Frequently Asked Log Home Questions
Log Home Frequently Asked Questions
What questions do we receive most from those considering building a log home?
Cedar Direct Log Homes compiled the most thorough list of questions regarding each and every process of buying and building a cedar log home or log cabin kit. If you can’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we will be more than happy to answer your question. In addition, if your question is not on our list, we will make sure to add it. Enjoy your log home educational journey.
Each category of the FAQ’s are divided into the most popular subjects from our log home clients. Those categories in order are 1). Land and land preparation, 2). Design & blueprints, 3). Building costs, financing, and budgeting, 4). Log home packages, 5). Choosing your log home package provider, 6). Wood species, 7). Delivery of the log home package materials, 8). Construction of the log home package, and 9). Energy efficiency and sustainability.
DON’T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE QUESTIONS TO OPEN THE ANSWERS BELOW.
LAND & LAND PREPARATION
Should I make improvements to my land (remove trees, install a driveway, or install the foundation) if I have the cash available before I close on the log home construction loan?
Unless you are paying cash for your log home and property, you need to be very careful when making improvements to the land before you have closed on your new home construction loan. The bank will carry the first lien on the property regardless of whether you own the property or obtain a home construction loan. Any contractors hired before the bank mortgage is finalized will trump the bank and have the first lien. The bank may decline your loan in this case scenario.
I don't have property for the construction of my new log home. Can you help me find suitable Land?
Of course. At Cedar Direct Log Homes, we work with various real estate agents in many different areas nationwide. If we don’t have one readily available in your area, we will find you a top-notch agent to assist you with your property search. Contact us for more information.
Can I purchase my log home package before securing land?
We have had several customers throughout the years place a deposit on their log home package before procuring their land. Some of these clients wanted to take advantage of the various specials we were offering at the time. Others wanted to have their home designed to their exact specifications first, so the land was found and purchased to accommodate the design of their log home. While most people will purchase their land first, the truth is that you can successfully purchase your package first if the situation warrants.
Log Home DESIGN PROCESS
How much does Cedar Direct charge for a custom cedar log home package quote?
Cedar Direct does not charge for any quotes. Simply head over to our Log Home Quote page to submit your information online. If it is more convenient, please call us at 888.503.5647 for a log home package quote. Once we have all the information we need to prepare your quote, a representative will contact you within three business days.
How much do blueprints cost from Cedar Direct?
The preliminary and final construction blueprints are included free of charge with the purchase of any log home package. If you would like to make additional changes after your final construction blueprints are drawn, a fee will apply depending on the complexity of the change.
We will supply you with a digital copy of your preliminary blueprints and 8 sets of Final Construction Blueprints (2′ X 3′) with a digital copy as well.
There will be additional charges if your blueprints require an architect seal.
Does Cedar Direct charge extra to customize a floorpan or to make changes to a log home plan?
No, we do not charge extra for custom design. You may use any of our plans as a springboard to design your dream cedar log home. You can also bring us a plan you found online that you like, and we can change that plan to satisfy your needs. In addition, we can start with graph paper and ultimately draw the log home of your dreams from scratch. 99% of our customers want a custom-designed log home, and we are more than happy to make each home we sell unique for each of our clients.
How hard is it to design a wheelchair accessible or ADA compliant log home?
Designing a log home to be ADA compliant or with Universal Design is no more complicated than building a conventionally framed home that’s wheelchair accessible. Thinking ahead is the most important aspect when building an ADA-compliant home. Cedar Direct can help you every step of the way when designing a wheelchair-accessible home. Our VP of Marketing, Nora Schneider, has grown up in log homes and built her own accessible log home as a paraplegic. Check out our ADA Log Home page for more info.
Do your log home meet all local building codes? Can I build your log home package anywhere in the USA?
Cedar Direct Log Homes are designed in accordance with the most current International Residential Code (IRC) and meet or exceed all related minimum standards. Most areas use some version of the IRC and/or incorporate its standards into their own. However, occasionally, an Architect’s seal will be required or specialized drawings requested by the local municipality. Those will require additional design fees. The good news is that those occurrences are extremely rare.
