Question: What Is Included in a Package (Kit) and What Isn’t?
It’s been said that “expectations are everything,” and a custom home building project is no exception. Knowing what to expect through the process will set you up for satisfaction and success from start to finish. This especially applies to knowing what is (and isn’t) included in your log home kit. There are plenty of tales about folks who have ended up surprised (and scrambling) when they discovered in the middle of their log-home building journey that certain materials weren’t included in their package.
Sometimes, vague industry terminology can lead to this all-too-common scenario. If you’ve been searching for a log cabin or timber frame home for very long, you’ve undoubtedly come across terms like “shell kit” or “complete log package.” What you also may have noticed is that what’s included in a package of the same name can vary widely from one company to the next.
“Because these words can mean different things depending on the company you’re looking at, it can be confusing for consumers,” explains Mark Elliott, Vice President of Coventry Log Homes. “I have been in this industry all of my life, and it can still be tough for me to decipher.”
To make things as seamless as possible for customers, Mark says that Coventry breaks down their packages into different types — the Cabin style, designed for recreational use; the Craftsman and Tradesman styles, made for an all-out log home lifestyle; the Timber Frame; and the Hybrid Package, dubbed the “Adirondack".
Within each style (with the exception of the “Cabin”), packages are offered at three distinct levels — the Pre-cut Log Wall Package, the Shell Package, and the Complete Package. In order to let their customers know exactly what they’re getting when they purchase a package, Coventry includes a side-by-side comparison of the contents of each in a chart available on their website.
Additionally, Coventry groups the components of each package into main categories. For example, a standard Coventry complete log home package includes materials for the subfloor, log wall and roof system, along with interior walls, windows and doors. If you have dormers, a loft, or any decks or porches, the materials needed to build out those features will also be included.
If the company you’re considering doesn’t spell things out as clearly, Mark emphasizes that it’s essential to do your own research before buying. “We tell people to take their time and ask lots of questions,” he says. “It takes effort to compare apples to apples between companies, but it’s essential to know what you’re buying.”
In particular, he advises people to ask about things like name-brand materials, shipping charges and stamp-engineered plans. “We include those things, but not everyone does,” he says. “You could end up with an extra charge of $3,000 or $5,000 that might surprise you.”
More tried and true advice: As you do your homework, be sure to ask if a kit can be customized to include (or leave out) any individual components. “We can create a custom package and only supply what the customer wants, but not every company can do that,” he shares. “Ask all of the questions up front, and don’t just accept somebody’s word for it; get it in writing."