Your 12-Step Guide to Building a New Cabin

Want a cabin without the hassle of the building process? Riverwood Cabins has helped hundreds of people achieve their dream of owning a prefab cabin.

Log cabin homes should be a place of rejuvenation, not frustration. We want you to get busy making memories in your Riverwood Cabin, so we’ve outlined each step of the journey, and made this as easy and pleasant as possible.

Prefab cabins are easier to own than traditional log homes. We take care of many of the details, and we guide you through any steps in the journey that you need to be involved with. Here’s your 12-Step Guide.

Watch this video of a Riverwood Cabin being built and delivered!

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Memories

Step 1: What Memories Will You Make?

Is this a hunting cabin? A fishing retreat? A full time residence? Clearly define how you want to use your prefab cabin up front – before you buy land if possible. The earlier that our cabin advisors can be involved, the fewer mistakes you’ll make along the way. We’ve worked with hundreds of cabin customers over the years, and can help you avoid many of the pitfalls you might experience.

Some questions you should answer as you begin:

  1. How often will you visit the cabin each year? Once a week, once a month, or several times per year? Perhaps you plan on the cabin being your full time residence.
  2. How long do you plan to stay when you do visit? If you’re staying for a long time, you’ll want to have more room for food, clothing, and other necessities.
  3. How many people will stay in the cabin with you? This will help you plan for the amount of bedrooms you’ll need.
  4. Who will be at the cabin with you most times? If there are a lot of young children, you may want to have a loft or sleeping area they’ll enjoy. A large group of hunting buddies may do best with sleeping bunks. If couples are the primary visitors, having separate bedrooms is important.
  5. Think through what activities you’ll want to engage in. If you love to cook and entertain outdoors, a broad porch will come in handy for grilling and more. A large hunting group would benefit from a mudroom area to store boots and guns. Anglers may want to consider where they will clean, store, and prepare fresh fish.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Land

Step 2: Select A Parcel of Land

You’ll want to take time to select the perfect piece of dirt to build your cabin on. You’ll enjoy this for a lifetime so make sure to consider all the pros and cons of various settings as you’re buying land.

  1. How accessible is the site? You may want seclusion but if it’s too secluded it can be challenging to get your cabin materials to the site. Make sure you visit our Site Prep and Delivery page to learn more about what type of site is ideal.
  2. Are there utilities available? You may be planning an ‘off-the-grid’ cabin, and that’s great but if you need electric, water, and sewer you should consider how hard or expensive it might be to get the those to the building site.
  3. If this is an occasional getaway don’t make the mistake of going too far away. Driving 2 – 4 hours on a Friday after work to get to the cabin is fine for most folks, but 6 – 8 hours or more could mean you don’t use the cabin as much as you would like.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Method

Step 3: Choose the Building Method For You

You have a number of choices for building a cabin. Riverwood Cabins is a ‘Prefab’ or ‘Modular’ cabin company which means we build our cabins in the controlled environment of our factories then deliver and set up the cabins on site with a crane.

There are other choices you will want to consider that may be right for you.

Option 1: Traditional Log Cabin

  • Beautiful, traditional log construction
  • Great if you have an unlimited budget
  • Complex – can take many months to build
  • Potential for weather to delay

Option 2: Log Home Kit

  • Can be good if you have a very difficult to access site
  • Relatively affordable
  • Often frustrating to assemble
  • Hidden costs – usually need to purchase a lot of things that are not included in the kit.

Option 3: Prefab (Modular) Cabin

  • Delivered to the site fully assembled ready to live in
  • Very cost effective and affordable
  • Building materials are not exposed to weather during construction
  • Limited to designs and floor plans that can be built in a factory

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Homestead
Building a Riverwood Cabin - Legacy
Building a Riverwood Cabin - Riverwood
Building a Riverwood Cabin - Sportsman
Building a Riverwood Cabin - Weekender

4. Choose Your Cabin Style

At this point, if you’ve decided that a building a prefab or modular cabin is right for you, you should choose the cabin model that’s going to serve you best. All of our cabin styles have delightful characteristics, but how you plan to use your cabin and where you plan to have it built will dictate which model is best.

  1. Homestead

The Homestead is one of our larger cabins with floor plans up to about 1800 square feet. The cape cod style roof line with dormers makes it well suited to areas where the snow load may be heavy. There’s plenty of room for lots of sleeping quarters for friends and family.

  1. Legacy

Our biggest cabin, the Legacy can be up to 2400 square feet in size. The cathedral great room ceiling and large windows in the gable give it a majestic lodge feeling. This is a great choice if you plan to make this your family cabin for many years, with the possibility of extended family staying with you for fun memory making.

  1. Riverwood

The Riverwood is our best seller. The easy-going ranch design is incredibly practical and flexible. You can have a few bedrooms, and up to about 1,400 square feet of space, so it’s in the middle of our size range. The reverse gable porch coming off the side gives you some outdoor living space without cutting into the footprint of the cabin.

