Building a cabin on a budget does not mean cutting out necessary details or using flimsy materials. Learning how to build a cabin on a budget consists of smart material swaps, streamlined design, and alternative building strategies that are perfect for saving money without skimping on quality.
Whether your ideal cabin is an off-grid bungalow with only the basics or a luxurious retreat in the middle of pristine wilderness, it’s worth knowing some of the industry tricks that result in inexpensive cabin builds. Take a look at these 10 tips for building a small cabin cheap — without compromising on quality:
1. Source Materials Locally
Transporting materials cross-country can result in huge expenses. Do your research and find local providers who can source materials regionally. In many cases, local providers may be able to suggest similar materials and resources that can be sourced nearby if there’s something on your list that they don’t offer. Not only is this strategy great for your wallet, but it’s great for the environment, too.
2. Hone Your Workshop Skills BEFORE Building
It may seem like a no-brainer, but many DIY enthusiasts dive into a big project, like building a small cabin cheap, driven by enthusiasm alone. There is absolutely nothing worse than tearing out construction work that wasn’t installed correctly. Minor mistakes in carpentry or calculations can lead to huge problems down the line. By far, the cheapest way to build a cabin is to do it correctly the first time — starting over every time there’s an issue can be a major strain on your budget and your patience.
3. Streamline Your Floor Plan
A simple, rectangular floor plan will require fewer materials than a complex, multi-story setup with multiple rooms. Building a cabin on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to a modest box design, but it does mean simplifying space when and where you can. Consider open floor plans in rooms that were originally designed with several distinct spaces.
4. Invest in More Durable Siding
One of the most critical aspects of learning how to build your own cabin cheaply is investing in products that will last with minimal maintenance or repairs. Jumping at low-cost siding materials, like vinyl or plywood, may seem perfect for a cheap cabin build, but you need to remember the lifespan of these products. Skip the cheap siding that only lasts a few years and go with a more durable, heavy-duty option, like TruLog steel log-style siding, which is built to last for decades without any effort.
5. Clear the Site Yourself
Properties that haven’t been cleared for a build will require extra attention. Rather than dishing out thousands of dollars to have the land levelled from start to finish, see what you can do without the help of professionals first. You may not be able to level the ground, but cutting down trees and removing stones yourself can save tons of money and help significantly when building a small cabin on a budget.\
6. Maximize Natural Light
One of the biggest secrets to knowing how to build a log home for less is to avoid artificial lighting whenever possible. Include skylights, large windows, fireplaces, and open floor plans to help maximize natural light and reduce electricity bills. It’s even possible to avoid running electricity to the cabin altogether.
7. Outdoor Solar Lights
Outdoor lighting can create big bills — both during the construction process and with ongoing electricity usage. Swap outdoor porch lights and pathway lights for lights that run on solar energy.
8. Create Paths from Crushed Stone or Pavers Instead of Poured Concrete
One of the keys to building a cottage on a budget is to swap materials when it’s appropriate. For example, pouring concrete for pathways can be incredibly expensive. Consider using alternative materials, like crushed stone, gravel, or patio ground pavers to make more affordable pathways throughout the property.
9. Consider Foundation Alternatives
The foundation of a cabin can be completed with alternative materials, like concrete slabs or patio pavers. This budget-friendly swap is more successful with tiny cabins that are less than 200 square feet, but nonetheless, it’s a great way to save money when building a cabin on a budget.
10. Off-Grid Toilet Facilities
If you want to embrace the absolute cheapest way to build a cabin, consider cutting out the need for plumbing. The good news is that there are many off-grid toilet options and outdoor showers on the market that don’t require sewer access. Though it’s not for everyone, skipping indoor plumbing in your log cabin can save huge amounts of money!
How to Build a Log Home Cheap: Smart Swaps and Innovative Designs
There’s no need to break the bank when building a cabin on a budget. With innovative designs, like open floor plans with natural light, and smart material swaps like TruLog’s durable steel log siding, you’ll find that the cheapest way to build a cabin doesn’t even require compromises on quality!
Contact the steel log siding specialists at TruLog today for more information on building an affordable log cabin.