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Author Topic: Timber frame or stick frame  (Read 22080 times)

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Offline John_Haylow

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Timber frame or stick frame
« on: October 04, 2009, 08:10:07 AM »
I am wondering what the cost difference would be for a timber frame home versus a basic 2x6 frame home also the pros and cons of each? I would be milling as much of my own material as I could for either one. I'm not familiar with timber frame and I am just trying to get informed on the basic construction process. I will start by looking through the archives.

John

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Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2009, 12:30:54 PM »
Since I haven't built a timber frame (yet) I can only give you my one cent worth. I did a lot of research into making my own timber frame, and did learn some things. If you have a source for the timbers, and the skill to cut them, your cost could be very low. Obviously, if you pay someone to do it, it's pretty expensive. Stick framing is cheap- about as cheap as you can build from store-bought materials. What discouraged me from timber framing for now is 1) In my area, the timbers have to be graded, which can be expensive, and 2) The design has to be signed off by an engineer, which could also be expensive. If I build stick and follow code, I don't even need plans, much less engineering. If I could mill my own timber (I have plenty on my land) and design it myself, without the 2 conditions above, I would go timber frame. If done right, it can last for centuries, and it has a look and feel that nothing else replicates, IMHO.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline shinnlinger

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2009, 02:15:24 PM »
Hi,

If you need graded lumber for code, you need graded lumber regardless of construction type.   With my manual mill, I quickly concluded it was cheaper to buy 2x4's from Home Depot than to make them myself

How long a stick can your WM saw????  My timber frame has 26 footers.

Are you planning on building it mostly yourself?  I would say a stick frame is easier for a one man show, but you could still do all the chisel work and have buddies come at the right moments, but you want skilled buddies that know what they are doing with ideally a crane or someone can get killed.

Insulation can be tricky with a TF also if you don't want to spend alot of $$ on SIPS.

I love timber frames, but if you $$$ is your main concern just buy a used mobile home.  ON the other hand if you want a structure that inspires than go TF...
Shinnlinger
Woodshop teacher, pasture raised chicken farmer
34 horse kubota L-2850, Turner Band Mill, '84 F-600,
living in self-built/milled timberframe home

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2009, 03:14:05 PM »
There are a lot of things to consider when asking a question like this.  I certainly cannot address all in this post, nor am I full time timberframe builder.  I do intend to build my own TF home and workshop, and have taken a couple of workshops building other frames.  Just a few of the TF pluses:
Asthetic quality of a timberframe cannot be compared to a stick build structure.  Exposed timber frame is a beautiful work of art and natural  beauty.  This surely affects value down the road, or at least the ability to be highly marketable.

Quality typical of a timberframe SHOULD be much better than typical stick building, if you have someone reputable or do the work yourself and hold a high standard.

Longevity.  With proper design and planning, you can expect a timberframe to far outlast a stick build structure.  Better materials typically accompany those building TF.

Do it yourself.  Timberframing is not some mystical inherent ability only in a few people.  Attend a good timberframe workshop to learn and you will see that if you have fair ability, you can learn to timberframe.  Many people go on to build their own structure after attending a workshop(typically a week long).
 
A timberframe can go up quickly.  While stick building usually occurs on site, a timberframe can be build at another location (each piece cut), and the pieces moved to the site and erected within a few days.  This allows the do it yourself-er the leisure of building the frame at their current home (provided you have space to work and store timbers) over their own timetable, and then being able to raise it quickly when the time comes.

Doing it yourself lowers the expenditures and thus allows more money in the project for better materials. Sips, allow for fast enclosing of the structure.  Their cost is greatly offset by the reduced labor and materials needed for typical enclosure systems, and Sips provide great insulation properties.  Many can also be ordered pre-plumbed for electrical conduit and boxes, thus saving more labor.

Timberframe requires less cutting of lumber if you intend to cut yourself.  Just think how many cuts it takes to cut beams vs. cutting many more 2X6's. 

I'm sure there's more, but I've got to get back to work outside.

 
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline John_Haylow

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2009, 04:47:07 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys. I would be hiring a contractor to do the framing either way. I would probably invest in a bed extension for the mill if going with the timber frame.

John
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Offline witterbound

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2009, 07:55:42 PM »
I'd guess the timber frame will roughly add $20 to $50 per square foot to the cost of the part of the house that is timber framed.   

Offline EmannVB

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2009, 10:52:45 AM »
John,

Another avenue to look down is a post-and-beam.  For me, it was the best of both.  I get the exposed beam beauty with the convenience of metal fasteners. 

