The snow is beginning to fall. The chill is in the air. Right around the corner the holidays await us. This is the time to sit inside with a cup of hot cocoa and a twinkling Christmas tree, listening to carols. But wouldn't that be so much more satisfying if it were in a log cabin, the perfect setting for those winter activities? Too bad you have to wait until it is warm again before you can start building your dream cabin.
Or do you? It is actually possible to build a log cabin in winter. Sure, it takes a big of preparation and knowhow, but that doesn't mean it is out of your reach.
Preparing The Site of Your Log Cabin
Winter isn't actually a bad time to get to work on the site of your log cabin. Groundwater is a lot lower than during the warmer months, which makes it an easier job and requires less work to get rid of it. Frost can be an issue if you are deep into the season, so you want to get started as soon as possible. You can prepare the site with up to two inches of frost. Snow is a bigger issue and unless it is temporary powder, once real snowfall hits it will be too late.
Preparing Yourself For Work
Are you ready to be working in the cold? There is a distinct advantage that you have in winter 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 attired. Have a thick coat and layers. Have good gloves with texture to keep some friction for holding things. Put on thick socks (or multiple pairs) under solid boots that are both warm and anti-slip. A scarf or balaclava and a hat to protect the face, neck and ears are also important. For some additional comfort you can get pocket warmers that can help you on those chillier days. Make sure you are aware of weather conditions and plan your build accordingly.
Hiring a Company for Construction
Putting up a log cabin is difficult in the best of conditions. In winter it can be really hard for people who don't know what they are doing, or who 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 it will be done faster and right the first time. Be prepared to pay a premium but you will be glad for the work when a crew of five or more people get your log cabin up within a few weeks instead of a few months. Keep in mind that they may only get the exterior done at first as quickly as possible and worry about finishing and interior after, when they don't have to worry about being stuck outside.
Prefabricated or Custom Built?
Another factor in how quickly you can get your log cabin built is whether or not it is going to be done from scratch. This can take a year or more to complete so you would only be pushing through the winter to get it done a little sooner. That is usually way too long for most people, especially when there is a faster alternative. A prefabricated log cabin is one that has been ordered and manufactured in a factory in large pieces then shipped to your erection site. A crew (or you and a few others) can then put them up in sections, making it a much faster process that can be done within weeks instead of months or years. You may also be more likely to find a building crew to handle the construction if they know it is just a prefab and so they can knock it out fast, 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 winter you should know the risks. It can be difficult sometimes to find a construction company that is willing to handle a built that late in the year. That might leave you holding the reigns and if you don't know how to construct a log cabin that could be a really challenging DIY that might not be within your capabilities. Then there is the weather itself. When it is cold you are risking hypothermia and frostbite, both of which can come on much faster and at higher temperatures than you might expect. Slipping is another very real issue, as ice can be on the ground and totally unseen if it froze in a thin, hard layer. The more you move around the site, especially where there was groundwater, the more you risk slipping and injuring yourself. Finally, there is just the construction itself. Let's say you get started and you miscalculated the snowfall. It begins sooner than you thought and before you are done. You can't just leave the site, you have to cover it and hope that there is no damage to what you have already done before spring comes.
As you can see, winter construction is possible when you want a log cabin. But your best bet is going to be hiring a construction company that handles prefabricated dwellings in order to get it up and operational before the snow comes. Once the exterior is done they can take more time on the interior and final touches.
So if you are worried that you have to wait until spring to get your dream log cabin, don't worry. It is within reach, you just have to take the proper precautions.