The Log Home Neighborhood

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Some 400 people graduated this spring from the Log Home University. They experienced a full-semester’s worth of knowledge in just one half-day session, held in cities from Minnesota to Florida.

At the university, bona-fide professors of logology lecture on the essentials of making a log home happen — the real nitty-gritty. One of the lessons is “Deciding on a Builder.” It identifies three ways your house might get built.

• A pro builds it. You hire a log-home builder to turn your design into a livable dream. The crew sees the work through from start to finish.

• You oversee the project. As the general contractor, you handle lot of responsibility and details, mostly organizing and managing. No tool skills are necessary, but you gain the satisfaction of making your home happen. Your biggest responsibility will be hiring a pro to build it.

• You oversee yourself building it. You handle all the general contractor and builder chores. It takes brain and brawn, but more so time, commitment and a thorough understanding of construction and log construction.

Labor accounts for up to 40 percent of the cost of a new home. Obviously, hiring other people to do all the work costs the most. Savings might be had by hiring less and doing more yourself, at least in theory.

The Log Home University lesson cautions that there are downsides to being your own general contractor and being an owner-builder. You might end up not saving as much as you expect or taking longer than you anticipate or making mistakes that waste time and money.

Let me interject my own test as to whether you can build your own log home from scratch for less scratch. Can you already build an ordinary house? If not, how do you expect to build a log home? Today’s log homes are as sophisticated as ordinary houses, plus they’re logs. You don’t put logs together with nail guns.

Anyway, that’s just a rough outline of “Deciding on a Builder,” which is just one of many lessons covered by the Log Home University. The fall semester kicks off in Dallas, followed by Denver. Find the full schedule and additional course information at

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