Updated: Nov 1, 2021
With the exception of our Nook range of mobile cabins, all of our log homes and the many other projects that we work on are fully bespoke, with idiosyncrasies and a whole range of hopes and expectations associated with every client brief that we undertake. And this is what keeps the job interesting.
We love the range of ideas and dreams that we are presented with, the often breath-taking locations our clients find to build their cabins and the requests for bespoke finishing touches that we build into these projects. And that requires a pricing structure that allows us to work with this vast range of client briefs and budgets. In this article, we explore some of the factors and considerations that go into building a bespoke log cabin and how they affect the overall cost.
The single biggest factor that affects the overall cost of a build is the construction method you choose and the differing levels of skill & labour that each demands. Of the three building methods we offer, Scandinavian Saddle Notch, Dovetail and Post and Beam, all of which are handcrafted, the saddle notch method is the most time consuming and requires the highest level of skill to complete. This sees each log individually scribed to fit seamlessly with the natural shape of the log below it, resulting in what is arguably the ‘classic’ log cabin notch of overlapping and interlocking logs. This is a relatively slow process but one that delivers what many deem the premier finish of all log cabin options.
Second to this is the dovetail method, which as you may be familiar with in furniture making, is based on the formation of architectural, interlocking joints that cannot be undone without the full dismantling of the cabin itself. These joints are designed such that rainwater always runs down and away from the cabin, reducing the risk of water ingress whilst creating a beautiful detail in and of itself. Although complicated and demanding in terms of accuracy and attention to detail, the art of making perfect dovetail joints is something we have mastered. There are options in the finish here too, with perfectly flush log ends making for a sleek final look, or protruding notches giving that traditional log cabin feel.
The third technique we work with is post and beam which consists of vertical posts, horizontal load-bearing beams and highly insulated infill panels that create the walls and provide thermal performance. Compared to the saddle notch method, this is a relatively quick construction method and can be up to 40% cheaper, yet still offers a characterful finish that is ideal in situations where open-plan living is required.
The delivery time is also dependent on the building technique so this may need to be factored into other costs you might have. Talk to us and we will be able to give you a lead in time for any build you are interested in or may be actively planning.
Level of finish
We offer two levels of finish - log work only, and sealed shell which gives you options when it comes to the degree of involvement you are looking for in the build.
Log work only is just that - the logs, fully hand-crafted in our yard by our talented team of log builders, then dismantled, transported to your site and reassembled for you by our team. As much care, pride and artistry goes into a log work only cabin as goes into every single one of our builds and you benefit from all our skills, expertise and craftsmanship. We fit the roofing framework and you go on to fit the roof itself, windows, doors and all internal fixtures using the local trades or suppliers of your choice. This is the most economical of the two options and gives you more control of the costs thereafter.
Our second package, sealed shell, includes all of the above but we source and fit all the doors and windows and a selection of roofing options (see below). With the additional involvement, this package is more expensive than the log work only option, but gives you a weather-tight cabin to fit out with fewer moving parts to organise yourself and perhaps taking the immediate pressure off needing to arrange trades to do further fixtures and fittings.
Note that external market forces beyond our control such as the price of and demand for timber and the individual roofing finishes will also affect the overall costs of these.
Access and site visits
From time to time we may need to visit your site, particularly if there are access issues such as narrow lanes, mature trees or complications caused by proximity to adjacent buildings that may require additional thought, equipment and reconstruction time. The cost of a site visit will be determined by where you are in the country. In really complex sites, we may need to bring in specialist lifting equipment to help navigate any obstacles so these are just things to consider when we talk about getting your cabin to site.
Given that every single one of our cabins is truly bespoke, it is only fitting that we offer a range of roofing options to allow you to truly customise your cabin. This may be simply out of personal preference, to ensure your new log home fits with a certain vernacular or to comply with specified planning requirements.
Our sealed shell package includes a Plastisol coated steel roof as standard with a selection of colours and profiles to choose from, but we also offer everything from natural slate to green roofs. In order of cost, lowest to highest, they are:
Lasting for up to 50 years if properly maintained, a beautiful cedar shingle roof will give your cabin a cosy, rustic aesthetic. We only use the heartwood of Western Red Cedar to deliver a naturally resilient finish.
These days clay tiles come in all blends and textures, adding a high quality, resilient finish to your cabin that can either be made to blend with the log work, or create a distinctive, contrasting statement.
A popular option, a slate roof complements the natural wood timbers perfectly, giving an elegant overall finish. A slate roof is also exceptionally long-lasting and requires little maintenance.
Requiring a little more maintenance than the inert roofing options, a living sedum roof is a spectacular addition to any log cabin, and will attract many species of birds and insects. As with any garden, it is going to take some TLC, but the rewards are worth it and the roof becomes an asset in itself. A sedum roof is the most expensive option only because of the initial preparation required, such as the water-proof growing bed and the additional structure required to support it.
As we design and build all our cabins from scratch, we can accommodate a wide range of other roofing options, including zinc sheeting, weathering steel, profiled slates, pan tiles or even a very traditional thatch. If you have a different option in mind we can simply build this into the designs.
We pride ourselves on being able to make most log cabins dreams come true! So whether you are looking for a full wrap-around balcony, area of decking, internal mezzanine floor or walkway, sauna or bespoke staircase, we can certainly factor these into the designs for your cabin. Our team loves the challenge of these truly bespoke elements as they test both our creativity and skills to the max. They will of course add to the overall cost of the build, but they are an excellent opportunity to add even more character and uniqueness to your cabin and can become real talking points when showing people round.
Rarely are two projects or ideas the same and we love to be challenged by the creativity many of our clients are seeking. We have guideline prices on our website for different cabin sizes and building techniques here. We work with a range of budgets, sizes of project and build right across the UK, so whatever you have in mind, give us a call or drop us an email and start a conversation with us about your dream log cabin project.