  1. Sportsman

The Sportsman might be just right for you if you need a mid size cabin on a budget. Two bedrooms, a front porch, and a vaulted ceiling are a few features that our customers love. You can configure the Sportsman as small as 390 square feet, or up to 930 square feet to find the perfect size for your needs.

  1. Weekender

A covered porch can run the full length of the Weekender, or just in one corner. The ranch style design is classic and flexible. One of our smaller, more affordable designs the Weekender floor plans range from about 400 square feet to 1000 square feet in size, with one or two bedrooms available.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Floor Plans

5. Fine Tune the Floor Plan

There are more than 80 different floor plans available to choose from. Your Riverwood Cabins advisor will guide you through the process to pick to choose the perfect log cabin plans for you. Our floor plans can be modified to meet your needs. If you’ve seen floor plan designs that you like, you’re welcome to send us a sketch, and we’ll craft a plan that meets your goals.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Options

6. Select Your Options

Your cabin plans are coming together really well by now. Our cabins come well appointed, and our options list gives you an opportunity to make it your own and realize your dreams. Some popular options include:

  • Hickory Flooring
  • Maple and Hickory Cabinets
  • Black Aluminum Stair Railings

On the outside of your dream cabin you can choose more options:

  • Large Deck/Porch
  • Choice of Metal or Shingle Roof
  • Choice of exterior siding look Log, Board & Batten, or LP Lap Siding

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Advisor

7. Talk To Your Riverwood Cabins Advisor

With your floor plan, cabin model, and options selected, your design specialist can get you a to the penny quote. Call 855-5CABIN5 to get a price quote with all of your options considered.

Your advisor will email or mail you a set of plans and a proposal with an exact quote with all of your cabin options included. Depending on your state you may need to get a building permit, which your cabin advisor can guide you through. If you do need a building permit, your cabin advisor can work with your local authorities to facilitate this.

Take the next step. Contact a cabin advisor to learn more.  Get Started

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Deposit

8. Place A Deposit On Your Cabin

To get your order in the queue, you’ll place a down payment on your cabin. That will get the ball rolling on our end. The design team communicates with the production team, and we’ll put your cabin into the production schedule.

Our lead times for the factory build vary a bit depending on the season, but you can contact our sales team today for an accurate estimate for your state.

Our deposit schedule goes like this:

  • $5,000 Deposit for engineered drawings
  • 50% Deposit – locks in lead time and order moves into the build queue
  • 35% Deposit – when construction commences in factory. Delivery date is scheduled at this point.
  • Balance due to the onsite crew when they complete work on the cabin.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Delivery

9. Prepare Your Site For Delivery

Your Riverwood Cabin Advisor will work with your site contractors to make sure that they are able to properly prepare your site for delivery of your cabin. We make sure that nothing gets missed in communication about site preparation. When our trucks show up with your cabin, we want to make sure everything is ready to go!

We also coordinate with the crane operator so he knows what to expect. You should not have to become an expert at any of this stuff – we’ve done it all hundreds of times, and we make sure things go as smoothly as possible.

There are a few options for what foundation you’ll place your cabin on. Riverwood Cabin Advisors can advise you on foundations, and coordinate with your contractor to make sure that the foundation is prepared properly for when the cabin shows up. Whether you choose a crawl space or basement, we’ve seen it all and will handle all the communications with the site contractor to ensure success.

Another thing to think about at this stage is the route that the delivery truck will take when we deliver your cabin to the site. Your Riverwood Cabin Advisor can let you know how much clearance you’ll need on your driveway or access road. If needed, we can coordinate with utility contractors to help create enough clearance to your site.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Delivery

10. Delivery of Your Cabin

On the scheduled day, your cabin will be loaded on a truck and shipped to your dream building site. The cabin is well prepared for the journey. Any vulnerable surfaces are safely covered with protective wrap. (Modular cabins are built stronger than traditional cabins because they have to be rigid enough to stay true during transportation and installation).

Our drivers use a special trailer configured just right for cabin delivery. The back part of the trailer is able to lower to the ground to gently place your cabin just where it needs to be. If needed, our crew will coordinate with a crane operator to place the cabin modules into place and secure them.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Hookups

11. Onsite Hookup of Sewer, Water, Electricity

Our crew will coordinate with the contractor on site to facilitate hooking up the water, sewer, electric and any other utilities.

For some cabin models that are delivered in multiple modules our onsite crew may spend a day or two finishing up the installation. The various modules are bolted together according to the properly engineered specifications. Interior and exterior trim around the joints are completed and weather proofed.

Building a Riverwood Cabin - Make Memories

12. Make Memories

Now it’s time to start pursuing your passions in your Riverwood Cabin! There’s no extended building process. After we’ve delivered the cabin you can start making memories right away – everything is ready to go.

Take the next step. Contact a cabin advisor to learn more.  Get Started