Frequently Asked Timber Frame Questsions


What type of structures can be built with a timber frame?

Timber frames are suitable for almost any style and shape of building, both residential and commercial. The open, airy timber frame construction can adapt to any large space such as a grand private home, public library or riding arena. Yet at the same time, the warmth of natural wood creates private personal spaces such as a spa, restaurant or cottage. Besides homes, other structures perfect for timber frames include:

  • Wineries and breweries
  • Restaurants
  • Wedding and event venues
  • Community centers
  • Schools and universities
  • Golf courses
  • Retail spaces
  • Party barns

What elements make up timber frame homes?

There are many elements that make up timber frame homes. Let’s look at a few:

  • Timbers are the wooden beams that create the home’s frame. The upright timbers are called the posts. A timber frame home is fully constructed of the upright/vertical posts and horizontal beams.
  • Crossbeams connect the post beams together and give the structure stability. The location where two beams come together is called a joint.
  • Joints are connected with mortise and tenons and secured with wooden pegs. There are many kinds of joints, ranging from simple to complex. Common ones include lap joints, mortise and tenon joints, and dovetailed and pegged joints.
  • Trusses are rigid triangle of timbers. A truss provides support for the roof but also allows for column-free floor space, typically on the top floor of a structure.

What are the practical advantages of timber frame homes?

A timber frame home requires little maintenance and will still be beautiful, structurally sound and energy efficient 100 years from now.

What types of wood are used in the construction of timber frame homes and timber framed buildings?

At Mid-Atlantic Timber Frames, we insist on the best-grade lumber available. Our timber frame homes and timber framed buildings are constructed mainly from Douglas Fir, Eastern White Pine, Red Cedar and Oak. However, we can work with a custom wood preference.

What is the usual timeframe for building timber frame homes?

Building a custom home will always take time, but a Mid-Atlantic Timberframes home is usually quicker to construct than a traditional stick-built home. Timber is delivered to our workshop within a month of ordering, and an average timber frame home requires around two months of processing.

Are timber frame homes “green”?

Timber frame homes from Mid-Atlantic Timberframes are built with sustainable practices and remain among the most environmentally-friendly houses available. Our timbers come from well-managed forests and are custom-cut from a variety of sources. Each Mid-Atlantic Timberframes home is constructed to accommodate energy-efficient foam-core panels that make the home between 30% more efficient than a conventional house. Timber frame homes require little maintenance. We use passive design techniques to take advantage of natural climate to maintain thermal comfort, so the home can be affordably heated and cooled.

What are structural insulated panels (SIPs)?

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a high performance building panel system made up of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically strand board (OSB). If you combine them when you build timber frame homes, they create the outer shell of a timber frame home. Thus, providing structural integrity and resulting in an energy efficient and cost effective timber frame.

How much does it cost to build a timber frame home?

The cost of a timber frame generally runs between $50K and $150K depending on the size and complexity of the timber frame design. In general, the final turnkey cost for a custom home that includes timber frames runs between $200 and $225 per square foot. For a better idea on the timber frame home cost, be sure to fill out our contact form with your budget. The more complex of a design and higher end finishes to the timber frame home plan, will result in the cost per square foot of your timber frame home being greater. Not sure if you’re able to finance a timber frame home? Read our blog post all about financing your new timber frame home.

What factors affect the final cost of a timber frame house?

The cost of building your new timber frame house depends on choices you make: materials, architectural details, design complexity and selected Homebuilder or General Contractor. Site conditions and location are also important cost factors when building your timber frame house. We provide some more reasons in a blog post.

When will I know the costs?

We can provide a bid based on your complete timber frame home plans, or we can develop plans for you and provide a preliminary estimate to show the timber frame house cost. Timber frame house costs will vary from project to project.

Is a timber frame home within budget?

Before starting the process of designing a timber frame home, it’s best to know your budget—or at least a ballpark budget. Timber frame home prices vary due to the custom-build aspect of them, and they do cost more to build than stick-built houses. Here are 4 ways to save on the cost of a timber frame home:

  • Land & the accessibility for timber frame construction
  • Design complexity & attainable timber frame home plans
  • Hybrid vs. full timber
  • Species of timbers based on budget

If you aren’t sure where to begin in determining your budget based on timber frame cost per square foot, please contact our team today.

Do you supply timber frame home plans?

If you don’t have an idea for what sort of timber frame floor plans you’re looking for, Mid-Atlantic Timberframes has partnered with MossCreek to offer ready to purchase timber frame home plans. What’s great about MossCreek home plans are that they can be easily modified. They have streamlined the process of deciding on what sort of timber frame home plans you’d want. Not interested in prefabricated timber frame home plans? We can customize a home plans that’s right for you.

What is a timber frame “hybrid design”?

A timber frame hybrid design is when part of the building is timber framed and other spaces are usually constructed with conventional methods. Many of our projects are hybrid timber frame designs or hybrid timber frame homes.

What is the difference between log, timber frame, and post and beam construction?

Log buildings have the logs, which are either round or squared off, stacked horizontally, creating the walls. Post and beam construction are any buildings that have upright posts supporting horizontal beams. Timber post and beam construction are post and beam structures made of timber, held with metal brackets. Timber frame is a specialized version of post and beam that is built like furniture, using mortise-and-tenon joinery, held in place with wooden pegs. Our blog post goes more in depth on the difference in order for you to educate yourself.

What is the difference between mass timber and heavy timber construction?

Mass timber is a framing style that uses large solid wood panels for wall, floor, and roof construction, which are typically panelized and engineered. This includes a product called cross-laminated timber (CLT), which consists of layers of lumber that are oriented to one another and then glued together to form structural panels. These panels provide exceptional strength, dimensional stability, and rigidity. Whereas heavy timber construction is a building method that uses large, rustic, heavy timbers that are joined together with traditional mortise and tenon joinery. While heavy timber construction is still a form of timber framing, it specifically refers to larger building structures not timber frame homes.

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