How to Build a Cabin in the Woods

Quiet, serene, and surrounded by nature — many people daydream about cabin living, but do you know what it actually takes to build a cabin in the woods? You’ll need more than a few timbers and a roof to pull off the task. Whether you plan on tackling a cabin project as a DIY endeavor or you plan on hiring a crew to carry out a quick and professional construction job, thoughtful planning is essential in order to build a cabin in the woods successfully.

Chances are, you’ll want to revise some of your cabin plans accordingly once you consider all the components it takes to build a cabin in the woods without any problems. Cost, building codes, and selecting durable building materials are just a few points to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of the planning process.

Pick the Right Property 

It’s essential to be honest with your goals when it comes to picking a property on which to build a cabin in the woods. Pristine wilderness may seem ideal at first, but the farther away from towns and modern amenities, the more difficult it may be to access the essential items and services needed to enjoy a stay at the cabin. 

Climate and wildlife challenges are also critical things to consider. Some prefer a quiet lakeside abode without any drama, while others don’t mind an occasional visit from hungry bears passing through.

In addition, accessibility to the building site may cause issues for commercial vehicles. If you plan on calling in the experts for roofing assistance or large material transportation, be sure to consider how feasible it will be for their vehicles and equipment to access the site. If the terrain leading to the property is challenging or roadways are questionable, additional expenses can be expected.

Pay Attention to County Building Codes

Once you’ve settled on a piece of property and planned out the building site, be sure to check all the local regulations concerning building codes and dwelling dimensions. 

Some counties have very strict requirements, including the minimum square footage of a property to be considered a residence. If you plan to build a cabin in the woods in order to replace a primary residence, then check the local laws to ensure you won’t have to re-build or make significant changes before securing an occupancy permit.

Invest in Quality Materials

Think of building a cabin in the woods as a long-term investment. It’s essential to invest in durable materials that can stand up to weather challenges effectively for years to come. Depending on how remote the area is or how seasonal the planned usage for the cabin, repairs can be expensive and take up a lot of time.

It’s best to swap traditional materials for upgraded, innovative building materials wherever you can. Instead of using natural wood for the siding, consider selecting a more durable product that won’t require nearly as much upkeep. 

For example, outfitting the cabin with steel log siding is a great way to protect the structure with a durable, fire-resistant, weather-resistant material that won’t warp, rot, or collect mold the way that natural wood does. This simple swap cuts down the amount of routine maintenance required and saves money from costly repairs.

Electrical Hookups 

Decide how much electricity you’d like for the cabin, and then plan accordingly. Remember, electrical hookups and utility bills can be pricey, but they’re also more reliable in some situations than alternative energy sources. Solar, for example, requires consistent and direct sunlight — which is not always reliable in the middle of the woods during winter. 

With that said, if going ‘off the grid’ is a primary concern, there are many solar energy and geothermal options that can allow you to build a cabin in the woods that is entirely self-sufficient and sustainable. Some of these energy plans even allow you to store and sell back energy to local municipalities! 

Plumbing Plans

Water, plumbing, and safe waste removal will also require research into local regulations and building codes. Some counties require a septic system to be installed by a licensed contractor, which can put a wrinkle in DIYers’ plans to build a cabin in the woods on their own.

In addition, most counties require residential cabins to have a clean water source on the property. Hooking up to city water may be pricey when building in a remote area. Therefore, digging a well or installing a cistern to collect rainwater may be a better option for those who want their cabin to function independently.

Start Planning Your Log Cabin Today

When it comes to building a cabin in the woods, there are many variations and essentially no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways of going about it. But perhaps the most important advice? Plan ahead! Because most cabins are not in close proximity to city services, renovations, re-builds, and changes to layout late in the game can be costly — both in time and money. 

Contact a steel log siding expert at Trulog today for more information on building a durable log cabin in the woods.

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