Log Home Cost Metrics: The Pros & Cons

There are two commonly used metrics in log home industry that help folks get an idea of potential costs.  These tools are helpful early in the preliminary planning process "ballparking" potential costs, but only if you understand the limitations of these metrics.   Here are the pros and cons...

1.  Cost per living square foot:  Widely used  in the construction biz and commonly used in conventional construction.  It's a simple calculation that typically factors in the living square foot of the home times a square foot price to determine total cost per square foot.  The multiplier is the cost per sq. ft. which is estimated based on a wide variety of variables such as quality of finish materials, local labor rates, similar size homes, etc.  Example:  1,500 square foot home x $175.00 per square foot = $262,500.  

Pros:  This is a good metric to use for the big picture cost potential and provides a ballpark idea of the cost.  Typically used very early in the log home education process.  

Cons:  Limiting because typically only factors in living space, not construction sq. ft.  Many times it doesn't include decks, porches, garages, dormers or other non-living sq. ft. features.  It may also not factor in the complexity of the structure (number of corners, roof planes, etc), quality and completeness of the log home package, quality of construction, quality level of finishes, scope of your project, etc.

2.  Cost X the log home package price. Commonly used in the log home industry to calculate the total cost to build a log home, take the log or timber frame package price times the multiplier to give you the cost.  Example:  If the log home package cost $100,000 times the multiplier which is typically 3-4 times equals the total cost range from $300,000 to $400,000 (more or less).  Again, it comes back to defining the multiplier which can be based on quality level of finish, labor rates, similar homes, etc.

Pros:  Simple to calculate and understand. Typically used very early in the log home education process. 

Cons:  Only gets you close if you can determine a realistic "multiplier".  Factors that influence the multiplier can be quality level of finish, quality of materials used, amenities or upgrades from standard, etc. An experienced and knowledgeable log home dealer/builder will be able to help you determine your cost  multiplier.  

The Take Away...

The bottom-line…these calculating tools are great for "ballparking" potential cost and really nothing more.  Because each log home is unique, getting a realistic cost number can only be done by taking the next step...meeting with a log home dealer and/or builder of choice and going through the preliminary planing process.    An experienced and knowledgeable dealer and/or builder will be skilled at guiding you through this process to help you develop your design, related building cost and budget.  

If done well this can be a fun, exciting and educational experience and only through this process can you get the answer to your question...”how much does it cost?”.  

The Leelanau Log Home Company LLC