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Cost to Build a Timber Frame House – How Much Is It?

Cost to Build a Timber Frame House – How Much Is It?

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 2024), the cost of a timber frame home and SIP package is around $150 to $170 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.

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