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How Not To Get Taken To The Cleaners On A Timber Frame Home

December 7, 2008
The spectacular natural beauty that timber frame homes boast make them a favorite for anyone who likes a rustic look that blends perfectly with a bit of upscale elegance. Unfortunately, these homes can be rather costly to build. Dont worry though! If your heart is set on a timber frame construction, there are measures you can take to save yourself some serious money along the way.

When you decide to have a timber frame home built on your own property, the opportunities for saving on expenses without sacrificing a lick of beauty or quality are almost endless. From the actual plans right down to putting counters and cabinets in the kitchen, you can cut costs to bring the total pricing of your dream home in line with your budget.

A Look At Timber Frame Homes

Timber frame homes differ in appearance from those constructed primarily of block or other building materials. In modernized designs, these homes blend wood framing, drywall, brick and even stone to create a number of different looks. The idea behind many timber frame home designs today is to blend the beauty of wood on both the inside and outside of a home with other materials such as large, open windows, finished drywall and stone.

Some common features in timber frame homes that make them stand out include:

Use of wood beams and interior framing To gain the rustic look that timber frame homes are noted for, a great deal of attention is paid to little details. Rooms, for example, will often have exposed wooden beams and framing.

Big windows Since timber frame homes happen to be quite popular in areas noted for their geographical beauty, large windows are often favored to bring the feeling of nature in and prevent a blocking of any views.

Creative use of natural and manmade materials While timber frame homes often use drywall in some areas of the home, its not uncommon to see stone or brick work walls in other areas of a home to increase the visual impact.

Open floor plans Timber frame homes are known for their spacious, open floor plans and high, vaulted ceilings.

Designs Matter

Beyond the initial land purchase, the first major expense youll run into when the desire is to build a timber frame home involves the actual blueprints. You have to have these before you can go a step further and they can cost you. There are ways, however, to get great plans without breaking your piggy bank beyond repair. The two main options are:

Buying stock plans There are companies that specialize in the creation and sale of stock plans for timber frame houses. While this might mean youll share a floor plan with a homeowner across the country, it can save you some serious cash. Before purchasing plans that are ready-made, shop around based on the actual designs, the reputation of the firms offering plans and pricing. It is vital that your blueprints be accurate for your construction project to actually result in the home of your dreams.

Starting at scratch Should you have an idea in mind for the home of your dreams, you might find sparing the expense of an architect for a custom design just isnt worthwhile. This is perfectly okay. You can still save some money by shopping for quotes from reputable, licensed architects and you can cuts costs a little further down the road to make up if you must.

Getting the plans for your dream home is the first major hurdle and expense you will face. Even if you find yourself paying full price for the blueprints, dont worry too much. There are still plenty of opportunities to save money and still have a spectacular house out of the deal!

To Kit Or Not To Kit?

If youve been looking into timber frame homes for a while, you know its possible to purchase kits for their construction. Whether this is the best route to go for quality and pricing will depend on a number of factors. To make a sound decision, consider these things:

What is included in the kit Kits for building a home are not like model plane or train kits. You will not get everything in a neat, tidy box to construct your home from the ground up. Some of the best kit purchases do include such things as the blueprints, all the wood needed, other structural materials, some finishing materials and even electrical, plumbing and lighting fixtures. Pay attention to whats included and whats not.

The pricing if you bought the items yourself Before deciding on a kit, do take the time to price out the materials on your own. It could be the kit is the best way to go. It might be, however, that you could save thousands by putting together your own materials. Keep in mind though that kits for specific blueprints often come with precut materials, which can cut down on labor costs.

Other Money Saving Opportunities

The potential for money savings when youre building your own home are almost endless. If you happen to have your own land on which the home will go, your options for cutting costs will expand greatly even with a timber frame home. The opportunities to save can be found if you:

Take on a big role in the process Property owners are able to act as their own general contractors if they so choose. This can take a huge labor expense out of the final costs. To pull this job off effectively, you will need to be able to dedicate some serious time to your construction project. As your own builder, youll need to pull building permits, hire subcontractors, schedule work, order materials and even schedule inspections. This is not an easy job, but it can save you big time on the bottom line.

Pull out your tools If youre handy with tools, you can take over some of the phases of construction yourself and cut out subcontractors along the way. Just make certain you are comfortable with the work you take on. If youre not, you could sacrifice the quality of your home and end up costing yourself more in the long run. Remember though, even the smallest of jobs can save you on the cost of subcontractors. If, for example, your home has drywall included in the plans, consider doing the painting yourself.

Do your own finish shopping If you arent very good with tools, you can still assume a big role and save yourself money by doing your own finishing materials shopping. This means buying things like your counters, cabinets, flooring and appliances. Comparison shopping and even visiting closeout and scratch-and-dent stores can help you rack up some major savings on the things you need to turn your house into a real home. To save even more, consider doing the installation of these things on your own.

Use your noggin Whether you have a general contractor oversee all the work or you do it yourself, scheduling is everything if you want to save time and money on your project. Use your noodle when picking the month you plan on starting construction. Should your project run up against a rainy, windy or snowy season, you could find yourself paying in material replacements or having to deal with long stops in work.

If you have your heart set on a timber frame home, youve made an excellent selection. The natural beauty of this style of construction is hard to top. While the materials can be costly, you can save a lot of money along the way if you take the right steps to cut corners without cutting quality.