Your off-the-grid cabin can be a place where you can escape your busy life and spend a couple of days in nature, or for those more dedicated, it can become a home. They combine some of the most desired principles of modern escapism, freedom to have a personal life, being one with nature, and leading an environmentally-friendly sustainable life.
Picking the right spot
Placing an off-the-grid cabin may sound easy but it is more difficult than most people think. You have to think about all needs you still have regardless of the fact that you have chosen to disconnect yourself from the mainstream culture. First of all, you have to start by choosing a general area which suits you and then look into what is available for sale. Find a spot which has good connectivity, that is an easy access to a road you can use in case of an emergency, for getting medical assistance, in case of fire and even supplies. With this in mind, you can have the best of both worlds. Furthermore, find a piece of land with readily-available resources, such as water, wood, and stone; and favorable conditions such as enough sun and not too windy.
Most off- the- grid cabins are tiny. You need to make it functional with the size of your family and the purpose of your cabin (permanent or holiday accommodation) in mind. That’s where planning comes to place. There are plenty of cabin plans available online and with services which specialize in this type of building. Have a look and see whether you can find the one that suits your needs and your piece of land. Alternatively, get someone who can help you with the design of the space and try to think of all the amenities and the properties you want your home to have. Functionality is a prerogative.
Building on a budget
We cannot go into the thorough analysis of everyone’s budget to be able to tell them how much they can afford to spend for a cabin. However, we can help you find ways of spending as little as possible. With amenities such as a solar power system or a toilet, you can shop around, look through classifieds or consider purchasing used elements. It is important, though, to always have a professional involved in helping you make a choice. When it comes to building materials, look at what you have available on your lot (wood or rocks as mentioned above) and use them where you can. Keep an eye out for sales and good deals. Also, do not be afraid to skip specialized stores and go for used materials or buy-off someone’s extras. You will save the most by doing the work yourself.
Get the right equipment
A right selection of quality equipment will help you get the job done faster. There is no need to purchase everything required for the project. If you want to stay on the budget, borrow more expensive pieces of equipment, or alternatively, look for places that hire them out. As this is a rough project, make sure you wear protective gear such as steel-toe Australian work boots, a helmet, protective glasses for cutting wood, and gloves.
Building a foundation
Your preferences, the land you are building on, and the type of cabin will determine the type of foundation you need to build. Most commonly you will go for the raft, pad, or strip foundation. A raft foundation is a good choice for those areas with the soft ground as the load of the cabin can spread equally. A pad foundation is a good choice but only when there is firm, strong-soil base. Strip foundations are only an option for dry sites and clay ground.
Building the cabin
The best wood to choose for a cabin is spruce or pine, which is the most common softwood used in building. Using the butt and pass method of building, cutting and shaping of the logs will be easier and the tight corners will eliminate any need for notching. You will be building on top of sill logs which will support the vertical load of the structure. By inserting evenly spaced-out joints into these logs and place wooden planks on top you will make a floor. When it comes to roofing materials, the most common choices are shingles made of wood, metal sheets, or felt. This is a simple method you can use with very little or no previous experience, though it is always useful to have an experienced friend to advise you.
Your cabin can become your dream home or a perfect place of retreat. The beauty about it is that you can build one on a budget and live the way you always wanted to at a much smaller price, than if you had to buy a house. Start doing the research, gather friends with different bits and pieces of experience and start this project together.
Written by Ron Wolf. ”Growing up on a village helped me become what I am today. Constantly surrounded by nature and animals my curiosity was satisfied. In my teen years I moved to a city and started helping out at my dad’s construction company. This is how I got the idea to become a civil engineer. Since then constantly studying and finding new projects to work on has taken almost all of my time. Buy hey that’s what I love doing so it’s not hard!”