Log Homes and Foundations

Here in Minnesota, log homes can be built on any type of foundation: slab, crawl space or full basement. We get asked quite a bit about foundations and if one is better than the other. For the most part we build on full basements that are either eight or nine feet tall. Some of these basements may be walkouts while some may be look out style. A look out style basement is only partially in the ground, maybe only four feet or so. Sometimes soil conditions such as high water tables will dictate the depth of the footings. We have seen a lot of people opt for radiant heat under the basement floor slab. Some will rough it in while others will have it hooked up and running right away.

Others may opt for a crawl space which may be a total height of four or five feet inside. We treat a crawl space like a regular basement and pour a concrete slab for the floor, install drain tile and waterproof the foundation walls. Crawl spaces can be used for some storage and to house some of the utilities. We will run heat down there so the well tank and low boy water heaters can go there. The furnace can also be down there, usually suspended from the floor joists. Finished cost between crawl space and full basement aren’t too far apart.

Slab construction is another option. We see slabs used in higher water table situations were the risk of a wet basement runs higher. Also we see slabs used where the homeowners are downsizing and just don’t need the extra space. We still excavate to get the footings below the frost line for code and build a concrete wall up from there. Fill sand is then brought in, foam insulation is put down and the concrete slab is poured over the foam. Almost all of the homeowners that build on a slab have us install in-floor radiant heat before the floor is poured. In-floor heat along with the logs make for a very energy efficient home. In the winters here in Minnesota and Wisconsin it is tough to beat warm floors! We have also ran a lot of radiant heat under quite a few garage slabs as well. In northeastern Minnesota and over to the north shore of Lake Superior there a lot of ledge rock and very little topsoil in areas. In those areas sometimes the foundation may have to be pinned to the rock.

Which foundation is “better” may be dictated by the site conditions. Edlund Construction, as Minnesota log home builders, is here to help you through the process and will help determine items such as which basement is best for you.

Getting a log home built and the costs involved

In my last blog I talked a bit about log home packages and how they vary between log home companies. As said earlier, the package is only part of the costs. Going past the package, build costs include excavating and backfilling, foundation, drain tile and waterproofing to get started. Some homes built on a slope will require retaining walls but that is site specific and w are here to help you with that.  Past the foundation, the costs involved will be shell labor which will get the house up and dried in with the roof on, soffit and fascia completed and windows and exterior doors installed. Interior carpentry will be installation of T&G, trimming, setting doors and all other labor related items.  Mechanicals such as plumbing, HVAC and electrical then come in to play. Lighting fixtures can vary wide and far, we have seen each end of the spectrum! Personal tastes will dictate costs associated with both pluming and lighting fixtures. We can’t forget about insulating your log home. Here in Minnesota the winters can get cold! Fiberglass insulation is the norm but quite a few upgrade to a spray foam product such as Icynene. Spray foam insulation is a great product, it offers insulation and vapor barrier all in one product. Cabinetry, vanities and countertops are also part of the equation. We can help you with everything from a laminate top to granite. The same goes for flooring. A wide range of flooring can work with log homes. Many of the log homes here in Minnesota and Wisconsin that we build incorporate a mix of carpet, wood flooring and tile. Some log home enthusiasts still want some drywall in their home so drywall materials and labor need to be accounted for. Painting, staining and caulking is also part of the equation. Some of the homeowners we have worked with have opted to invest sweat equity and taken on those tasks themselves. If you don’t want to, no problem, we can take care of it for you. When we go through your plans we will go over all the above items and more to make sure items and costs are accounted for.

Other costs related to the project will be permit, driveway, culvert if needed, well and septic or city water and sewer hook up. Again, we have contacts for these items statewide and can arrange for it all to be taken care of so you don’t have to worry about it. Utilities such as power and phone also need to be figured into your log home budget. Power and phone are usually figured with a base price plus so much per foot to run to your site.

