People often ask us, “How much does it cost to build a timber frame house?”
Well, that’s a little like asking, “How much does a car cost?” The price of a car can range from a few thousand dollars to a few times someone’s yearly salary. Is the car new or used? A basic model or full of bells and whistles? Built for practicality, like a Toyota, or for the person who demands luxury, like a Rolls-Royce? Many things affect the price of a car. It’s no different for the price of timber frame houses.
In general (updated for 2023), the cost of a timber frame home and SIP package is around $125 to $140 per square foot. The final turnkey cost of a timber frame home ranges from $350 to $375 per square foot. For comparison, HomeAdvisor.com lists the average price of building a home at somewhere between $100 and $200 per square foot.
So why does heavy timber construction per square foot cost more to build? A few reasons include:
- A timber frame home is almost always a custom home.
- A timber frame home takes more time to design than a conventional home. Extra attention must be paid to electrical and HVAC systems during the design process, and beams must be integrated around windows (or vice versa) in timber frame construction.
- Each timber frame must be carefully selected to do its job—both structurally and aesthetically. Considerable time and effort go into selecting and cutting each timber frame to ensure a quality final product.
Okay, you might be thinking, but what factors affect that $300 to $320 timber frame cost per square foot? A few of the variables include:
- Design: A simple timber truss design will be more affordable than a more intricate curved cord truss design, for example.
- Wood Species: Eastern White Pine is considered the entry-level wood species used in timber frame construction. Using exotic wood species will increase costs.
- Finishing of Timbers: “Surfaced” or “smooth” are the standard options for the finish of timbers. From there, choices such as a rough-sawn or a hand-hewn finish will affect cost.
- Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs): This system costs more up front than stud-framed walls, but creates cost savings in the long run.
- Building Site Location: Building in an area that is difficult to access (e.g., the side of a mountain) can increase costs.
While budget is always a consideration, it is important not to lose sight of the benefits of a timber frame home. You’re investing in a beautiful custom-built home with quality to last a lifetime—and over that lifetime, the bitterness of poor quality will last far longer than the sweetness of a low price.
Are you ready to build? Contact us today and we’ll be sure to walk you through the cost of building a timber frame house.