The snow is starting to fall. The cold is in the air. The holidays await us just around the corner. This is the time to sit inside with a cup of hot cocoa and a twinkling Christmas tree, listening to Christmas carols. But wouldn’t it be so much more satisfying if you were in a log cabin, the perfect setting for those winter activities? Too bad you have to wait until it’s warm again before you can start building your dream cabin.
Or you? In fact, it is possible to build a log cabin in winter. Sure, it takes a lot of preparation and knowledge, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of your reach.
Preparing Your Log Cabin Site
Winter is really not a bad time to get down to business on your log cabin site. Groundwater is much lower than during the warmer months, making it easier to work with and less work to dispose of. Frost can be a problem if you are in the depths of the season, so you want to start as soon as possible. You can prepare the site with up to two inches of frost. Snow is a bigger problem, and unless it’s temporary powder, once a real snowfall falls, it’s too late.
getting ready for work
Are you ready to work in the cold? There is a clear advantage that winter has over summer and that is the lack of heat. Anyone who has done manual labor or labor-intensive projects in the summer knows that it is a miserable and even dangerous task. It can be a real relief to be working on things in the colder months, but you need to be properly drawn in. Have a thick coat and layers. Have good textured gloves to keep some friction for holding things. Wear thick socks (or several pairs) under sturdy boots that are warm and non-slip. Also important is a scarf or balaclava and a hat to protect the face, neck and ears. For added comfort, you can get pocket warmers that can help you out on those colder days. Make sure you are aware of weather conditions and plan your build accordingly.
Hiring a construction company
Riding a log cabin is difficult in the best of conditions. In winter it can be really difficult for people who don’t know what they’re doing or just don’t have help. You should consider hiring builders to do it for you. Many will work in the winter for an additional fee, which also ensures that it will be done faster and correctly the first time. Be prepared to pay a premium, but you’ll be glad for the job when a crew of five or more builds your log cabin in a few weeks instead of a few months. Keep in mind that they may only finish the exterior as quickly as possible at first and worry about finishing and interior later when they don’t have to worry about getting stuck on the outside.
Prefabricated or custom made?
Another factor in how quickly you can build your log cabin is whether or not it is going to be made from scratch. This can take a year or more to complete, so you’d just be pushing through the winter to get it done a little earlier. That is usually too long for most people, especially when there is a faster alternative. A prefab log cabin is one that has been ordered and manufactured in a factory in large pieces and then shipped to your building site. A crew (or you and a few others) can put them in sections, making it a much quicker process that can be done in weeks instead of months or years. You’re also more likely to find a construction crew to handle the build if they know it’s just a manufactured home and they can tear it down quickly, before the snow starts. Want another reason to go prefab? They are much cheaper (sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars) and can be customized if you go through a company that specializes in their own designs.
Potential risks in winter
Now that you know that a log cabin can be built in the winter, you need to be aware of the risks. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a construction company that is willing to handle construction this late in the year. That could leave you in the reins and if you don’t know how to build a log cabin it could be a really challenging DIY that might not be well within your capabilities. Then there is the weather itself. When it’s cold, you risk hypothermia and frostbite, which can come on much faster and at higher temperatures than you might expect. Slippage is another very real problem, as ice can be on the ground and go totally unnoticed if it freezes into a thin, hard layer. The more you move around the site, especially where there was groundwater, the more risk you run to slip and injure yourself. Finally, only the construction itself remains. Let’s say you start and misjudged the snowfall. It starts earlier than you thought and before you finish. You can’t just leave the site, you need to cover it up and hope there’s no damage to what you’ve already done before spring arrives.
As you can see, winter construction is possible when you want a log cabin. But your best bet will be to hire a construction company that handles manufactured homes to get you up and running before the snow hits. Once the exterior is finished, they can take more time on the interior and the finishing touches.
So if you’re worried that you’ll have to wait until spring to get the log cabin of your dreams, fret not. It is within reach, you just have to take the proper precautions.