Edlund Construction is here to help you from beginning to end if you are building a log home in Minnesota or Wisconsin.  Don’t hesitate to call us or Wild River Log Homes early on in your log home research stage with questions.

Log Home Packages

Well…sooner or later spring may arrive for good. This cool and wet weather is getting old! Anyways, we get asked quite often on how to clarify and clear up confusing in comparing log home packages. The log home industry doesn’t have a standard “package” so it is up to you to figure out what is and what isn’t included in packages. No two log home companies offer the same inclusions. Some are log only, some may offer more items and call it a dried in shell which will usually include roofing, windows and exterior doors. A dried in shell should be a completed exterior along with all interior framing. Some offer interior materials such as knotty pine, doors, trim and other interior finishing items. Being there is such a broad range of packages, the price will range accordingly. Edlund Construction can help you sort it out and we will figure out what is and isn’t included. We have local sourced to make an incomplete log home package complete. Too many people spend too much time on package pricing and almost forget about the build costs and other factors such as driveway, well, septic and permits. We have seen some log home packages that appear very inexpensive up front but by the time we include the necessary materials the end costs on some of those have exceeded some packages that seemed more expensive earlier on in the process. We are here to help you sort it out and get a completed log home built for you on your lot. Feel free to contact us during your log home researching.

Log Homes and Outdoor Spaces

Log home and outdoor spaces go hand in hand being a majority of log homes are built in scenic settings. In planning, most log home enthusiasts want to bring as much of the outdoors into their log home. The other side of that is outdoor space ranging from decks, porches, patios and outdoor kitchens. Uncovered decks make for great areas to take in your surroundings and relax while at your log home. Keep in mind that the deck is part of your home and needs to be accounted for in house placement so lot setbacks are followed. If the setback is 75′ from the lake that means the front of your deck will be at that 75′ point. The same for side boundaries. Some of the lake lots here in Minnesota are rather narrow and don’t leave a lot of room for decks to the side. In many cases we have built a 4′ or 6′ wide walkway from the side patio door to get to the deck on the lake side of the home. Log railings look great on a deck but can obstruct the view at times. We have replaced the log spindles with 3/4″ metal spindles to offer more viewing through the railing. Covered porches we see a lot of. They allow you to be outside on a day even when it is raining. Or, they provide plenty of shade if someone wants to be outside but not in the sun. Many of the homeowners we have built for wouldn’t be without their porch! The next step up from there is screening in that covered porch. As we all know, Minnesota has plenty of resident mosquitoes so we can screen that porch in on the sides and also put screen over the joists and under the deck boards so the bugs can’t come up from below. A screen porch expands the time spent outside considerably at certain times of the year. In planning your porch, think about furniture layout so it doesn’t end up being a cramped space. 10′ deep seems to be a good average that affords space and isn’t a budget breaker. Some will go on and end up doing a three season or four season porch as well. Three season porches usually are uninsulated and utilize storm windows rather than an all-season window. For supplemental heat some will install a small wood burning fireplace. Picture a fall day sitting in your rustic knotty pine porch with a fire crackling away! It is tough to beat to say the least.

Beyond decks and porches it seems more and more people are utilizing patios. Patios can be built with paving blocks or concrete. When concrete is being used we have seen many go with the decorative look and go with stamped patterns and colored. These are usually built to incorporate a fire pit so you can enjoy those campfires and smores. Patios are nice being they offer a level surface for lawn chairs and keep everyone out of the sand and dirt. Outdoor kitchens get asked about quite a bit lately as well. It seems people want to be outdoors here in the upper midwest as much as possible. Outdoor kitchens offer a great way to cook and entertain outside where everyone is at during the summer months while at the lake.

From the log home to your deck, porches and patios Edlund Construction can help you with it all.

