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How Long ‘Til My Log Home Is Built?

Soon there will come a day when you decide that you are finally ready to kick-start your dream of building a custom mountain home.  Even though you will have waited so long already (maybe you are waiting for retirement or the sale of an existing property) you may find that your wood home can’t be built fast enough.

Handcrafted Log Home in ConstructionSo how long will you have to wait to spend that first night in your new home? The answer to that question is not a simple one when you are talking about custom mountain homes.   There are differences in how log and timber homes are designed, produced and built.  Not to mention the difference between homes of different sizes and complexity.  Below we describe the aspects of your project which will impact completion date.

Custom Design or Standard Plan

Maybe the best way to talk about the real differences in design services is to compare them to clothes.  If you buy a suit at the mall and take it home, this would be like choosing a standard log home plan and moving on to construction.  However, if you purchased the suit and asked the tailor to make some minor modifications to the hems or sleeves, then this would equate to choosing a standard plan with slight modifications.  It will take longer for you to take the suit home, as the tailor will have to do some work. If you take it a step further and go directly to the tailor and show him a suit or two that you like, then ask him to create a custom suit just for you, the time-frame grows even longer.  This is what it is like to work with an architect on your custom home.  It can take 8-12 weeks from your initial design meeting until your design is created.  It can take longer if you have alterations.

Preconstruction Process

Preconstruction involves the creation of construction drawing, obtaining building permits and developing production drawings that will be used by the mill to cut each piece of your home.  This can be a difficult time since all you get to do is wait.  There are many important parts of your project that get done during this time, but you have to wait from 8-16 weeks until it is ready.


There are some timber and log home providers who will create standard designs and then pre-cut many of the pieces in anticipation of an order.  These companies are able to create quick turn around times for delivery of your materials.   However, for a custom home the log and timber can’t be cut until the design is engineered.  Once the drawings are stamped, the process runs quickly.  The only delay might be from the other orders which might be in the process of manufacturing before you.  On average it takes 2-6 weeks.

Log and Timber Installation

It will take a builder who is unfamiliar with mountain wood homes longer to stack a house than someone who has done it before.  They are also more likely to make mistakes.  We send our own professional crews to stack and install our product in 1-3 weeks time (longer for handcrafted log homes).

Dry-in and Finishing Touches

This is the biggest variable determining how long it takes to finish your home.  It will have already taken about 6 months to get to this point. Depending on your level of finishes (carpet vs. hand-laid tile and wood planks) the size of your home and your builders availability, it can take 6 months more.

Timber Frame Home in ConstructionSo When Should I Start?

When we tell people that it will take at least a year to finish their custom home, it can be hard for them to understand at first.  The time-frame to build a home in perfect conditions can be disappointing, but if you wait too long to get the ball rolling you may find that the expected increase in demand for custom mountain homes in 2011 and 2012 will delay your project further.  Understanding the factors that will affect the timeline of your project is  important for everyone.


  1. Todd Pettit says:

    I completely agree. I would advise anyone thinking of building a log or timber home to talk to several people before embarking on the process. I promise once the house is done you will be glad you chose that path but the trek takes much longer than your standard stick built home.

  2. Small Log Homes says:

    Great article on an important question! People definitely need to better understand the workmanship and commitment it takes into building one of these beautiful homes!

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