Log Siding: Styles, Installation Techniques, & Cost Factors

Log siding mimics the look of traditional log construction. Wood is the most common material for log siding, but it’s also available in vinyl, concrete, and steel. Log cabin siding is installed horizontally, with the pieces stacking up to create the appearance of a traditional cabin.

Common Types of Log Siding Profiles

Cost of Log Siding

Log siding costs between $2 and $15 per square foot. Vinyl is the cheapest log siding material, at $3-$5 per square foot. Wood log siding ranges from $5 to $15 per square foot, with premium materials like cedar and redwood costing the most. Pine is one of the least expensive log siding materials.  

Pros and Cons of Log Siding

Log siding can give your home the appearance of a traditional cabin but comes with upkeep, depending on the material you choose.


  • Easy installation: Log siding has a simple installation process, making it DIY-friendly for those with construction experience.
  • Energy efficiency: Wood log siding provides insulation, keeping a home’s interior warm during winter and cool in the summer.
  • Durability: Log siding consists of high-quality wood or other durable materials. It has an average lifespan of 15-40 years but may last much longer when well-maintained.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Log siding provides a rustic, natural look.


  • Maintenance requirements: Wood log siding is prone to rot, decay, and insect infestations. Sealing is necessary to protect it from elements. 
  • Pricier than other alternatives: Log siding is a cost-effective alternative to traditional log construction. But it’s still more expensive than other types of siding.

How to Install Log Siding

Tools & Materials Required

  • Tape measure
  • House wrap
  • Level
  • Circular or miter saw
  • Chalk line
  • 3-inch galvanized nails/ screws
  • Hammer
  • Ladder/ scaffolding
  • Starter strips
  • Trim
  • Paint/ stain

Installation Criteria

  1. Prepare the surface: The surface should be clean, dry, and debris-free. Make sure it’s level and smooth, as bumps can affect the appearance of the finished siding.
  2. Add a moisture barrier: Install house wrap to protect the house from moisture damage.
  3. Secure the starter strips: Starter strips provide a secure base for the first row of log siding. Use a chalk line to level the strips. Nail down the strips at ½-1 inch above the foundation and around windows and doors.
  4. Install the log siding: Place the first log at the base and use a level to straighten it. Secure the log siding using screws/ galvanized nails into the wall studs at a downward 45-degree angle. Work upwards, interlocking the siding pieces at the tongue. You may need to cut the siding as you reach power outlets and other obstacles. Also, you may have to cut the last row lengthwise to fit.
  5. Install the trim: Install trim pieces around windows, doors, and corners to provide a finished look. The trim also helps protect against moisture intrusion.
  6. Apply a finish: Finish with paint, stain, or other protective coatings.

Safety Measures & Best Practices

  1. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as safety glasses, gloves, and sturdy work boots.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  3. Prime or pre-finish the siding surfaces when using wood log siding. You may also need to precondition the materials before installation.
  4. Avoid lacquers, varnishes, or other clear film-forming finishes on exposed wood. Such finishes crack and peel, which ruins the appearance of the siding.

Common Types of Log Siding Profiles

Log siding is available in various profiles, which determines the siding’s appearance.

Full Round Log Siding

Full round log siding is made from cylindrical logs with a uniform diameter along their length. The logs feature a curved exterior, giving them a rounded profile. 

Half Log Siding

Half-log siding consists of logs milled or cut in half, resulting in a semi-circular profile. The flat side is installed against the wall, while the curved side faces outward. Half-round log siding is flatter and more regular in shape than full-round log siding.

Quarter Log Siding

Quarter log siding features curved exterior faces that overlap to create a series of horizontal arcs. 

D-Shaped Log Siding

The D-shaped log siding has a more refined and modern appearance than full round log siding. Its profile features a flat surface on the inside of the log and a curved surface on the outside. It gives the logs a distinctive D-shape when viewed from one end. The logs’ flat interior surface makes installation easier. 

Hand-Hewn Log Siding

Hand-hewn log siding features an irregular and textured profile with flat sections across each log. It creates a rustic, natural appearance for cabins, lodges, and rural settings.

Swedish Cope Log Siding

Swedish cope log siding features a half-moon cut on the underside of each log. The cope creates a tight, interlocking fit that provides good insulation and weather protection. The logs’ diameter ranges from 6-12 inches, with lengths up to 18 feet.

Alternatives to Wood Log Siding

Wood log siding consists of either pine or cedar. Other log siding materials include vinyl, concrete, and steel.

Vinyl Log Siding

Exterior vinyl log siding features embossing to resemble the texture and grain of natural wood logs. Vinyl is resistant to moisture, rot, insects, and other damage that can affect natural wood. It requires very little maintenance besides cleaning with a hose or pressure washer.

Concrete Log Siding

Concrete log siding consists of sand, fiber cement, and other materials. Unlike wood, concrete log siding doesn’t need regular painting, staining, or sealing. It’s durable in extreme weather conditions, including rain, snow, wind, and sunlight. It’s also resistant to insects, rot, and other damage that can affect natural wood.

Steel Log Siding

Steel log siding consists of steel panels resembling natural wood logs. Its fire-resistant and withstands harsh weather. Most metal siding features foam backing to increase rigidity. Manufacturers also offer customization of colors and finishes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can log siding be used for both interior and exterior applications?

Yes, log siding is used for interior paneling and exterior siding. Log siding can also be used as an accent wall in a room. It creates a rustic or cabin-like aesthetic of any building.

What is the typical lifespan of log siding?

Log siding has an average lifespan of 15-40 years. Proper installation and maintenance increase the longevity of the siding. The quality and type of wood influence the lifespan of natural log siding.

How do I choose the right log siding style for my home?

Consider the type of material you want to use for your log siding. Each has its own unique characteristics and price range. Synthetic log siding made from vinyl and fiber cement is available in various colors and textures.

Can I install log siding over my current siding?

Yes, the existing siding can act as the substrate if it’s in good condition. Inspect the walls for water leaks, rot, or warping before installation.