We are planning to build new home next year and have been researching log homes vs. conventional. Any advice on the differences in cost (sq. ft.) and advantages of one over the other. Thanks!
Let me answer the cost question first. If you compare houses of roughly equal quality, style, size etc., you will find that conventional framing will cost less. You should find that some of the milled 'log' products have a lower price than the traditional log construction practices which are very labor intensive.
Some of the higher labor costs are related to the more complex and specialized work required in related trades such as the electrical wiring, windows and even the installation of cabinets. So when you compare prices, be sure that you include all of the costs, not just the shell.
I have read some of the articles which discuss the relatively higher energy efficiency of log homes. I am not convinced by the arguments made, and find that standard construction can produce a very tight and well insulated house.
A word of caution. There are far fewer expert log home builders, and it takes more expertise to build a log home than it does to build a conventional home.
So, in the final analysis, you will have to make a decision based on: price, design, and life style. I hope that you took a look at A Building and Remodeling Checklist. George