~Mark
2006 TK B20, 2005 JD TLB 110, 2007 JD 4520, Stihl MS 390, Husqy 350, 1970 Homelite C72, Husky 22 ton splitter, Kawasaki Brute Force 750, and a King Ranch F350 to haul it all!

Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2009, 03:37:38 PM »
A third option is to use Timberlinx, which are metal post and beam fasteners, but are indistinguishable from true timber frame (unless someone sees you build it).
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 05:44:10 PM »
This is the road I was on about this time 3 years ago.
Timber frame, post and beam, ICF, Block, conventional. Its all mind boggleing. :o

In the end, it came down to I didn't have the skill or the time to learn timber frame, Cement block is too heavy [I'm Lazy] Didn't really want stick so went with ICF with the idea I would post and beam the top floor. but again the skill I would have needed just isn't in me so it's all ICF.
The First 60 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Offline moonhill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2009, 09:14:10 PM »
It is nice to know I have a skill which other do not have and don't have the inclination to learn.   ;D

I am not down grading anyones skills just an interesting observation which I don't think of much.  I don't have the slightest desire to learn dentistry either so I can under stand how some may approach something new.  I have a cavity which I am going to have filled on Thursday. :(

Thanks

Tim







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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2009, 11:56:34 PM »
I have a real hard time accepting when people say they don't have the skill.  I think there are few people who would not have the ability if they were taught well enough to have the  confidence.  There are some people who grew up without ever having to do anything mechanical or repair things, or anything with artistry, but not many like that.  In fact, even many of those people if taught properly, and if they have determination, can do more than they think.  I do accept if someone doesn't WANT to learn, or doesn't want to do it, but a skill can be  learned. 

I personally don't get the post and beam or metal fastener argument.  Is time really being saved that way?  I think when you consider the cost of the hardware, and the labor installation of the hardware, and the fact that metal hardware will react with wood over time...I think real mortise and tenon joint can be cut with the same time or labor, or nearly.  I don't think you're really saving much if any, and you lose some of the craftsmanship.  But that's just my opinion.  On a funny note, some guys I worked with picked up on my feelings towards post and beam and harassed me about it at every opportunity, such as suggesting post and beam for every project, and how it's far superior to TF. 
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2009, 04:08:55 AM »
I personally don't get the post and beam or metal fastener argument.  Is time really being saved that way?  I think when you consider the cost of the hardware, and the labor installation of the hardware, and the fact that metal hardware will react with wood over time...I think real mortise and tenon joint can be cut with the same time or labor, or nearly.  I don't think you're really saving much if any, and you lose some of the craftsmanship.  But that's just my opinion.  On a funny note, some guys I worked with picked up on my feelings towards post and beam and harassed me about it at every opportunity, such as suggesting post and beam for every project, and how it's far superior to TF. 

When people start pushing post and beam with metal fasteners to me, I remind them that it has to be constructed carefully as the hole locations and sizes have to be just right or the end of the beam will/can/could split and not hold the beam to the bracket.
There is, in my opinion, more risk with improperly installed post and beams frames then with true mortise and tenon timber framing joints.

Basically there is much to be learned and correctly understood about post and beam construction in order to correctly install it.

It is not just an easy short cut......

Of course these are my opinions, and I'm not bashing post and beam, or wanting to start an argument about it. Just stating that there are rules about how post and beam joints are constructed, and they have to be understood and properly followed for post and beam structures to be safe for all who enter.

Jim Rogers
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Offline moonhill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2009, 06:23:08 AM »
I will second all that, Post and Beam construction should yield to the tradition.  Traditional joinery should be the first choice.  I am in full agreement with Brad and Jim.  Everything has its place.  I stick build interior walls and have put bolts in splices, just for a little peace. 

Tim
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Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2009, 04:00:38 PM »
Some of us aren't getting any younger, so learning a new skill set would just delay a build that's already a few years late :D If I was a young man, I'd go to a timber frame workshop and learn the skill. I'd hunt down graded timbers, or have someone grade mine, and find the money to pay an engineer to design my frame. Unfortunately, by the time I get the opportunity to build my own house, time will be of the essence, and my old bones will only go so fast. I'm leaning towards ICF like Raider Bill. That way, all my walls will be up and done in a pretty short amount of time, and styrofoam blocks can't be all that heavy. After the house is done, and I have a paying job again, I'd like to tackle a few smaller TF projects around the place, such as a gazebo for an outdoor kitchen. A structure like that doesn't need permits or inspection in my neck of the woods, so I get around the whole graded timber/engineering issue.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2009, 04:24:35 PM »
I've got to disagree with you Brad,

Yes I would love to have the skills needed to build timber frame but I do not and did not have the time to learn these skills. My original Ideas in building my house went out the door when I saw how much additional time it would have taken me to learn not only how to cut my timbers but how to safely design and build one. Additionally I'm hundreds of miles away from my build so even had I taken a series of courses on this I could not have bought timber had it delivered to me here in Florida, made my cuts then delivered to Tenn for assembly and raising. Doing it all in Tenn simply was not a option.

