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What's the real story ... full log homes or log sided homes.

I guess I just don't get it. Ever since I got interested in building a log home I was told that a true log home is going to cost me close to 30% more than a conventional stick framed log home. Being a purist at heart I spoke with a number of log home manufacturers as well as builders who assured me that I was doing the right thing in looking at a true log home, delineating the plethora of reasons for a log home. None of which was that log frame house is actually MORE expensive to build. Not knowing this I contacted a highly reputable builder in Waynwsville, NC, telling him that I was working on a very tight budget and had to change my plans from full log to log siding. He was the first one to tell me that it was more expensive to go the siding route. His estimate to me was $10,000 higher for the stick frame/ siding job.

Am I the first hick not to know that or can some of my neighborhood friends put some additional light on the subject.


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Ted - When the builder quoted you on that, what interior finish was he assuming? Tongue & Groove, Half-log interior (which is more expensive) or dry wall (least expensive?) Some people do a mix.
All good questions Shelly. At this stage he was giving me ballpark numbers. I really don't know what he was thinking about finishing the interior. I gave him a set of drawings that I had prepared but to be completely honest, I don't know if he ever looked at them except to come up with an approximate square foot size for the house.

I don't even know as to how much of the house will be t&g vs. drywall.


You should seek a second opinion and talk to a builder who is set up to do either. In my opinion and experience, if you have a log siding on both inside and out everywhere, you might as well use solid log. You'll either pay a manufacturer for logs and installation, or a framer and finish carpenter for labor. If you are a purist, the corners on a siding job are noticeable. If you want to mix up siding or interior finishes (stone, drywall, wood siding, etc.), the half log or log veneer siding is way to go. If finish look is similar, there won't be enough money to make a difference.

The roof system and complexity drives the cost moreso than wall type. Soaring cathedral ceilings with dormers and exposed timbers are awesome. But cost much more than flat ceilings with truss roof construction. You can mix it up and put the bells and whistles in the areas needed and scale back in others. New energy code adopted in NC requires R-38 roof in the Waynesville area. Let me know if you need a great builder there.

Chris Wood, Hearthstone, Inc.
Thanks for the advise Chris. I certainly would appreciate another builder referral. Getting these guys to give you some straight answers is virtually impossible.

I have already taken some of your advise to heart in the design of the house. For example, I am only using large, exposed beams in those parts of the house where they will be visible, ie, where you can see from the great room up into the ceiling in the loft area. In most of the other areas, where the ceilings are lower, I will use smaller joists that can be covered with either drywall or t&g. I hope this is clear.

Again thanks for taking the time to get back to me.

Chris has excellent advice! On our home, it was more economical and preferable to have the full log. However, on the advice of our builder - on the lake side view we put in a half-log wall (with half log on the interior) because of all the series of windows on this wall (exposed to the ceiling) and this side being the recipient of all the cold weather that was going to blow in off the lake.
Very interesting Chris. I never considered doing a combination of the two methods. Is this what you would call a Hybrid?

Ted: If you want to speak with a 30-year builder in the Waynesville, NC area with experience in log home construction call Gary Cochran (Cochran Enterprises) @ 828-734-7752. Good luck with your log (or sided) home. Cheers - Donald
Thanks for the lead Don. I plan to be back up to Waynesville sometime in September and if time permits I'll give Gary a call. As I said I'm still looking for a builder who can give me straight answers. Very difficult.


We are in a different area than you so numbers are used to illustrate my point only. "Log" is one of those words like "aviation" that when you apply it to something, the price goes up! For instance the square foot cost to frame a stick built house start in the $5 range. Log stackers are still trying to get $15 per foot for a job which is about one third more labor at the most. A half log house is really a stick built home with expensive siding. If you are going that route -- go to a good stick builder and you will save money. There is no need to buy a log home "package" in that case. I say that as a builder/ dealer for a national log home company and as one of the few builders (in our area) that does both log and stick built.


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