One of the most common questions people have when researching timber frame homes is how much do they cost? Does this style home cost more than conventionally “stick built” homes? What is the price per square foot?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the house design and what finish materials are chosen for the new home. The cost per square foot for a new timber frame home can be anywhere from an average of $200-$250 or as high as $400+ per square foot. The price per square foot estimate usually includes the exterior shell and finishing touches (does not include land or site work).
The timber frame exterior shell package usually costs more than the average stick built home package due to the high quality and energy efficient materials that go hand in hand with the building method. Most timber frame companies work with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) or a high r-value insulation system to create a thermal envelope. SIPS do cost more upfront the standard insulation used on a conventional home; however the energy efficient benefits outweigh the costs with the SIPS high r-values. Using a high r-value insulation for the thermal envelope will ultimately save you money on your heating and cooling costs and will outperform a stick built home over time. The combination of timber framing, SIPS and energy efficient doors and windows make this style home one of the most energy efficient homes today.
While this type of home will typically cost more to build, it is not unheard of for conventional homes to surpass the cost of a timber frame home. Here is an example, there are two people building a custom 2,000 square foot home; both homes offer the same square footage but have different designs and use different finish materials. Let’s say client 1 is building a conventional home. Client 1 has a more complicated design with more dormers and is choosing to add high-end finishing touches (custom kitchen cabinetry, expensive lighting, etc.). Client 2 is building a timber home and has a simple design with straight lines, no dormers and is choosing to use moderately priced finish materials. The example timber frame home’s exterior shell package may cost more, but the design and finishing touches of the example conventional home will most likely put the conventional home at a higher cost per square foot.
Overall, the cost to build any style home depends on the design of the home, shape, size, site work, building and interior finish materials used. It does not matter what method of construction you use to build your new home, if you choose high-end materials throughout your home and/or an elaborate home design, your price per square foot will be greater.