ANSWERS TO FIVE COMMON QUESTIONS
1. How much does timber framing add to the cost of my project?
Typically you will find that adding 15% to 20% to the cost of a custom built home will take care of the timber framing portion. Every home design is different—every budget is ‘gray’. Homestead Timber Frames strives to provide you with the best timber frame design your budget allows. Timber Frame Pavilions are not ‘bolted together pressure treated 4×4’s’. They are well-designed structures featuring handsome joinery that are engineered to withstand the elements of your region such as snow loads, wind loads, etc. Remember, ‘When you buy quality, you only cry once.’
2. What wood species does Homestead Timber Frames recommend and use?
White Oak is traditional for interior timber framing in homes and barns. Our joiners love working oak for a variety of reasons and the natural color is very pleasing to the eye. Spanning wide spaces is difficult using this species, so Douglas Fir has become the alternate choice. We use both in our projects.
For our exterior timber frame structures we recommend Bald Cypress as it’s rot-resistant and weathers to a nice gray over time with little to no maintenance. Occasionally we have used Western Red Cedar for small projects.
3. How much time should I allow in design before my desired ‘move-in’ date?
From our first meeting to discuss your project, through the design stages, to the completion of your construction drawings (which you need before you break ground), through the actual building phase, to finally your move-in date, you should allow at least one year. The design phase alone can take up to six months depending on the size of the project. Scheduling the time in our shop is a consideration as well as your contractor’s schedule. There are times when both are very busy. A year gives us all time to make sure everything meets your approval, for you to get your finances in order and to meet your desired target date of living in your new home!
4. What’s the difference between a hand-crafted timber frame and a machine-cut timber frame?
Handcrafting a timber frame is much like building fine furniture. Our joiners can choose timbers for certain spots in your project that ‘match’, such as attractive curved braces surrounding a fireplace. They can add carvings or certain chamfer styles that embellish the edges of featured areas in your home. Live edged timbers with natural curves can be added to the design and scribed into the timber frame assemblies. Handcrafted timber frames are built by artistically inclined joiners using a craft that is thousands of years old. They actually consider each timber that goes into your project with an eye towards aesthetics.
A machine-cut frame is just like it says. The design (shop drawings) is put into the CNC computer, the timbers are fed into one end, they are precision-cut by the machine and come out the other end, stacked and loaded onto a truck and delivered to you without much human handling.
There’s a place for both techniques—sometimes a blend. At HTF we listen to your budget parameters, space requirements and timber finish to advise you on which technique provides you with the best product for your investment.
5. What’s your area of service?
Technically HTF offers our services nationwide. Most of our projects are built within a 250-mile radius of our shop. A number of our clients who want a timber frame home may live 500+ miles away, but are moving to our region which is still easy to coordinate. The design process is handled via phone calls, emails, shared photos and usually at least one shop visit. Our timber frame homes are commonly raised by the same crew of joiners who built it.
Pavilions are in a different category as they have been shipped far and wide. These designs can be fairly simple to undertake provided the exchange of information is adequate. If you have access to a good crew, then we can send a ‘Raising Advisor’ to help make the raising smoother and the project costs a bit less for small pavilions. On large pavilions we recommend using our raising crew.