The Log Home Neighborhood

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Hello all,

           I this is my second topic started here and I hope I can pull as much wisdom as I did from my other topic (Thanks Donald!). 

 

First things first lets start by saying that I am recently engaged and looking to build a log home. We are young and money is a consideration. I currently have a good job as does she but in the beginning like everyone else it is a struggle. We currently own (Paid off) 8.5 acres here in northern NY. We have cleared the whole site ourselves as well as installed a large wood shed / storage area for the tractor (you would be proud, haha). Where we are at now is currently saving for the house. We are attempting to do as much on a cash basis as we can. Obviously we know we cannot afford to build the house off of 100 percent savings so there would be a small morgage to cover that gap.

My main question is to hear from people who have went basic just to get into the home. Neither one of us are lazy and in fact we would like to accomplish most if not all of the finishing work ourselves. I have made a basic list below to give you an idea of what we feel comfortable finishing and what we do not. 

 

Hire:

Foundation

Septic

Well

Electricity from road

Rough dry in including:

  • Log Walls
  • Roof
  • All outside doors
  • Windows
  • Interior wall studs
  • Sub floor

Fireplace

All plumbing to main fixtures

Heating system

Electricity to all locations

Kitchen Cabinets and countertop

Staircases and railings

 

Do ourselves:

All flooring

  • Tile work
  • Hardwood floors

All wall material:

Tounge and groove or sheetrock

Bathroom

  • Toilet
  • Sink
  • Countertop
  • Cabinets
  • Bath tub install

All interior doors

Staining of the home

 

The log home will be about 2000 square feet and a basic 4 corner design. Our goal is to get it dried in with water, heat and other basic needs and then rough it as we continue to finish our dream home. 

 

So who has done it? What are your estimated savings by doing most of it yourself and if you could what would be a good guess on overall cost? We have already spoken to a builder and will be meeting with him on this but still wanted to have your input. Thank you so much, Travis

 

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Travis -

 

My expertise lies in just one area: prep & staining of the home.  It certainly can be accomplished by the DIYer.  Just know what it's going to take and don't skimp on product quality. (A lot of homeowners forget to budget in enough money for their stain and caulk.  By the time they've made all the changes to interior design and materials, the budget is blown and they want to go with "cheaper" products.  In the long run, those cheap products will cost you a lot.)  It's my estimation, based on info from other DIYers, that you can save anywhere from $10-20K by doing the work yourself, between prep, staining & any caulking that needs to be done. Of course, you may want to contract out at least some of that, depending on how quickly you want it done and how tired you are of being a DIYer.  Staining is usually the last thing to be done.  :-)

 

Drop me an email at cbabcock@sashco.com and I'll send you a little educational booklet all about staining called "Keeping the Dream Alive."  This will get get you informed of all the steps to take.

 

Also - when you have a minute, check out the How-To Videos on our website on prep, staining and caulking.  That will really give you an idea of how to go about this work. www.sashco.com

 

Good luck! 

 

-- Charis w/ Sashco - www.sashco.com - cbabcock@sashco.com

 

Charis,

 

I don't doubt your numbers but I am shocked at them. Saving $10-20,000 by doing that yourself is ridiculous. Ridiculous in that it should never cost that much.

 

We have just completed a project. It is 1900 square feet on the main floor. We cleaned it and stained it on our site before shipping. Two coats of stain and one of clear only took about 25 man hours. That is spraying on and back brushing. Add the cost of 42 U.S. gallons of stain and the cost to the customer is only a little over $2,000. 

 

Of course it is a scribe fit building and does not need chinking. The logs being at about 7% m.c. at the moment shrinking and movement is not much of an issue. 

 

Just like the post I made a few minutes ago it speaks volumes on buying base upon lowest initial price. If it costs that much to finish a building constructed of 6x8 timbers that then need finishing and chinking it appears that a scribe fit hand crafted log house with massive wood and a great R value is a better deal.

 

Bob Warren

Khita Log Builders Ltd.

www.khita.com

 

Yes, they are shocking sometimes.  I saw the same 1400 sq. ft. (surface area) home bid for media blasting, secondary sanding to remove felting, staining 2 coats w/ back brushing - 1 bid for $12K, one for $21K, another for $26K.  Bids all from contractors that we know and trust. That's why I say $10-20K savings...There are others that I've seen with the same thing. 

 

-- Charis

Bob I think one of the points you neglected to emphasize was your statment "We cleaned it and stained it on our site before shipping.". That whole doing it onsite is a LOT less expensive than travel, food, lodging, and often times a larger crew to get the job done more quickly and get back home. I can stay home and do the same work I do on the road for 1/2 the price.

Travis, I have  built approx 20 stick built homes and two years ago my first 2100 sq ft  two story log with cathedral ceiling  also with two covered porches of 450 sq ft and an additional 375  sq ft of decking.  I looked at approx 4 major log home kit mfg and had a good experience. Timing is very costly. Paying the interest, increase in rates etc. just getting plain tired of working can cause your project to have unexpected consequences. First you better be more than just a handyman to completed your tasks you want to do yourself. Second, Unless you are an expert with sheet rock; plan on hiring an expert. I finished my interior t & g, limited sheetrock finish. (had it installed) staining interior & exterior, landscape, & trim. My foundation & subfloor was completed in 8 days and I got my CO 90 days exactly from my first log started to completion. Very fast but I know how to work my subs. I'm in for a little under $100 a sq ft including granite, custom tile, pine T & g flooring. I am planning on starting another 1200 sq ft and I will buy the logs and will use local sources and log suppliers for everything unless I can get a better deal.

Good luck when done right you will love it.

Scott

Thanks everyone, 

 

       Currently the way we have things broken up is based on what I have already done in the past. All of the areas I listed to do on my own I have done in the past with great results. It is amazing how far you can get with a little time and research. If I did not feel 100% comfortable I would not attempt it, for example plumbing, heating, electrical etc . . . 

Thanks Travis

Good luck with your log home dream!!!  Now you watch, you have just stated your land is paid off, and you have laid out your intentions, now comes all the advertising junkies!!!  Manufacturers, dealers, and anyone who stands to make the almighty dollar, from you, will use this, to advertise to you, and everybody else on Gods green earth, they have the best product, we stand behind our product, we have the best warranty, we have been in business for umteem years, etc....  Buyer Beware, like I have said 1000 times, check anyone and everyone out with a fine tooth comb, DO NOT hand anyone any money upfront, don't get overwelmed in your project, and just hire anyone.  Take your time, and use your head!  The housing/construction industry is in bad shape everywhere, so there are crooked people out there, just waiting to cash in!  Like I said good luck in your endeavors, I wish you the best!!!

Hey Travis - glad to see you are proceeding with your project.  Looks like you are hiring out most of the "heavy" stuff and doing most of the finish work yourselves.  Good plan as this puts you "in the dry" quickly so you can then continue to do the inside work without worrying about weather.  With the amount of work you listed as doing yourself I would ESTIMATE overall approximate savings of around 12%-18%.  The materials (flooring, plumbing fixtures, counter tops, etc) cost about the same, the installation labor is what you are saving.  Overall costs, according to recent homeowners, have been running $120 - $150 per square foot (turn key by a General Contractor) and include labor and materials from the sub floor up to the roof (site prep, well, septic, driveway, landscaping, foundation, etc are NOT included in this amount as these costs can vary greatly).  Hope your meeting with a builder goes well and let us know how things turn out.  Donald
Thank you for the rough estimates, we are off today to speak with the builder. We came across him through word of mouth. Hopefully we can get a good idea of where we stand today.

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