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Wisconsin Log Homes Founder
"This blog is a great opportunity for me to
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Dave Janczak
Founder of Wisconsin Log Homes, Inc.

Square Foot Costs Can Be Misleading.  

If someone says they can give you an accurate cost per square foot estimate during your first meeting, I suggest you move forward with caution. Numerous factors affect the cost of a custom home, and without getting thorough information regarding your visions first, it's nearly impossible to give an accurate number.

The cost per square foot concept began about 35 years ago when the same style homes were built over and over again in the same community. It made construction and pricing simple.  Over the years we've seen big builders construct standard model homes with a few different options to create a cost per square foot price in their large subdivisions.  Unlike track homes, every detail in a custom home is unique.  When building a custom home, the options available to you are infinite, making the cost per square foot a complicated topic.  

Here are just some of the details that influence square footage costs:


Complex shapes with many corners, multi-roof planes and steep pitches with cathedral and vaulted ceilings, multiple dormers with angles and bump-outs, various wall heights, turrets and prows add curb appeal. However, these details also increase the cost per square foot 


Both a 40' x40' structure and a 20' x 80' structure contain1600 square feet. However, the outside wall of the rectangular structure is 40 feet longer than the square structure and requires more foundation, framing, insulation, wall covering, electrical, plumbing, heating and finishing work, which all increase the cost per square foot.  


Nana wall systems and patio doors may look similar, but they perform and cost differently.  Real stone is almost twice the price of cultured stone.  The roofing material you select can range from $70 to more than $500 per square.  Custom windows and doors, heating options such as ‘in-floor' and geo-thermal heating systems, all impact the cost of the home.  Local codes for snow loads, earthquakes, and hurricanes can also require extra materials not necessary in other locations.


Cabinets for the same kitchen design can range from $10,000 (or less) to more than $35,000 depending on finishing options.  Countertops for the same kitchen can range from $15 to more than $150 per foot. Flooring costs also range at length due to quality and the type or class of wood, tile, or carpet used.  When it comes to plumbing fixtures, faucets, tubs, showers and toilets, a bathroom can range from $3,600 (or less) to $15,000 and up. 

With so many options and building scenarios available today, it's almost impossible to guess a number without first making some design decisions and discussing them openly with the people of your choice.  When you're ready, give us a call to talk about your ideas and the options available to you.  That said, we find it much more realistic to give a ‘good,' ‘better,' and ‘best' range of what the cost could be according to our experience until we get more information.  But I can assure you that we'll never make promises we can't keep just to get your business.