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Pros and Cons of Using Your Own Timber

July 20, 2023
should you use your own timber for timber frame construction

Using your own timber to build your timber frame home is a great idea. But as with all things, there are pros and cons of doing so. This article is going to outline a few of these to help you make an educated decision. Which trees do I cut down? How do I know what is best and where do I start? All good questions and we are here to help you with them.

Timber framing is a perfect process for someone who values a fine custom product. We have always been known as a company that lets you sit behind the wheel of your project, start to finish. We empower you to make the big decisions throughout the building process, from planning to even using your timber. Take it from us - nothing says "custom" more than using your timber.

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Our team enjoys watching as you take the lead and drive the process for your project. From beginning the design process to driving the pegs, we want you to enjoy every step of the journey. This includes determining which timbers you will want to have your structure built out of. Wood species can be confusing and we have addressed that in another of our blogs. We want to talk today about using your own timbers and how to get there from here.

Choosing your timbers wisely

In the bigger picture, using your timber for your build can be a double-edged sword. Below we've listed three pros and three cons of using your timber for a timber frame project.

The Pros of Using Your Own Timber

  • It's a Great Personal Touch: As we mentioned above, nothing says "custom" more than using your timber for your timber frame project. If you have the right kind of timber for a project on your land, harvesting it and having it milled for your timber frame structure is a fitting use for it. By doing so, you'll be putting the best personal touch possible on your property.
  • It Can Cut Down On Expenses: When we choose and mill the timbers for your project, it's added cost that can make your project a little more expensive than you'd hoped. If you're a client who has your own timbers and the ability to mill them, such as having a portable or fully-functional sawmill, then using them can cut down on some of the expenses involved in bringing your vision to life.
  • It's a Perfect Use of Available Resources: Have you been looking to clear space on your property for any reason? Those trees you're taking out might just be the best resource you have available for your timber frame project. Putting the trees you've just taken down to good use for your timber frame structure is the best way to ensure that they'll live on as something other than firewood, scrap, wood, or wood chips.

The Cons of Using Your Own Timber

  • Choosing a Species That Isn't Preferable For Building: There are very specific types of timber that work best for certain timber frame structures. For instance, white oak is a strong, durable hardwood that can provide a house frame that'll stand for decades. If you're looking to build a home that will last, but all you have available on your property is a softer wood species that isn't conducive to home building, then you'll need to have the timber purchased. Of course, you can purchase it yourself, but you'll be adding a significant expense. Speaking of significant expenses...
  • It Can Raise Expenses: Let's say you have your timber, but you don't have the ability or tools to mill it on your own. To make the timber workable, you will have to find a nearby sawmill to mill the wood for you. Some mills are less expensive than others, but needing to have the timber cleared (that's another big expense) and milled by a commercial sawmill will raise the cost to a comparable level, if not higher, to what it would be if we procured the timber and had it milled for you.
  • It Can Leave a Massive Footprint on Your Property: Having an abundance of trees on your property doesn't always mean you should use them for timber. The only reason you should have trees harvested at all is if you're already looking to clear space on your land for a new addition or to make space for any reason at all. If you don't want to carve space into desirable woodland that'll stay empty for a decade or two, it's best to have the timber purchased.
Larch forest logs

If you are still questioning whether or not you should use your timber for your timber frame project? Please give us a call with any questions regarding the process of selecting the perfect timbers for your project. We're always happy to do what we can to help you select the right materials for your timber frame project.

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