Frequently Asked Questions
About Timber Framing
What is the difference between Log, Timber Framing, and Post and Beam?
Log buildings use logs, which are either round or squared off, stacked horizontally, creating the walls.
Post and Beam buildings are any buildings that have upright posts supporting horizontal beams.
Timber Post and Beam buildings are post and beam structures made of heavy timber, fastened with metal brackets.
Timber Framing is a specialized version of post and beam that is built like furniture, using mortise and tenon joinery, held in place with wooden pegs.
What are the benefits of a Timber Frame building?
Aesthetics. The feel of a timber frame building is one of warmth, strength and security. The quality of the woodworking is apparent everywhere you look, reminding you always of the care and craftsmanship that went into the construction of your home.
Open Floor Plan. Since there are typically no interior load bearing walls, your floor plan can be very open, and can be changed as the needs of the occupants change.
Longevity. Timber frames are structurally very sound buildings which will last hundreds of years. And unlike log homes, there are no maintenance or settling problems to worry about.
Energy Efficiency. Timber frames are usually completely enclosed in an envelope of insulated panels. These panels are more energy efficient than conventional framing and insulation methods, preventing air leaks so that heating and cooling costs are lower. Here's why timber frames are green buildings.
How much do Timber Frames cost per square foot?
This question is similar to asking, “How much does a new car cost?” The answer is: “It depends.” There are so many variables influencing this cost, that until you have a basic floor plan and rough frame design, and some ideas about the choice of wood and degree of finish and embellishment you are interested in, you will not get a very useful estimate. It can be stated, however, that the cost of a timber frame is comparable to a well-built custom home with vaulted ceilings and open space with comparable finishes.
Some builders will give a range of cost per square foot, but it is in your best interest to really understand the things that affect this range. Also, keep in mind that there are many ways to calculate square footage. Some quotes may be calculated based of square footage for heated space only; others may include garages, porches or other non-heated areas. It may or may not include the basement. If you are comparing estimates, make sure the square footage is calculated on the same basis in each case.
Cost Variables to Consider
Frame Design. The number of timbers in a design is one factor affecting the cost. The addition or deletion of timbers will change the cost of the frame. Complicated roof lines with hips and valleys also increase the cost.
Wood Selection. The choice of wood species and quality also affects the price of the frame. Green wood is less expensive than kiln dried or recycled wood. Species of timber that grow in this part of the country, such as white pine are less expensive than those that must be shipped across the country, such as douglas fir.
Frame Detailing. Architectural detailing and embellishments such as chamfered edges on the timbers, curved arches, drop pendants or carvings can add to the cost of the frame.
Frame Finish. Cost is also affected by your choice of finish. Choices may include less expensive options such as rough sawn wood, a simple stain or wash, or clear oil. A more expensive finish may include buffing and waxing, hand hewing, or sand blasting.
Additional Costs. Beyond the timber frame, you will make many choices that will affect the finished square footage cost, such as roofing, windows, flooring and cabinetry.
In the end, the most important variable in designing your timber frame home is that it feels right for you. If your budget is tight, challenge your designer to work with you to design a high quality home with comfortable, smaller spaces. In the spirit of the “not so big house”, we feel that quality is more important than quantity.
How are Timber Frames Raised?
If the structure is small enough, such as this 12x24 addition, the raising can be done by hand with a crew of friends and neighbors. For larger structures, a crane is used.
How are Timber Frames usually enclosed?
Timber frame homes are often enclosed in Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), that provide both the insulation and the exterior sheathing. Click here to learn more about SIPs.
What is the process for building a Timber Frame home?
See the getting started section of our web site.