Are timber frame homes more expensive than log homes?

Log houses are usually more expensive than timber-framed houses. This is because a solid piece of log wall is more expensive than a wooden beam and insulation. Most timber-framed houses cost more than most houses But, again, that's a short and not very helpful answer. There is a fairly large range of prices in log houses.

There is also a price range in timber-framed houses, but not such a large range. The vast majority of log houses built are ground “production houses”. Highly handmade log houses built from massive logs, and with handmade roof systems, etc., are probably as expensive as a timber frame house. The biggest difference between timber frame houses and other log houses is the flexibility of the design.

Where log cabins are composed of horizontally stacked logs, wooden frames are post and beam houses. These homes require a wooden structure (or skeleton) of vertical posts that support horizontal beams using mortise and tenon joints to join the wood. This interlocking frame supports the weight of the home, eliminating the need for load-bearing interior walls and creating open living spaces. The two biggest differences between timber-frame and log houses are structural frames and the flexibility of the design of the walls.

The main difference between log houses and wooden houses is how they use wood. As a result, they achieve a very different look. And because wooden houses can use a variety of exterior materials that have nothing to do with the interior, they may not be recognizable as wooden houses, whereas log houses are almost always identified as such, although fewer logs can be seen inside. In general, log houses have a horizontal profile, and wooden houses are vertical.

These trends are a result of the way the logs are placed and the post frame and beam are lifted. Most custom homes, whether wooden or log houses, will cost 10% to 30% more than an equivalent conventionally built structure. Many of the people who are attracted by the striking appearance of timber frame houses may also be interested in log houses. Using conventional construction techniques, and then doing additional things to create the same personal value, raises the cost to the same level as a log or timber structure.

Typically, the least expensive of the three options is timber framing because timber frame houses have timbers only inside the house with fewer exposed exterior timbers. If you want to try to make apples out of apples (or at least something close), try to consider whether you get any aesthetic, spiritual, or simply feel-good value from a log or wooden house. If you really want a timber frame and log home, you'll likely have to spend more than you think on a conventionally built home to get a kind of “equal value. The timber-framed construction also allows the creation of large spacious rooms inside the house with window walls that allow unobstructed views of the land, lake or mountains.

By the way, although timber framing is a very old trade, yesterday's timber-framed houses were a far cry from the open-plan houses with cathedral-like roofs that many people associate with timber structures today. The cost-saving benefits of SIPs extend over the lifespan of the timber-framed home in the form of exceptional energy efficiency and increased safety features. The timber frame is a specialized version of posts and beams that relies heavily on manual labor to shape timbers and create mortise and tenon carpentry that is held in place with wooden pegs. This dramatic inside-out perspective for & family guests is the “WOW factor” that separates most wooden frame designs from.

Serena Uccello
Serena Uccello

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