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Calculate the Cost of Your Dream Timber Frame Home

Posted on Jan 5, 2018

How much do timber frame homes cost to build?
Can I compare the cost to build different timber frame homes?
How can I calculate the cost to build my dream home?

These questions have undoubtedly crossed your mind if you are considering building an authentic timber frame home. You need facts and figures to plan your budget and establish design expectations.

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How much will your timber frame home cost to build?

To begin with, because you intend to build a timber frame home, the cost will be more than a conventionally framed house. How much more? Many home renovation websites estimate that timber frame homes cost ten to twenty percent more than a typical home. Yet, since many people are building their dream homes, the cost for a timber home sometimes inflates beyond this approximation.

What factors affect the cost of your timber frame home?

Size of Home and Type of Spaces

As the size of your home increases, so does the amount of material and labor needed to build it. But, the type of square footage will also affect the cost of your dream home. In essence, square footage can be divided into liveable area, garages, and outdoor spaces. Liveable square footage costs more than garages, unfinished basements, or outdoor spaces.

Timber Frame Home Cost and Complexity
Footprint Complexity

Design Complexity

While square footage is always important, the more elaborate your design becomes– the more your home will cost. For example, one element of design complexity is your home’s footprint. Footprint refers to its shape on the ground. A home with four corners has a less complex footprint. This means it is easier to build and therefore less costly than building a home designed with 30 corners.

Timber Framing and Wood Species

Though not as significant as your home’s size or complexity, the amount of timber framing you want is also a factor. The amount of timber framing in a timber frame home is referred to as “density.” And, the amount and intricacy of your home’s timber frame impacts your home’s cost. The wood species you select and the cost to ship your timber frame from the shop to your build site is negligible in comparison to the other cost factors.


Finishes generally include flooring, fixtures, appliances, and exterior materials. Your decision to opt for modest finishes, like Hardie board siding and GE appliances, or luxury elements, such as real stone and Wolf appliances, will affect the cost to build your home. However, do not fall into the trap of thinking you can lower your cost by choosing lower-end finishes. Acquiring the finishes you need to complete you homes does have a significant cost.

Build Location

Where you plan to build effects construction costs. In remote locations, labor and materials are harder to get and cost more. The demand for builders in popular destinations, like ski resort towns and lakes, can increase labor costs as well.

How can you compare the cost to build different timber frame homes?

The building industry commonly uses the cost-per-square-foot statistic. It’s easy to calculate; divide the cost of a home by its square footage. Many timber frame home builders follow the industry standard and offer cost-per-square-foot estimates to show what it costs to build a timber frame home.

However, when comparing cost-per-square-foot, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Is the timber frame company providing a cost-per-square-foot for the turnkey cost or the package price of your home?

‘Turnkey’ usually refers to the total cost of building a home, not including land purchase or site improvements. The term comes from the idea of a homeowner ‘turning the key’ of their finished home.

Package or kit prices usually only include the products that the timber frame company is offering to sell you. Some companies’ packages may only include the timber frame itself while others may provide additional materials and services. It is extremely hard to compare package prices as each one is different. In addition, companies that provide packages or kits may charge extra fees to customize your design.

It is important to get a total estimated cost to build, not just a material package price, because the turnkey cost is the number you need to match to your budget. This will help you easily compare designs to each other. In addition, talking in turnkey terms helps set realistic expectations about the relationship between your dream home and your budget.

How can you calculate the cost to build your timber frame dream home?

how much does a timber frame home cost

Start by getting an idea of what you like, the level of customization you want, and the space you need. Then contact someone who builds those kinds of homes. Tell them where you plan to build. They should be able to give you an approximate cost-per-square-foot for turnkey construction.

Riverbend offers a free cost analysis to help you better understand what it might cost to build the timber frame home you are envisioning. Fill out our questionnaire about your dream home and one of our knowledgeable client representatives will email with information about what it will cost to build.

Not quite ready to discuss your future timber frame home? Watch our 45-minute webinar, What Will My Timber Frame Home Cost?, that dives into the details of each cost factor.

Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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