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What Is the Best Foundation for a Timber Frame House?

Hamill Creek   |   May 30, 2024

Foundations are one of the most important parts of a home. All quality homes need a strong foundation. But there are multiple ways to build a foundation, so it’s not as simple as saying you need a good foundation. You also need the right type of foundation for your specific home.

Let’s look at some of the most common types of foundations used in custom timber frame home builds. That way, you can make an informed decision on the best foundation for a timber frame house and feel confident about your upcoming construction project.

Factors to Consider About Foundations

There are some factors you should always consider before choosing a foundation, including:

Soil Type

Some soils are compact and bear weight fairly well, while others are quite loose and are not appropriate for bearing the full weight of a home. You need to know what amount of weight your particular soil can handle before you can decide on the right type of foundation.

Budget Constraints

Most home builders opt for the “just right” type of foundation regarding budget constraints. Typically, the more weight-bearing capacity a foundation has, the more expensive it is. Fortunately, homes that are built primarily of timber don’t usually require a heavy-duty, expensive foundation the same way a brick or stone home would.

Building Codes

Building codes are specific about what type of timber frame foundation is allowed in different areas for safety reasons. It’s important to reference your local building codes before choosing a foundation type because there may be some types that are illegal to use. Fortunately, building codes can be useful for deciding what the best foundation for a timber frame house in your area is.

What Type of Foundation is Needed for a Timber Frame?

The best foundation for a custom timber frame home can vary depending on different circumstances. Would a post and pier foundation be best? Or perhaps a crawlspace foundation? To determine the right timber frame foundation for your needs, first, you need to know what your choices are. They include:

Concrete Slab

A concrete slab is usually the most affordable option amount foundations for timber frame construction. As long as the ground is level enough, it’s fairly inexpensive to pour a concrete slab that will support custom timber frame homes.

However, it can be more difficult and expensive to try and pour a slab on a slop. Slabs can be cold in the winter as well, and they require careful planning to run all of your plumbing and wiring into the home.

Full Basement

A full basement is one of the most popular types of foundations for timber homes, especially if you are building on a slope. Depending on the slope you can build so that your basement looks out onto the exterior landscape and add considerable square footage to the home.

Piers and Beams

If you are wondering what a pier and post foundation is, you are not alone. This type of foundation is uncommon in some parts of the country. But if you are building on a slope, or you want to create space under the home, a post and pier foundation can be ideal. This type of foundation uses concrete piers poured into the ground with posts attached and extending above the ground to elevate structures.

Crawl Space

A crawlspace foundation uses piers, beams, and a short exterior wall to create a space under the home to access pipes and other necessary components. Including a crawl space under the home makes it easier to install electrical and plumbing and ensures you can access these things when repairs are needed.

How long do crawl space foundations last? They can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. While they are not as durable as a concrete slab, they can be kept clean and in good working order for many decades with proper maintenance. Just remember, moisture and pests can become a problem in crawl spaces so you should plan for some periodic upkeep if you choose this option.

What is the Strongest House Frame?

Concrete and steel are the strongest materials used to frame homes. However, timber frames built on high-quality foundations like the ones listed above are still quite strong. Certainly strong enough to last for multiple lifetimes with proper upkeep.

At Hamill Creek, we are here to support you in constructing a premium timber frame home from start to finish. Reach out to our team for additional details, assistance, and details on the best foundation for a timber frame house.

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