What is the Difference Between a Log Home and a Timber Frame Home?

Hamill Creek   |   Jan 25, 2023

As one of the leading timber framing companies in the world, people often inquire with Hamill Creek on the differences between timber frame and log houses. While these two types of structures are closely related, there are some important variances between them.

Both timber frame and log houses are custom builds that are often considered to be “passion projects” for their owners. While timber frame and log houses cost more to build than your average home, the are both always in high demand in the real estate market.

While timber frame and log houses have many similarities, they are distinguished from one another by the unique ways that builders use wood in making the structures. 

What is the Difference Between a Log and a Timber?

Timber frame and log houses are built out of distinct types of wood – making their construction material their most defining characteristic.

A log is a large piece of unprocessed wood made directly from the trunks of trees. Conversely, timbers are made by cutting logs into precise shapes that are used for timber framing. While timbers have quite uniform shapes, logs vary greatly with the shape of the trees from which they are sourced.

Similarities Between Log & Timber Frame Homes 

Timber framework and log houses are custom-designed structures for people who want a very specific look to their homes. In North America, these types of buildings are almost always constructed in beautiful rural locations where they complement the landscape.

If you are interested in purchasing or building one of these homes, you can expect a similar process for each in getting a mortgage loan. Both timber frame and log houses are considered nonstandard properties, so you will have to go through a few extra steps to secure property insurance for either type of building.

Since both timber frame and log houses are made primarily from wood, they are both considered to be extremely eco-friendly structures. Not only are they made from a renewable resource in lumber, but both types of buildings are highly energy efficient.

Differences Between Log & Timber Frame Homes  

The most discerning factor between timber frame and log houses is the way that lumber is used when building them. With timber frame homes, shaped pieces of wood are fashioned into interior frames that are not always visible from the outside of the building, though we often do add timber detailing to the exterior such as exposed rafters, entryways, porches, and more. On the contrary, log houses are built by laying logs on their sides and stacking them one-by-one to build solid walls.

Log homes are easily identified from the outside due to their distinctive look. Because timber frame houses can be made from any assortment of materials on the exterior of the structure, they are much more difficult to recognize from afar.

Are Timber Framework Homes More Expensive than Log Homes? 

Whether it be a timber frame or log house, custom-built homes are almost always more expensive than traditional ones. Not only does building a timber frame or log house require unique skill sets on the parts of builders, but the buildings are often made from more expensive materials than average homes.

Since there are so many variables that can impact the cost of building a custom home, it’s tough to say whether a timber frame home will cost more than a log house. If you decide to use the highest quality materials for the floors, cabinets, doors, and counters, your home is going to be expensive – regardless if it is made from a timber frame or logs.

In the end, either a timber frame or a log house can be the more expensive option – it all boils down to the expertise of your chosen builder, as well as the types of materials you decide to use.

Ready to Build Your Timber Frame Dream Home? 

People enjoy working with Hamill Creek because our architects capture the essence of the lifestyle that goes into timber frame homes. In all of our timber framing projects, we work tirelessly to incorporate the beauty of the natural world into our designs. Contact Us today to start discussing your next timber frame home!

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