Minnesota Log Cabins

Here in Minnesota log cabins are a way of life for many of us. Some of these log cabins have been passed down through generations and many fond memories can be recalled from past years from time spent up north “at the lake”.  We hear quite a bit from people that flip through various log home magazines and see large and luxurious log homes but get a bit frustrated because they are looking for something smaller, affordable and a bit more cozy. We get asked quite often if we can help design and build a log cabin. The answer to that is YES! Over the years Edlund Construction has built many log cabins. Some have been single level cabins less than 800 sq. ft. while others may be lofted with square footage in the 1000 to 1200 area. Some of our past customers have used them for seasonal and recreational cabins while some have downsized from their former home in the cities and opted for a simpler and cozier home at the lake or in a rural setting. We can walk you through the planning stages of your cabin to keep it on your budget. In the last year or so we are seeing increased interest in smaller cabins again. They are quicker to build, easier on the budget for heating and cooling and a few upgrades can easily be incorporated without breaking the bank. One upgrade we do suggest is spray foam insulation. It is a great way to insulate your log cabin and will pay off in reduced energy costs.  Even though the footprint may be a bit smaller views can still be taken in and the home built to fit its setting.

As some of those cabins we grew up in are aging many are making the decision to do some upgrades with a remodel project or tear it down and build a new log cabin in its place. We can help with both options and have been involved in many similar projects over the years. Some have even saved some elements from the old cabin and incorporated them into the new cabin. We think that is a great idea! For more information give us a call or email us for more information.

Full Log or Half Log

We have been asked many times over the years if full log is better or half log is better. We can only tell you the ins and outs of each and let you decide which one is right for you. Both are energy efficient and look great when they are completed.  For the ones that love the rustic log exterior but don’t need any or much interior log then half log may be the way to go.  The interior can be finished off with knotty pine with some adding drywall for some color to the home. Eight and ten inch logs are the most popular that we see. The budget question also comes up. Which one is less expensive to build. Again, that is an answer you will help decide. As you are planning your log home, picture yourself inside the house looking at your interior walls. What do you see? If you want interior log on the inside of all your perimeter walls then full log will probably save a big on your budget.  If you don’t want any interior log or maybe just on a wall in the great room then half log construction will save you some money.  To frame a wall, add the exterior log, insulate it and then add the interior log throughout the home will usually exceed the cost of full log in both materials and labor. At that point, consider going with full log construction if the company you are working with offers it. If the term “settling” makes you a bit nervous then that is another reason to lean towards half log. To learn more about packages and log profiles you can head over to Wild River Log Homes. Most milled log home companies will offer both half log and full log options. Stack heights can be anywhere from 6 inches to 12 inches or more. Full log profiles will be “D” log which will be flat on the inside and round on the exterior. Some logs are square and some will be double round which are round on the exterior and interior. You usually will have the option of smooth or peeled. Quite a few opt for the peeled look for the more rustic appearance. We’ll leave the choice up to you but feel free to call or email Edlund Construction if you have any questions.

Minnesota Log Home Restoration

Edlund Construction has been busy with a fire restoration project. It is a full log home that was built about 10 years ago that had a chimney fire. It has been a unique project to be part of and will soon have the new rafters up and the roof sheeted. This log home showed how resistant to fire a full log home really is. Speaking of log home restoration, we do offer our log home builder services for restoration projects throughout Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. From replacing an entire wall to just replace a log or two we can help you out and get your log home back in shape. With spring on its way in and summer soon to follow now is the time to start thinking about the project you want done. Give us a call or go to our website for more information on Minnesota log home builders.

Minnesota Log Home Builders

Thanks for taking the time to check out our blog page. You may not believe it but this winter is on its way out. With spring soon to arrive now is the time to think about your spring log home project. For new log home construction, time needs to be allowed for plans to be drawn, bids to be gathered, plan modifications, material ordering and permits to be pulled among other items. Many people here in Minnesota and Wisconsin already have log homes or have bought one with a few years on it. We can help you remodel or restore that log home as well. We have been Minnesota log home builders for over twelve years and build both full log and half log homes. Thanks again for stopping and check back soon.