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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Construction & Renovation > Timber-Frame Home

Timber-Frame Home Cost


How Much Does a Timber-Frame Home Cost?

 
low costLow: $150-$175 a Square Foothigh costHigh: $200-$325 a Square Foot

Using ancient construction techniques, timber framing is a high-end building option that creates a distinctive house with an open floor plan, soaring ceilings and massive handcrafted beams overhead. Many homeowners choose timber framing for its inherent cathedral-like beauty and rugged strength. The result is a custom single-family home with elements that evoke an upscale but rustic lodge, farmhouse or seaside resort, depending on the design. Timberframe1.com[1] and Timbercraft.com[2] provide photo galleries of timber-frame homes.

Typical costs:

  • A timber-frame home typically costs about 10 to 20 percent more than a conventionally framed home of comparable size and quality of fixtures (flooring, plumbing, etc.), depending on whether the home is partially timber framed (a hybrid) or completely timber framed. Highly customized projects can cost even more. Actual costs will depend on local rates and the complexity of the home design, but can start around $150-$175 a square foot for a basic timber-frame home and increase to $200-$325 a square foot, or from $300,000-$650,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
  • This does not include the cost of the land, and may not include extensive property improvements such as adding utility lines, a septic system or a driveway/road.
Related articles: Log Home, Architect, Building a Custom Home

What should be included:
  • Timber framing is a specific type of post-and-beam construction using heavy and stout timbers (solid wood, laminated or composite) shaped to lock together at their connections (usually mortise and tendon or dovetail joints) and secured with hardwood pegs. Typically the frame is on open display inside the house, making it a strong sculptural element in the interior design. ThisOldHouse.com provides a time-lapse video[3] of the construction of a prefab timber-frame home for a family of four.
  • Generally a timber frame is built and assembled in the factory to make sure everything fits. It is then disassembled and shipped to the building site, often with the structural insulated panels that will form the walls. Beams are typically hand-crafted, but some companies also use computer-aided design and computer-controlled machinery to cut each timber and joint to the exact size needed. The assembling process usually includes the use of a hand chisel and mallet, making a seamless blend of new and old fabrication methods. Popular Mechanics Magazine provides a detailed overview[4] of the process of building "a house with no nails."
  • The Timber Frame Guild lists publications and resources[5] about timber framing, and answers FAQs. It also provides a glossary of standard industry terms.
  • FineHomeBuilding.com presents a parts list and photographs of a student project building a 12x16-foot timber frame structure. The College of the Rockies displays a video of students learning the timber framing process[6] .
Discounts:
  • Timber-frame homes cost more to build but generally are more energy-efficient, and cost less to heat or cool.
Shopping for a timber-frame home:
  • Designing and building a timberframe home generally requires an architect/designer, a timber frame company and a general contractor. Some timber framing companies provide all these services as part of a "turn-key" (move-in ready) package. The Timber Frame Business Council provides a detailed Client's Guide for building a timber-frame home, starting with preliminary research and covering how to choose an architect, timber framing company and general contractor, as well as types of construction contracts.
  • To find a timber framing company, search[7] for local members of the Timber Frame Business Council, or check the company list[8] provided by TimberHomeLiving.com. Always ask about the type of wood used, the length of time the company has been in business, and the crew's level of experience. Make sure the company is properly bonded and insured, and licensed in your state.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.timberframe1.com/gallery/bestof
  2.  www.timbercraft.com/gallery.html
  3.  www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20231041,00.html
  4.  www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/outdoor-buildings/4213580
  5.  www.timberframersguild.org/faq.html
  6.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOUtMsoZHpw&NR=1
  7.  /connect.computility.com/directory/search.php?id=ab5fa89df128343f89e79e690876203a
  8.  www.timberhomeliving.com/category/timber-home-marketplace/companies/
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