Top 5 DIY Home Builder Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

So you’re thinking about building your own dream home or cabin yourself! Every year we talk to a handful of people who want to build their home themselves and ask us for a bit of advice. We love seeing people take on these projects and the pride that comes with building it; however, we have also seen the other side—Projects that go way off-budget and over time and dreams that quickly get shattered and never completed. So we want to help you avoid those pitfalls and discuss some of the problems and considerations you may want to contemplate before taking on this project.

# 1 How much will a DIY project really cost?

We understand wanting to build your dream home yourself, especially if it can save you a bit of money. We’ve talked to some people that think they can save 10k, 20k and even 100k if they do it themselves. You will definitely have some savings when you take it on yourself but there are other expenses that you may not think about initially.

  • Cost of wood and timber
  • Peeling, drying and treating the logs
  • Crane rental
  • Bobcat rental
  • Transportation of logs
  • Gravel, rocks, dirt and concrete
  • Chainsaw and other tools
  • Permits
  • Hired help to assist with building

#2 Quality control

When it comes to building a log home, it’s only as good as the materials you build with. If you are fortunate to live in a location with old growth cedar trees you are in luck. If not you may have to source your wood from another location. This can be very tricky. You want to make sure your wood has been taken care of and is going to be in good shape so it won’t twist or split as it dries or after a few years when the house settles. Spend some time researching where you are buying your wood and look into how long the wood has been cut, and how it’s been stored and looked after.

Secondly, once you have selected your logs you will want to make sure you have a dry covered area to allow your logs to dry and begin peeling and preparing them. This can be a timely task, and depending on where you are located you may be up against Mother Nature to complete this before the weather turns.

Because ensuring your logs are perfect for building is such an important element, we will normally help clients who want to build themselves source logs, store and peel them. This may be something you want to consider for peace of mind.

#3 Timelines

If you have ever done any projects around the home, you know that it almost always tends to cost more and take longer than expected. Building a home is no exception.

Again, depending on where you live, Mother Nature may or may not play a huge factor in your building timeline. If frost is a factor, you will want to make sure you have your foundation completed before the ground is too hard; and if it snows, make sure your home has the roof on and is close to the lockup stage before the winter weather hits.

Having a realistic timeline is important not only to ensure Mother Nature doesn’t surprise you but also for the machines and tools you will need. If you have to rent cranes and bobcats, leave yourself a couple of extra days or weeks in case projects go overtime. It’s not fun trying to lift log beams up to a second or third story by hand. Trust us!!

#4 Joinery and drafts

There is nothing worse than sitting in your living room and feeling a constant draft. One of the most intricate parts of log home building is ensuring the shell of your home can resist the harsh weather that comes with each season. Picking the right logs and joining logs correctly will help you avoid drafts. If you are building a full scribe home this is even more important as over time the house will begin to settle and require some minor adjustments to avoid logs turning and creating gaps in your home.

#5 Windows, doors, plumbing and electrical

Depending on whether you are building a timber frame, post & beam, full scribe home or log cabin, the installation of windows, doors, plumbing and electrical may be different.

A full scribe home and log cabin may not allow for drywall and so piping and electrical will need to follow a different design compared to typical homes. It’s important to source contractors that have worked with log structures in the past to make sure the work is done right the first time.

So there you have it, 5 things to consider when building your log home or cabin yourself. It’s always a good idea to speak with professionals for advice and opinions. If you are considering your own do-it-yourself project, don’t hesitate to contact us—we are happy to lend a hand or advise where we can.

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