Log Home BUILDING COSTS, FINANCING, & BUDGETING
How much do custom log homes cost to build?
Custom log homes are comparable in price with a traditional brick or stone facade stick-framed custom home. The finished price is approximately $175 to $300 per square foot. This price depends on many variables, including location and materials chosen for the home’s interior.
Most importantly, every home is unique, so using a multiplier of the log home package price to determine the final cost DOES NOT work. Many log home companies will tell you to multiply the package by 2 or 3, or even 5, which will give you an estimate of the total home cost.
Every log home company includes different components in their packages, so the formula would never work. Each home should be quoted with precise bids to determine the exact costs of the home. However, you can get a fairly accurate estimate by multiplying the home’s square footage by a factor that is accurate for your location and specific building situation.
Please speak with a Cedar Direct team member to determine your area’s approximate cost per sq. ft. and building situation. They will be more than happy to assist you.
How can I reduce the cost to build my dream log home if I am over my budget?
Staying within your construction budget is crucial to keeping your wallet and bank happy. If you find there are items you want for your log home that put you over your budget, there are ways to get precisely what you want in your dream log home.
- Acting as your own general contractor is the best way to save money when building a custom log home. GCs coordinate all of the sub-contractors. Cedar Direct offers free services to all our customers to assist them in acting as their own GC. This can save tens of thousands of dollars on your new log home.
- Another way to save money is by shopping sales so that the money saved on those items can be used on other items you want on the interior. Shopping for holiday sales at the major lumber and appliance retailers is a great idea.
- Another option is to do some of the work yourself or ask friends or family members to help. Installing the interior tongue & groove, placing tiles on floors, or applying the stone facade to your fireplace are all reasonable options to save a ton of money.
- Reducing the home’s square footage can also save a lot of money. You can still have your dream home, just a tad smaller to stay within budget.
Speak with a Cedar Direct team member for more ideas on how to reduce the cost of your dream log home.
Potential customers sometimes ask why we don't publicize our log home package prices. Why?
The answer is simple. Almost every log home we sell is a custom model. We work closely with our clients to design the log home to exactly fit their needs. If you have a plan in mind, contact Cedar Direct, and we will prepare a personalized quote for you quickly. If you are unsure about which design you would like to build, we can help you decide which design and size log home will fit your budget.
Is bank financing the same for new log home construction as it is for conventional homes?
Financing a new log home is similar to financing a custom-framed home, but there are some differences. The most significant difference is in the draw schedule for the loan. With a log home loan, there must be an additional draw in the funding schedule to allow for the final payment of the log home package. If you are planning on acting as your own general contractor, a different type of new construction loan must be used. Please see our log home financing page for more information on how Cedar Direct can help with your banking needs.
How much does a log-sided garage cost?
The overall costs for an attached two-car garage will typically be approx. $25,000 to $35,000, depending on several variables. This would be a traditionally framed garage with log profile siding on the exterior to match the main log home structure.
Larger garages can also be built. They can be attached, completely detached, and connected with a breezeway. Contact CDLH for more information.
THE CEDAR DIRECT Log Home Package
What's included in Cedar Direct's log home package?
Cedar Direct Log Homes has taken a unique approach when determining the components of our cedar log home packages. If you have been researching log homes, you have most likely realized that no two companies include the same materials in their packages.
Rather than including materials that we do not manufacture and would simply be the middle man supplying those items to you, we decided to focus strictly on materials that we consider specialty items. Those items include logs, heavy timber floor joists and roof rafters, cedar tongue & groove, structural insulated roof panels, and many others as outlined on our standard materials list.
We do not include items such as windows and shingles because we do not manufacture those items. We would buy them and have to mark them up to cover handling costs and then sell them to you.
A much smarter approach is for us to develop relationships with companies such as Pella Windows & Doors. We refer our customers directly to Pella, and they give you the volume discount directly as though you were us buying in bulk.
We do not ask for any monetary reward. We would rather those funds go directly to our clients so they have more money to spend on their dream log home. We have relationships with numerous companies like this and share those with our clients.
