs.

Few design options

Log cabin kits are prefabricated, which inherently means you won't have a ton of choice on design. You'll be able to choose from the options the manufacturer provides, but you won't be able to make any custom decisions if you're purchasing a kit.

There could be hidden fees

If all you need is four walls and a floor to put your bunks on for deer camp, a log cabin kit will probably have everything you want. It'll keep out the rain and snow, and keep you dry. But if you're looking for any amenities more than that, be sure to factor it into your budget before you purchase the kit:
  • Plumbing, electricity, and gas - If you want your cabin to have modern amenities like a kitchen, indoor plumbing, and heat, know that those will have to be arranged separately from your kit. The kit will only include the wood for building; it's up to you to find a plumber and electrician to make the cabin modern.
  • Interior walls - If you're looking to build rooms and section off the cabin, you'll either want to upgrade the type of kit you're purchasing or factor in additional materials to your budget.
  • Building permits and taxes - Remember that when you put up a house, of any kind, you have to have a permit, and you'll have to start paying property tax.
  • Fuel for construction equipment and vehicles - Gas isn't cheap, and you'll need a lot of it to get your cabin where it's going. A lot of log cabin kit manufacturers don't factor in the cost of delivery until the very end of your purchasing process, and then you'll also want to factor in how much gas you'll need to actually get the thing built.
Log cabin kits are ideal for a lot of people looking for something to place on their rural property, but they might not be perfect for everyone. It's a good idea to weigh all the pros and cons before you make your final decision, and we hope this blog helped shed a little light on what really goes into a log cabin kit. If you have any more questions about log cabin kits, drop us a line, or if your kit didn't come with sealant or stain, be sure to stop by the Timeless Wood Care Products site to pick 'em up! They'll keep your new cabin looking nice for years to come.