I consider myself a somewhat handy guy but I also know my limitations.

I am very envious of the skills you, Qweaver, Jim Rogers, thehardway and others have learned but I suspect none of you were born with these skills. they were hard learned through various means hard work and dedication.

I myself still like the timber frame using heavy black metal exposed plates as fasteners. I know this is blaspermy to most but I like what I like. I still wish I had done this and will moron likely never really be 100% happy with my place because I didn't.
I also know that even that style of build takes a lot of knowledge which I don't have nor do I foresee myself learning it in the future although I would love to it's probaley not in the cards.


John, ICF blocks are about 5 lbs each!
The First 60 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Offline bigshow

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2009, 07:48:59 PM »
i'm 1/2 way through building my own timberframe.  I think the pro's speak for themselves.  Here are the biggest cons I've experienced (so far...):

1. Raising - if you dont have 20-50 friends that are reliable - add 5-15k to the project cost for crane time depending on frame size, design, and how many people you have helping/knowing what they're doing.

2. SIPS - lordamercy.  pricey.  Or, brace the ever living bejeebers out of that frame, and skin it with 2x6, blown in cellulose, and 2" rigid over that. That isnt too much cheaper than SIPS, but still.

3. Bank/Appraiser will not care its a timberframe, energy efficient, or a work of art.  Dont expect to get any extra money if you need a mortgage - quite the opposite actually.  But, this will be the same for anything you do for a better house.  I think if you told the appraiser that the timbers were vinyl, the siding was vinyl, you'll burn vinyl for heat - I bet they'll value the home at 10 million dollars.

yeah I'm bitter about some of it.  would i do this again?  yup.
I never try anything, I just do it.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2009, 11:41:43 PM »
Raider Bill,   I'm not so sure that we disagree.  You have very valid reasons for going the direction you have or will go.  And I wouldn't have much problem with post and beam if done properly as Jim points out.  I'd probably even love it if done with craftsmanship and style.   The only thing I object to is post and beam being put forward as much easier or cheaper than a conventional timber frame.  As Jim points out, we don't think it is. 

As far as the "skill" issue, you made my point.  I object to those implying that the skill is something born in to only certain people.  I say it is not, that most can learn if they want to learn or want to take the time to learn.  You have admitted that your issue is time, logistics etc, all valid.  But I still think that you would have the ability to acquire the skill or knowledge if you so desired.  Same goes for scgargoyle, your reasons are valid ones, but I still think you would have the ability to learn the skill, if you were so inclined. 

Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2009, 08:11:02 AM »
Brad I agree I could learn the skill but time and logistics were against me. Someday I hope to be able to take a timber frame course and use it. Hopefully Jim Rogers will be my teacher.
I don't think anyone is born with the skills and knowledge you guys have. Some are born with whatever gene it takes to be a craftsman/artist but not all. The technical knowledge can only be obtained through training and or experiance. Like anything mechanical or trade related some got it some never will.
To me it's likes the bed Jeff built, He's got the eye, took a walk in the woods, saw some twisted bent trees and a beautiful bed was made. Me I'd see firewood never suspecting that bed was sitting right before my eyes.
It takes a special person to have the vision, My hat's off to you that do.
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Offline scgargoyle

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2009, 03:58:39 PM »
I have every confidence that I could cut a timber frame right now, but it would take me a long time. I'm a life-time tool maker, and I've been doing wood working ranging from construction to boats to furniture most of my life as well. I did seriously consider cutting my frame here in FL (I have a good source for reasonable cypress timbers right here in town) and then hauling it to SC and raising it. There's even a chance I may do that yet- nothing's been decided yet. One problem I have is that the equity in our current home has taken a huge hit in the last couple years, and that's pretty much the only money I have to build with. I've re-designed our future home several times to cut the costs. I won't really know what my budget will be until we sell the house. If I do any TF on the house, it would only be one room, such as a great room.
I hope my ship comes in before the dock rots!

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: Timber frame or stick frame
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2009, 06:01:56 PM »
You will not be disappointed with a ICF lower / timber frame upper!

John,

Don't you just love how far our property values have fallen here? :'(
The First 60 years of childhood is always the hardest.


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