What's not included in your log home packages?
This list is simply everything but the specialty items we provide in the log home package. To be more precise, here is a rough breakdown of the items not inclued in the log home package, but this list does include everything calculated into the per square foot price of $175-300 and the log home package price. That is a very accurate estimate for the overall house price.
Items not included:
- Excavation, foundation, supports to grade. All site preparation.
- All framing lumber including but not limited to subfloor, partition walls, second floor exterior walls, dormers, and gables.
- Building & farming labor.
- Roof shingles or metal roofing.
- Windows & doors.
- Exterior stairs/stair rails to grade and interior stairs as required.
- Mechanical systems: Electrical, HVAC, and plumbing;
- Finished flooring unless cedar T & G will be finished for second floor.
- All additional insulation in second floor exterior walls, truss roof insulation, and gables & dormers.
- Lighting fixtures;
- Cabinets, vanities, appliances
- Stain for exterior log and log sided walls;
- Driveway, landscaping.
Is Northern White Cedar Tongue & Groove a standard component in your log home packages?
Absolutely! Many log home companies may sell cedar log wall systems, but they include Pine for the interior wall coverings. There is an upcharge to change from Pine to Cedar with many other cedar log home companies.
This is NOT the case with Cedar Direct. Our log home packages only offer Northern White Cedar for all practical applications. There is no upcharge for cedar tongue & groove with CDLH…it is always standard and always will be.
This includes cedar for all the interior partition wall coverings, the shed dormers, gable dormers, and gable ends with NWC log profile siding, the interior tongue & groove roof covering, the second-floor decking, the porch roof ceiling decking and flooring, and even cedar porch posts.
Please refer to our Materials List for more specific imformation.
Do you offer any warranty on your log home packages?
Yes, Cedar Direct offers a limited lifetime warranty on our log walls system. We guarantee those materials to be free from defects in manufacturing and workmanship, for the lifetime of the original purchaser. Please visit our Warrany Page for more information.
Are garages included in your log home packages?
Most of our customers include integral garages in their log homes to save money. This is a garage built into the basement and a very cost economical way to incorporate a garage into a new log home.
If you would rather have an attached or detached garage, CDLH can provide the log profile siding. Due to high costs, most clients traditionally frame their above ground garages, insult with craft back insulation, and cover the exterior with log profile siding to match the home.
Cedar Direct can provide a quote for the garage so you can decide which direction you would like to proceed.
How long will it take to receive delivery of my log home package after the contract is signed?
Typically, Cedar Direct does not cause any delays with the delivery of your log home package. That usually falls on the shoulders of the mortgage company if you are financing your new log home. The approval process takes 4-8 weeks on average. The blueprints are drawn as the financing is taking place. The average customer delivers their package within 2-4 months of signing their contract.
If you do not require a mortgage, the package can be delivered as quickly as the preliminary and final construction blueprints can be completed and the takeoff completed. That process is about 4-6 weeks barring any unforeseen circumstances or delays.
Are your log home packages pre-cut?
Absolutely not, and for a good reason! Based on feedback from our builders, they would much rather cut a fresh log than look through a bunch of lumber for a specific numbered log for a specific location. This takes more time than cutting a fresh log.
In addition, once your logs are cut at the factory and delivered, there can not be any changes made to the floor plan. That is impossible if you want to move a door or window over a few inches.
No foundation or subfloor is 100% plumb and level, and a precut package makes it harder to account for those indiscretions in the building process. These are the main reasons we provide lineal footage of logs accounting for a 10% waste factor.
Do the logs in my log home package need pretreated prior to construction
Northern White Cedar (NWC) has been chosen as one of the best wood species by the USDA Forestry Division to construct an exterior construction. Compared to Pine (the closest competitor), NWC is more energy efficient than Pine. It is naturally impervious to wood-boring insects and rot, and it does not require kiln drying due to the high moisture content like Pine. NWC also lasts longer than Pine. Overall, there is no comparison between Pine and NWC. Read for yourself why Northern White Cedar is better than Pine for log home building.
What maintenance is required for a log home?
