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How Log Cabin Kits Work

Advantages of Building with Log Cabin Kits

According to the Log Home Builders Association, a log cabin is either "the best (and least expensive) home in the world or . . . the worst (and most expensive) home in the world" [source: LHBA]. First, let's look at what makes log cabins so attractive.

One of the chief appeals of building a log cabin is just that -- building your own home. In a world of mass production and McMansions, few people ever get to experience something that was commonplace only a few generations ago. If you do it right, the cabin is a legacy.

Working from a kit lets you accomplish that within a manageable framework, even if you're not a master builder. You'll have access to a customer-service line in case you make a mistake. If you have a basic set of tools -- a ladder, a hammer, a power drill -- you may already have most of the equipment you need [source: Panel Concepts].

The absence of heavy equipment means you may be able to construct your cabin with minimum impact to surrounding trees and wildlife. And, on the subject of ecology, it's worth mentioning that log walls have better heat retention than many other building materials [sources: Log Cabin Homes, Lincoln Log Homes]. Many dealers are green certified, and some engage in extensive reforestation efforts. Kits can include options such as wood stoves, solar panels and composting toilets that help you live off the grid in comfort.

Adaptability is a major advantage of log cabin kits. A cabin might be no larger than a spacious studio apartment, taking up only 500 square feet (46.5 sq m) of ground; it can turn a small or odd-shaped lot into a perfectly usable piece of ground.

A kit can also ensure that your construction passes muster with the building code. You'll know that the kit's floor plan and engineering are relatively sound, and its doors, windows and roof will have to meet certain specifications.

Price can also be appealing -- but this depends very much on the size and floor plan, which materials and method you use and how much upkeep the cabin requires. Some kinds of log cabins might be as little as $7,500 [source: LHBA]. Others cost the same as conventional houses. Labor is a major factor; if you build the cabin yourself, you don't have to pay anyone else to do it [source: Lincoln Log Homes].

A home for $7,500? Why would anyone choose not to use a kit? Read on -- then make your own decision.