It is easy to see why people are interested in timber frame homes, and why landowners and developers consider using this traditional method of home construction instead of stick framing or concrete. Timber frame homes are aesthetically appealing, extremely durable and long-lasting. Wood is more eco-friendly and energy-efficient than steel or masonry. With modern technology, construction of a timber home is very fast and timber frames provides many design possibilities. Timber homes are unique, custom homes and designed to last a lifetime. But is it expensive to build a timber frame home? And are there choices one can make to bring that price down? In this article, we’ll look at timber frame home kit prices and the various costs associated with timber frame homes.
What is the Average Cost of a Timber Frame Home?
Timber frame homes are not as expensive as you might think. Timber frame construction can accommodate both small or large budgets, with a wide range of wood varieties, finishes and design. Timber frames are all pre-made, test fit and broken down for shipping. Because of this, installers can reconstruct and raise the frame quickly and efficiently, saving both time and labor. The process of making a timber frame house lends itself well to the latest technological advancements, which speeds up the building phase substantially. CAD/CAM software generated the design and computer numerical control (CNC) technology converts the fame into numbers for precision machining of each timber.
As for the timber frame home cost, Hamill Creek Timber Homes offers timber frame kits and packages for homes of various sizes and designs. Timber frame home kit prices range from $30 to $250 per square foot. The cost to build a timber frame home will depend on many variables, and you can find kits for the basic frame all the way up to a ready-to-move-into home that’s complete with electrical, plumbing, flooring, roofing and all finishing.
Factors that will affect the cost of a timber home include:
- Location and Condition of the Site – Speak with a timber home specialist and tell them about the property you’re thinking of buying, its location and details about the site. They can guide you towards making the best choices. Having a timber home high in the mountains may seem like a wonderful idea but building a house in a location that’s difficult to access will add to your construction costs. Access to water and the electrical grid is also important. The more that’s already in place, the lower your final cost.
- Size of the Home – While you may have seen spectacular “showcase estates” in timber frame galleries, impressive, energy efficient timber homes are available in all sizes. Hamill Creek Timber Homes offers cozy timber frame homes as small as 514 square feet. You can choose from cabins and cottages to mid-sized ranches, two-story homes and much more. There are exciting custom designs suitable for every budget.
- Local Labor Costs – Whether you already have a homebuilder or general contractor in mind, or have your timber frame company do the construction, the cost of labor will impact the price of your new home. Labor costs can vary across the U.S. and Canada. In addition to the builder, there will be additional costs for sub-contractors.
- Architectural Design – The complexity of your timber frame house design will play a big part in the cost. A simpler design will be less expensive, while something more elaborate, such as intricate curved trusses, will cost more. Interior design and “add-ons” can also affect the cost. Outside living areas like porches or decks, garages and curving staircases add to the final price.
- Type of Wood – Some timbers are less expensive than others. Eastern white pine is less costly than an exotic wood species. In addition to white pine, the most common types of wood for timber frame construction are cedar, Douglas fir, cypress, and red or white oak.
- Timber Finishing – When designing your timber home, you can choose an option for the timber finish. Beyond smooth or surfaced, there are various finishes like rough-sawn or hand-hewn, which also add to the cost.
- Wall Construction – This is not so straightforward, so it requires careful thought. While Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) provide a wall system that is more costly than standard stud-framed walls, SIPs can deliver greater energy savings over time.
- Interior Finishing Materials – Your choice of finishing materials — for doors, windows, floors and roofing, plumbing and electrical fixtures, fireplaces, bathroom and kitchen cabinets — will also add to the price of your home.
- Building Regulations – Depending on where you’re building, there may be certain regulations that can add to the final price. It is wise to research all these “hidden costs” before designing your timber frame home.
Are Timber Frame Houses Cheaper to Build?
While premium timber will cost more than standard wood studs, and the superior insulation of SIPs versus fiberglass batting is also more expensive, there are steps you can take to reduce the cost of building a timber house. The most important choice you can make for a lower cost timber home is to keep it simple. Skip the embellishments, arched cornices, curved stairs and vaulted ceilings, in favor of a simpler design. Your timber home will still look gorgeous, and it won’t break the bank.
How Long Do Timber Frame Homes Last?
In addition to the sophistication and beauty of a timber home, this traditional method of construction is extremely durable, made to last many years. As proof of the longevity of timber structures, there are European timber homes and buildings still being used today, as well as U.S. homes from the 1600s. According to the Timber Framers Guild, timber structures date back to 200 BC. A timber home is a terrific investment.
Create your own lasting, beautiful tribute to the proud tradition of timber home construction.