Timber frame homes are beautiful to look at and amazingly comfortable to live in. No wonder, then, that so many people are choosing to build their dream house with a timber frame rather than opting for a conventional building method.
Timber frame homes were the first houses American settlers built back in the 1600s. As a testament to their endurance, some of them are still standing today. Since then, of course, technology has helped builders and craftsmen produce even sturdier, energy-efficient, and highly customizable timber frame designs.
Timber framed homes, however, have a reputation for being an expensive solution. So, how true is this claim?
Are Timber Frame Homes More Expensive?
While timber homes are not necessarily more expensive than conventional construction, there are three factors that can raise construction costs.
Superior Quality Wood
A timber frame home is built with external load-bearing walls and internal timber frames that hold the whole structure together.
For maximum support and safety, timber frame producers choose the sturdiest and best wood available, such as cedar, Douglas fir, cypress, and various types of oaks. High-quality wood ensures the endurance of the foundation, roof, and walls and gives the house a longer lease of life.
As a result, though, the price of building a timber frame home fluctuates depending on the price and choice of wood.
Timber frame homes are characterized by exquisite craftsmanship. Carpenters, wood designers, and craftsmen carve the wood. They then assemble all the parts in the assembly yard to make sure all parts fit snuggly with each other. Finally, the kit is disassembled and reassembled at the construction site.
This kind of first-rate craftsmanship takes time, effort, and expertise to achieve, which may lead to a slightly more expensive price for a timber frame home.
Modern technology lets us construct timber frame homes that maximize energy efficiency. Most modern timber frames are built with SIP insulation (Structural Insulated Panels) in the outer walls. While SIPs provide optimal insulation and exceptional energy efficiency, they can be more expensive than standard insulation.
Even so, as log and timber frame home constructors, we advise our clients not to skip on insulation because they will benefit greatly from it in the long run, in terms of lower energy and heating bills.
Thankfully, there are many other things you can do to lower the construction cost while still enjoying the beauty and fine craftsmanship of wood and timber.
How Can I Lower the Cost of a Timber Frame Home?
Make Your Home Smaller
The easiest way to lower the overall cost of a timber frame home is by building a smaller house. Many times homeowners build homes that end up being too big. Before you choose a home design, evaluate carefully how much space you really need. You may discover you can live just as comfortably in a smaller house!
Plan for Future Expansion
Another possibility is that you need a smaller home now but will need a larger one in the future. Thankfully, you can design a larger home but only build part of it. Place the foundations and make all the necessary arrangements for future construction, while leaving the actual timber frame construction for later. Move into the finished part, thus saving funds, until you are ready to complete the construction.
Build Some Home Parts Conventionally
You can choose to build parts of your home like the garage, shed, or a guest suite in a conventional way. You can make these parts indistinguishable from the rest of the house by choosing a hybrid construction method, where you put decorative timber touches to create a unified look.
Don’t Customize Your Design
The beauty of a timber frame home is that you can customize everything. Because the external walls are the only load-bearing ones, you can adjust the internal design to create larger rooms, a more spacious kitchen, or an open living room.
Some customizations, however, can increase the overall cost of your home because the timber, windows, doors, and other construction elements must be built according to specifications. If you choose a ready-made kit instead of customizing every aspect of the design, you can save a significant percentage of the overall cost.
Forego Embellishments and Complex Design Features
With such a flexible construction material as timber, it’s no wonder prospective homeowners want to create a completely unique home. Some custom construction aspects, however, could increase your overall budget.
Embellishments, carved staircases, trusses, arched cornices, and cathedral ceilings are undeniably beautiful. Unfortunately, they can also be very expensive because of the craftsmanship involved and the expertise required to make them.
To make sure you stay within your budget, we suggest you choose one or two design elements that speak to your heart and opt for simpler, more straightforward designs for the rest of your home.
Kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, floors, and windows can greatly increase the cost of building a home, whether it’s a conventional or a timber frame one.
For example, when you choose your timber finish, you can choose a smooth, rough-sawn, or hand-hewn finish. The more labor is required, the more expensive the timber finish will be.
Likewise, if your windows have a particular shape, you could be facing a higher expense to construct, insulate, and install them. A kitchen with custom cabinets or bathrooms with intricate wood details could also increase your budget.
Timber Frame Homes Are Adjustable. That’s Their Beauty!
Timber frame homes can be slightly more expensive than conventional buildings in some cases. Thankfully, one big appeal of a timber frame home is how customizable it is: with just a few adjustments, it can fit any need and budget. For a budget that can handle a little extra, their superior craftsmanship and high-quality timber can easily justify a small price difference.
Timber frame homes deliver durability, energy efficiency, and beauty. They can match any architectural design to let you build your dream home. Learn more about Timber Frame homes, contact Frontier Log Homes online, or call now 970-249-7130 to let Frontier Log Homes, the industry leader in award-winning log cabin kits, build your dream log home.