Eleven Extra Considerations Before Building A Log Cabin

May 26, 2017

Building your own custom log cabin can be an extremely fulfilling and beautifully adventurous experience if all factors are taken into consideration and you wind up with a finished product that you are satisfied with. However, it can also be a huge hassle if you are not properly prepared for the task at hand. There are so many things that need to be covered when you are building an inhabitable cabin, from plumbing and electricity to laying the foundation and designing the interior. With the project requiring such a diverse range of efforts, it is no wonder that most people let the appropriate laborers help with the hard parts. However, aside from the actual construction of the cabin, it is important to also think about miscellaneous things that will affect its livability and comfort for years to come. For starters, ponder the following eleven extra considerations that every cabin owner should be aware of:

1. Water Filtration

Although, using a personal water filter that only filters a small amount of water at a time could work, it would not be nearly as efficient as a whole house filter. Ideally, you will want the water to pass through several filter systems before it reaches your cup or pot — one where the water comes from the well to the home (whole house filter) and another at the tap itself (an on-the-tap or personal filter) or within the refrigerator (many refrigerators have built-in water dispensers with integrated filter systems). Thus, the first extra consideration would be deciding which whole house water filter system best matches your cabin’s specifications (see www.waterfilteranswers.com for more info on that).

2. Positioning And Sunny Areas

The position of your cabin on the piece of land it is built on, will also play a role in how much you will be able to enjoy the property, as well as overall ease of accessibility. You want to think about whether you will be planting a garden and whether you would like to eventually construct a lean-on greenhouse against the side of the cabin. If so, you will want to face that side of the cabin towards the area that has maximum exposure to sunlight. This is an important preliminary aspect to consider when you are choosing a spot for the cabin’s foundation. It is often necessary to take down a few trees in order to clear a space sufficient for the cabin and its yard and garden areas.

3. Energy Source

Now that you have water and space figured out, it is time to think about where you will be getting electricity in the long-term. Many plots of land have access to utilities at the road, so then it is just a matter of paying an electrician to wire the power to the cabin and setting up an account with the utility company. However, with solar power being a viable renewable option it may be best to invest in that if you have the budget for it, as it would not only eliminate your power bill, but also allow you to produce a surplus which could then be routed into the grid to generate passive income for you in the form of a monthly check from the local power company.

4. Space For External Structures

Just as it is important to select and clear a space for the cabin itself and a yard and/or garden area, it is also a good idea to consider if you will be adding any storage buildings, barns, garages, or shops later on. You will not only need to account for the space these buildings will take up, but also how you will access them via the driveway.

5. Distance To Water Or Cost Of Drilling A Well

Many plots of land will have access to water on site or at the road, so then it is just a matter of paying a plumbing company to route the pipes to your cabin and set up an account with the local water company. The cost of doing this will depend primarily on how far the cabin is from the water source. However, in other cases you may have to pay a high price to have a well drilled by professionals. Of course, then there would be the cost of having the water tested to make sure your well is producing drinkable and potable water, but you also get the benefit of a continual water supply that you own the rights to.

6. Interior Materials

Now that you have water, space, and energy sorted out, it is time to start thinking about what the interior will look like. There are so many interior design options nowadays that it is really only a matter of personal preference. Still, there are certain combinations and components that will consistently look good inside a log cabin, such as wood-themed flooring and cabinetry. White tile in the bathrooms and kitchen are also common choices, as are fancy wallpaper liners, fireplaces, sunken dens, and winding staircases.

7. Number Of Bedrooms And Square Footage

The square footage and number of bedrooms the cabin has will not only affect the cost of construction, it will also determine the price you will be able to sell the cabin for if you eventually decide to put it on the market. On the other hand, opting for fewer bedrooms can save a great deal of money in the short-term, while still giving you sufficient space in the long-term. Thus, do not feel pressured to go for a huge two-story cabin and instead consider going for the humble single-level 2-bedroom. Big cabins are nice, but if you do not foresee the need for all that extra space, then it might be best to save that money for other uses unless you have a very liberal building budget.

8. Road Access And Cost Of Paving A Driveway

Getting to your cabin is an additional concern. Blazing a makeshift driveway to the cabin will be easy and doable for hardier vehicles with 4-wheel drive like trucks and SUVs. However, eventually you will probably want to have a paved driveway and/or detached garage. Even if you do not plan on paving the driveway today or even next week, it is a good idea to consult with a specialist, collect a few quotes to estimate how much it will cost in the future and select the most cost-effective path based on professional input.

9. Receiving Mail

In most cases, you will have to do some paperwork with the county to have your cabin set up as an official address and to have your own mailbox. Until then, you will have to use either a P.O. box, virtual office mailing address, or an alternate address where you can receive mail. In some cases, it may be very difficult or there may be fees involved in having your own mailbox and address established. These are things you should speak to the appropriate authorities about before purchasing and developing the land where your cabin is being built.

10. Internet And Phone Access And Coverage

Just because you are building a rustic cabin in the middle of the woods, does not mean you want to permanently barricade yourself from all the conveniences of modern technology like internet, cable, and phone. You will undoubtedly miss these services in your life and will want access to them, so you might as well make sure they will be available and get some quotes on how much it will cost to establish access in your area. Luckily, even in highly remote areas you should be able to get internet using a satellite dish in a worst case scenario.

11. Type Of Wood Used To Build Cabin

Finally, do not forget to consider the main kinds of woods used to build cabins and choose one according to your project needs and personal preference. Each type of wood has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to conduct a thorough comparison beforehand. The main types of wood used to build log cabins in America are: Pine, Cypress, Spruce, Hemlock, Oak, Poplar, Walnut, and Cedars. In Europe, Spruce and Pine are the most common.

It Does Not All Have To Be Done At Once

When you add up the money and time it will take to achieve all of the above it can be quite intimidating from a budgeting standpoint. However, despite these complexities you really do not have to worry about them all at once, so it should be easy to cross the bridges as you approach them rather than stressing too much about it now. Furthermore, dedicating your full focus on something when the time comes is much better than sporadically focusing on it as time passes.

Plus, most of these are either luxuries or one-time expenses that you will not have to pay too much attention to once you have paid for them. For example, after you have installed a solar setup and you know how to use it, the maintenance is very straightforward and low-cost. For the most part, as long as you have your planning and have an adequate budget, you should find the process of building your first cabin to be an enjoyable and memorable learning experience.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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