How much do log & timber frame homes cost? (Price/Cost Comparison)

Welcome! We understand that you have probably been dreaming about building a log home for a few years. There are a lot of options and decisions that are involved in designing and building your log home. One of the most common questions we are asked is, “How much does it cost to build a log home.”

There are a few things you need to consider when researching the cost of building a log home:

  • Determining the type log home: full scribe, timber frame or post and beam
  • The initial cost to build a log home structure
  • The cost for finishing your log home (site prep and foundation, interior finishes, local trades etc.)
  • The lifetime and maintenance cost of your log home

Since there are so many factors that you need to consider we’ve put together a free budget worksheet to help you break down all of the costs that go into building so you can properly plan and budget. This worksheet lists all of the potential costs that you may incur when building. As well, we’ve included a sample budget of one our most popular designs to help give you a rough estimate.

Let’s compare the initial price to build a full scribe, timber frame and post and beam log home.

Can You Afford to Build a Log Home?

Many people when thinking of building a home don’t take into consideration all of the costs (some upfront and some hidden) that go into the process. As such, we have noticed a number of people commenting on some of our log home designs saying “we wish we could afford this”.

After connecting with them and providing some more information, they soon realize that building a log home may not be as expensive as they first thought. Just like anything else you spend money on, you can go all out and build a multi-million dollar home; but you can also build a log or Timber Frame home for a cost similar to a conventional home.
Over the past couple of years the “West Coast” and Timber Frame style of home has become more and more popular, creating a hybrid between modern home designs and traditional log homes.

Don’t forget about a building permit

We know how exciting it is to start building a home and figuring out what type and the costs. But in order to get ahead and do things the right way, certain paperwork needs to be in order first.

A building permit is essentially a document that is required for any type of construction or alteration to a structure. It helps ensure that the construction project meets local building regulations and helps protect the public from potential safety risks, including you, as the property owner from potential legal liability. A building permit is a necessary step for any type of construction project.

For more information check out this article where we give you more details on building permits, what they are and which you might need to have.

Determining Your Log Home Style: Full Scribe, Timber Frame or Post and Beam

No longer is a log home seen as being a small dark cabin in the back of the woods. Today, log homes have evolved to have as much or as little timber in the design as you want. Generally, the three main styles of log homes are:

Full Scribe: The traditional style of log homes. Built using horizontal logs stacked on top of one another and interlocked at the corners by notching.

Post & beam: Consists of many round vertical logs that carry large horizontal logs on top. Traditional or log framing may be used.

Timber Frame: Similar to post and beam, one of the main differences between a timber frame and post and beam is that timber frame uses square timbers compared to a post and beam using round timbers.

Each style of log and timber home has its own unique style, advantages, and disadvantages. If you would like a complete break-down comparison check out our article on “ What are the differences between a full scribe, post and beam and timber frame”.

Selecting Your Timber

The type of timber and the diameter of your wood can play a huge factor in the cost of your project as well. Western Red Cedar is the most sought after type of timber because it is the most decay- and insect-resistant type of wood. Western Red Cedar is mainly found on the west coast of British Columbia so it is considered a premium timber. Douglas Fir is a longtime favorite type of timber used in conventional homes and by many engineers.

Full Scribe vs Timber Frame vs Post and Beam Cost/Price Comparison

Full Scribe Log Home Costs

A full scribe log home can include any or all of the following:

  • Log home shell and delivery to your property.
  • Reassembly on the foundation.
  • Interior stairs, railings, windows.
  • Exterior door and cladding installation.
  • All engineered hardware.
  • All hidden gasketing for reassembly.
  • Labor for at least 2 of Artisan’s skilled builders to help in the reassembly.

The client or general contractor will take it from there with roofing ready to be installed within days.

The average price of a full scribe log shell tends to be more expensive than a timber frame and post and beam log shells with an average cost of $90 Cad – $130 Cad per square foot. This equates to a 2,000 sq. foot 3-bedroom log home costing between $180,000 Cad and $260,000 Canadian, with another $340 – $405 per sq.ft being spent to completely finish the home.

Many clients recently have been building large flared Western Red Cedar log homes which can increase the average cost to $120 – $180 per square foot for log home shell.

As a general rule, the log work for a full scribe log shell is approximately 1/3 of the overall cost to build and is the most expensive of the three types due to the labor and complexity of the build.

