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How much does a log cabin cost?

Thousands of people dream of having a hideaway retreat in the woods and a place to escape technology and make the most of their quality time. If you're thinking about building your own den, the average log cabin cost is around £5,000 to £18,000, depending on your new construction's size, structure, and usage.

You can build a cosy log cabin in your own garden, erect a holiday home, or create a unique space for your family to relax. Here we'll explain some of the primary cost factors and all the questions to consider before you start planning your log cabin project.

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How To Work Out Your Log Cabin Cost

There are two main types of log cabin - and the type you wish to build will be the primary cost factor.

  • A garden log cabin will usually cost from around £5,000 to £18,000 on average. That includes cabin prices from £4,000 to £15,000 depending on the timber and size and between £1,000 and £3,000 for the labour costs.
  • Building a log cabin home will be substantially higher. If you want to construct a holiday property or guest accommodation as part of a business plan, your budget will be between £30,000 for a one-bedroom property. That rises to £100,000 for a sizable five-bedroom log cabin with all the home comforts.

For larger log cabin builds, the pricing depends on the size - budgets vary between £1,100 and £1,200 per square metre as a rough guide.

If you purchase a log cabin kit and pay a professional to erect this for you, you might expect to pay from £30,000 to £80,000 for the materials, ranging from a small one-bedroom property to a four-bedroom log cabin with a bathroom and a WC downstairs.

Bespoke log cabin builds of a large size can cost around £100,000, although constructing a family cabin home remains much cheaper than building or buying a traditional bricks and mortar property.

Groundwork is also a key price element, and preparing the site or laying a concrete foundation will incur costs for the materials and labour required. If there are any mains pipes underneath the site build, these may need to be moved before work can begin, which is a specialist job.

The below table shows a breakdown of the average costs for each element of a log cabin construction, based on a fully insulated, standalone property:

Log cabin job Average UK prices
Foundations and base work £1,000 - £3,000
Building the base and veranda £500 - £1,000
Insulating the roof £600 - £1,000
Insulating the floor £600 - £800
Wall insulation £300 - £600
Roof tiles (shingle) £300 - £600
Roof tiles (rubber slate) £300 - £600
Electrical wiring £500 - £1,000

Any additional aspects you choose will add to that cost - including bathrooms, covered terraces, balconies and decking.

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Other Cost Factors in Building a Log Cabin

There are a few other considerations that might make a big difference to your log cabin cost, and it's vital to ensure you have a firm grasp of all of the costs:

  • Do you own the land the cabin is being built on, or do you need to account for ground rent, lease charges or service fees on a purpose-built site?
  • Are you required to apply for planning permission, and is there a party wall consideration that will require a professional surveyor?
  • How do you want to kit out the log cabin, and what sort of utilities and fixtures do you want to install?

If you're building a smaller log cabin in your garden, perhaps to use as a home office or workspace, you will still need to assess whether you need planning permission.

Most log cabins fall under Permitted Development rules, so you won't need approval - although this depends on where the cabin is located, how large it is, and how much of your garden space it takes up.

Log cabins exempted from planning permission must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be one storey high.
  • Eaves cannot be over 2.5 metres tall.
  • The maximum pitch of the cabin cannot be over four metres for a dual pitch.
  • Other roofing types must not exceed three metres.
  • It cannot be over 2.5 metres if within two metres of a boundary.

If you're unsure whether planning permission applies, it's best to contact your local authority for guidance.

Party wall agreements are another consideration - if the cabin is close to a neighbouring property, you might need an agreement even if you can build under Permitted Development rights. That means notifying your neighbour of your planned works and seeking their consent to go ahead.

Should a neighbour object, you may need to pay for two surveyors' costs, one representing each property, to reach an agreement and issue a Party Wall Award.

Note that most log cabins of a smaller size won't require extensive excavation works, but larger cabins with significant foundations might - and if you are digging near a boundary, you will almost always need an agreement.

You may also need to hire other contractors to carry out essential works, such as:

  • Drain Surveys to check the stability of drainage needing to be moved under the building area.
  • A Plumbing Callout to install taps, sinks, bathrooms and kitchen appliances.
  • Tradespeople to help with decorating and heating, such as Moving a Radiator or running electrical wires to your new log cabin.

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Breaking Down a Log Cabin Cost Quotation

If you buy a log cabin in a prefabricated pack or as a model kit for assembly, the supplier will include most of the components and parts. However, constructing a log cabin can require multiple tradespeople and materials.

Examples include:

  • Support posts to be drilled into the floor
  • Rafter boards for pitched roofs
  • Lag bolts to secure the outer joists
  • Floor joists and insulation
  • Siding boards, soffits and fascias
  • Studding for the doors and windows
  • Glazing, doors and locks
  • Gable ends at each side
  • Finishing - flooring, furnishings, decking, turf, electrics, plumbing etc.