A cedar log home technically does not require any regular maintenance. Thanks to the natural properties of Northern White Cedar (NWC), it is naturally rot and insect resistant, unlike Pine.
Pine must be continually treated for insect infestation and rot.
NWC logs only require stain to maintain a consistent color on the exterior of the logs. If no preservatives or stains were applied, the logs would naturally weather to a light silvery gray tone similar to cedar shake shingles. Most people don’t like the inconsistent graying of the NWC logs and apply stains to maintain the color.
The cedar log home exterior should be stained every 4-6 years. Each application of stain will last longer than the previous time.
Misc. log home questions
Do you have a log home model available to view?
Yes. Cedar Direct operates from our Fox Chase model located in southwestern PA. We are in the North Hills of Pittsburgh (Go Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins!) Our model is shown by private appointment.
We offer monthly Open Houses at our home office and other models occasionally. You may register for an upcoming Open House or Event online. You can call 888.503.5647 to schedule a private viewing or register for an upcoming event.
Construction of the log home
Is CDLH a builder or General Contractor, and will you provide a crew to provie the under-roof construction or completely build our cedar log home As the GC?
CDLH is not a builder nor a General Contractor. We provide materials for your cedar log home. With that said, we do provide a service to our customers that mant other log home companies do not supply.
We will assist our customers in acting as their own GC to help save them money on the overall cost of building their cedar log home. We can assist you with procuring GC’s, under-roof building crews, and sub-contractors to complete the remainder of the log home.
Although we may not perform the work ourselves, we will help you to make sure you have qualified individuals building you the best cedar log home on the market.
We can assist you with building the home yourself all the way to hiring a GC to complete all the work for you and every combination inbetween.
Contact a Cedar Direct team member to discuss your specific needs so that we can start helping you to build your dream cedar log home today.
See our log home building process page for further information about the contruction of your new log home.
Can I build my log home myself?
Yes, you can build your dream log home yourself, and Cedar Direct will be there with you every step of the way. We offer a construction manual in layman’s terms to help the most novice builder.
In addition, we can offer you to visit job sites of our log homes under construction to see firsthand one of our homes coming together at various stages.
If you have the time and master carpentry experience, there is nothing more rewarding than building your dream cedar log home. The money saved building the home yourself is impressive.
Contact a Cedar Direct team member or visit our log home building process page for more information.
Are you able to hide the electrical wiring and plumbling lines in a log home?
Yes, and yes. The electrical wiring is hidden in the log wall system and placed as each course of logs is constructed. The logs are routed with a 1 and 1/2 ” auger bit on each course where an electrical plug or switch will be placed.
Your electrician will mark the subfloor for the builder to show him the area for switches, plugs and if the electrical line needs to be run all the way to the top course of logs. This may be needed to run roamn over the second floor joists to hide wires for a lighting fixture in kitchens and dining rooms.
In addition, romax for lighting fixtures in the exposed beam cathedral ceilings will be run on top of the rafters and punched through where needed for the electrician to install ceiling fans and shandaliers.
Plumbing lines are never to be installed on exterior walls, so the log walls are not a concern. The plumbing lines will be placed in the interior partition walls as with any framed home. Placing plumbing lines on exterior walls askes for frozen lines in the winter months.
Ask Cedar Direct if you have any further questions or refer to our log home building process page.
What type of foundation is best to use for my new log home?
This answer varies based on a couple of different variables. The type of land you have is first. Is the land rocky, sandy, wet, etc.? You will also need to consider your geographic location.
The most common types of foundations include concrete slabs, crawl spaces, and basement foundations. Concrete slabs are typically used in warm climates, as they provide a flat and stable base for the building. Crawl spaces, on the other hand, offer the advantage of increased storage space and access to utilities. Basement foundations, meanwhile, provide additional living space and storage and are popular in areas with cold climates. Another innovative type of foundation is the floating foundation, designed to reduce the impact of soil movement and prevent earthquake damage.
A Cedar Direct Log Home Package can be built on any of the above-mentioned foundation types. Ask your CDLH team member for more information about the perfect foundation for your area.