Post and Beam Log Home Costs

A typical post and beam shell can include any or all of the following:

  • The post and beam structure.
  • Reassembly on location.
  • Interior stairs and railings.
  • Pre-framed exterior wall and roof panels.
  • Windows and doors.
  • All engineered hardware.
  • All hidden gasketing for reassembly.
  • Labor for at least 2 of Artisan’s skilled builders to help in the reassembly.

When comparing cost, a post and beam log shell will be less expensive than a full scribe log shell depending on design and personal style. Costs per square foot for a post and beam log shell will typically be $65 Cad per square foot up to $95 Cad per square foot.

Timber Frame Log Home Costs

Typically the least expensive of the three options is timber frame because timber frame homes have timbers only in the interior of the home with less exterior timbers exposed. Again cost depends on the complexity, size, design, and type of timber used.

Just as described with all Artisan log homes, a typical timber frame shell will include:

  • The timber frame structure.
  • Reassembly on location.
  • Interior stairs and railings.
  • Pre-framed exterior wall and roof panels.
  • Windows and doors.
  • All engineered hardware.
  • All hidden gasketing for reassembly.
  • Labor for at least 2 of Artisan’s skilled builders to help in the reassembly.

The average cost of a timber frame shell will range between $70 per square foot and $95 per square foot.

Note: Depending on the type of timber you decide to use for a post and beam and timber frame it can affect the cost of your build. Check out our article on “What are the best logs to build my log home with”

Average Log Home Finishing Costs

Finishing costs include site preparation, foundation, interior finishes, local trades etc.

It’s important to remember that your log home structure will not include all of the finishing needed to make your house a home. Finishing items will include site preparation and foundation, interior finishes, local trades and other details.

So with this in mind let’s touch on some of the finishing costs that apply to full scribe log homes, post & beam and timber frame.

Full Scribe Log Home Finishing Costs

As previously discussed a full scribe log home is the most expensive of the designs to build and may also be the most expensive when it comes to finishing costs. Because the walls are made of logs and don’t have gyprock or insulation, electricians, plumbers and other trades will be required to use special techniques to finish your home.

Additional costs may apply to cabinetry and shelving to ensure they will remain level after the structure fully settles.

Don’t worry, Artisan will provide you with a very compressive “how to” finish your log home manual.

To learn more about “Log Home Settling”, visit our article here.

Post and Beam and Timber Frame Log Home Finishing Costs

The finishing costs for post and beam and timber frame log homes are very similar. Due to their hybrid design between a traditional log home and modern home, many of the walls will be framed allowing for several options for cabinetry and easy access for electricians, plumbers and trades.

Log Home Lifetime and Maintenance Cost

Log homes, when designed properly, can last for 100’s of years. During a visit to Estonia where one of Artisan’s owners, Josh, taught a log building course in 2013, he toured some log buildings dating back to the 18th century!

  • Re-stain Logs – It’s recommended that your log home, no matter which style, is lightly sanded and re-stained every 4-5 years.
  • Washing Logs – We highly recommend you wash the exterior of your log or timber home every Spring. This ensures that dust and mold spores don’t have a chance to embed themselves into the wood.
  • Caulking – Artisan takes a lot of pride in building our homes so they will never need any calking or chinking. By utilizing hidden gaskets we can assure you that your new home will stay weather-tight and energy efficient for generations to enjoy.
  • Adjusting logs for settling – This only pertains to Full Scribe log homes. During the first 3-4 years of living in your log home, you will have to monitor and adjust your log home as needed. We will provide you with the tools and knowledge necessary to do this properly

To Sum it All Up

Approximate cost per square foot for log and timber shells

  • Full Scribe Shell $90 – $130 per square foot
  • Post and Beam Shell $70 – $95
  • Timber Frame Shell $70 – $95

Approximate Cost for log and timber turn key including our log or timber shell pricing (move-in ready)

  • Full Scribe $340 – $405 per square foot
  • Post and Beam $330 – $400
  • Timber Frame $330 – $400

*Depending on the type of timber you wish to build with or the character of wood costs may differ.

Regardless as to whether you are building a full scribe log home, timber frame log home or post, and beam, there are three things that determine the cost of a log home: the size of your log home, the type of timber being used and the cost to deliver your home to your destination. We will work with you through this planning and design stage to help you build your dream home within your budget.

Don’t forget to download our free building budget to help you plan for your log home.

For a more in-depth explanation or to receive your own quote for a full scribe log home, post and beam or timber frame home email us

If you would like to browse some of our featured homes, visit our plans and galleries here.

If you would still like to know a bit more about log homes, check out some of these articles:

Have Questions?

Contact us and we’ll be happy to explore your options