Most quotes will provide a full breakdown, so you can see what is and isn’t included. The main categories will be labour, materials, and waste removal.

If your log cabin is coming fully finished, you will also need to check the quote includes:

  • Stains or finishes or pre-treated timbers - a wood preservative is essential and should be applied no more than seven days after the construction.
  • A concrete base if required - depending on the size of the cabin, the location, and what type of soil or floor is in place underneath the area.
  • Fitting of drainage and guttering - log cabins should be fitted with suitable guttering to ensure water doesn't collect on the roof.

How Can I Choose the Best Log Cabin Supplier?

Your log cabin cost can vary significantly. You could be buying a prefabricated model or having carpentry and joinery work bespoke to your requirements - hence the differences between the average minimum and maximum prices.

Whichever option you choose, having a reputable contractor or supplier is essential. Here are some of the key questions we'd recommend you ask any tradesperson before you put down a deposit:

  • Is the tradesperson or business well-established? Can they show me examples of previous work or other log cabin projects that have been successfully completed?
  • Do they have a good reputation? Can you check reviews online or read customer testimonials to evidence the quality of their work?
  • Are they able to customise or build a bespoke log cabin, or is there a decent range of options to choose from that suit your requirements?
  • How much say can you have in the finishes and fixtures? That might be choosing the wood preservative or finish, the type of timbers, layout or decor.
  • Does the quote include all of the base work and installation - or will you need to hire additional contractors for any element of the build?
  • Can they fit utilities, such as air conditioning, heating, roofing, electricals and insulation?
  • Are they able to provide guidance around planning permission or building regulations requirements?
  • Can you visit any previous projects in person to inspect the quality of the log cabins?

There is a lot to think about. Still, you will ensure your budget is invested wisely in a log cabin built to last that will add aesthetic value to your home by choosing a skilled professional.

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FAQs - Costs to Build a Log Cabin

Let's run through some of the most commonly asked questions about the process of building and budgeting for a log cabin!

Do I Need a Special Base or Foundation for a Log Cabin?

You will certainly need a base that is level and can support the stability of your log cabin construction. Most log cabins are built on poured concrete foundations or a paving slab as a cheaper but less robust option.

Log cabin bases need to be square and flat to ensure the construction on top is stable and all the floors, doors, ceilings, and roofing are level.

Paving slabs can be used for smaller garden log cabin projects but should always be at least the log cabin floor size.

Can I Insulate a Log Cabin Construction?

Yes, if you plan to use a log cabin to sleep in or work from, you'll want to ensure this is correctly insulated, so it remains a comfortable space.

You can add insulation to the walls, floor and roof, with a range of options and insulation materials to choose from. A contractor will recommend the most suitable insulation depending on the log cabin's location, its intended usage, and the timber frame.

If you install insulation through the floor and roof, you will be able to use the log cabin all year round, whereas a non-insulated log cabin is only suitable for summer use.

Can I Run Electricity Cables to a Log Cabin?

Most log cabins will have an electricity supply, and this is vital if you are building a holiday home, rental property or place to work from. Wiring can power lights, plug sockets and power outlets to ensure you have all the same comforts as in your primary home.

Note that you should never attempt electrical work yourself, and wiring should always be carried out by a qualified electrician in compliance with IEE standards and BS regulations.

You can also have a  plumber run mains piping to the log cabin for sinks, toilets or bathrooms - if you have a bathroom or kitchen in the log cabin, you will need to apply for planning approval before the work begins.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Build a Log Cabin?

It depends. Most log cabins won't need formal planning permission since they tend to be minor, cosy constructions at the bottom of a garden that fall under Permitted Development rules.

However, if the construction covers more than 50% of your garden or is over a certain height, you will need approval.

If the log cabin is close to a neighbouring property, you may need a party wall agreement. That depends on how large it is and whether you need any excavation work to lay foundations - standard in significant log cabin constructions or permanent log cabin homes.

Properties in conservation areas or with listed building status will always need permission to carry out works that impact the nature or character of the building. If the log cabin is close to the main home, you might need further approval.

What is the Best Roofing Material for a Log Cabin?

Roofing comes in many forms, and your tradesperson can advise on the costs for the options you are interested in - reliant on the aesthetic you would like and how long-term your log cabin construction is.

You can use contemporary roofing materials, slate tiles, or wooden shingles to complete a rustic appearance. Whichever roofing you choose, this should always be insulted and watertight to protect the integrity of the building underneath. If you are weighing up the kinds of materials to use for your outbuilding, take a look at our other page on brick shed costs.