Live edge siding on your cabin

The get-back-to-nature movement has taken on a new revival over the past decade or so and many people are remodeling their current home instead of moving. Good for them! The idea is to add a vacation home or cabin on a lake somewhere (preferably in northern Wisconsin) where a family will have something to pass down from generation to generation. What a great idea!  Millennial’s, it’s been said, are all about having experiences instead of owning material things so this kind of experience is worth looking into.

Now, here’s the fun part of that dream – building your own cabin. I’m not talking about a rustic one-room cabin where transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau wrote “Walden: or, Life in the woods”. I’m talking about cool and amazing places that are filled with the best stuff collected and saved over the years that can be used all year long.  Yes, even in the winter. A work in progress so to speak. You don’t need to be like Thoreau and find your “inner self” you already found it, and now it’s time to have some fun.

Your cabin doesn’t need to be big, just cool. When you get there you want to pull in the long driveway and as the “cabin” comes into view you want the stress to evaporate and be amazed. Here’s why!

Live edge siding!

If you have ever seen it up close then you can feel my excitement. I love the look and the feel it gives a cabin on the lake. The “drive up” test is the first test for this look. Getting out of your car and just staring it makes you feel good. This is curb appeal or more like shore appeal at the highest form and you will never stop hearing the compliments from people who know you live there.

I saw my first cabin with live siding and was blown away by it and when I build our cabin someday this is at the top of the list as a must-have. Some have said that the live edge look is more rustic Montana then Wisconsin lake home but I disagree. I understand their thought on this look but stunning is stunning no matter where it is. I’ve seen homes in Wisconsin with cedar shakes that look like the house belongs in Cape Cod and homes that look like they belong in Los Angeles. Live edge siding can easily fit in northern Wisconsin on a beautiful lake.

Is live edge siding expensive?

Yes, it is! So, start saving now. The cost can vary depending on the kind of wood you use and if you use cedar then you’re really adding some extra costs of $4-$6.50 per square foot. Although, to be honest, I’m not a fan of the cedar look. It’s too busy for my taste and it doesn’t weather the way the other woods do.

Oak siding is in the middle and Pine or “Doug fir” is the most commonly used and the cheapest. Plus they age beautifully! The costs can run you about $2.50 – $3.50 per square foot so if you did the math on an average sized three bedroom ranch style home and you’re looking at approximately $18,000. Yikes! But! You don’t have to have the entire house sided this way. You can break it up between other less expensive materials. Barn wood or stone and maybe even some shakes added under the windows for a dynamic look and stying.

The installation isn’t rocketed science for these big pieces of wood but it will take two people if the width is the standard 8′ x 11″. That can get heavy and each piece will need to be leveled. Oak or pine live edge siding will need to be resealed every 3-5 years so you have to add that cost in as well. If you stain your siding then another coat of stain will need to be applied, too.

Just like anything else, there are pro’s and con’s to live edge siding but for me, it’s worth the effort and since I love being a handyman and going up to work on the cabin is half the fun of it. My wife would disagree as she’s all about the water and socializing and leaves the “fun” all to me.