Monday, February 16, 2009

Five Tips to Building Your Timber Frame Home Within Budget

You’ve established your budget for your new timber home and your architect and builder say it can be built for that amount – but how do you stay true to that magic number? There are several things you can do to help you stay within your budget during the home design process:

1. Divide the total budget by the square footage of your timber frame house, and stay within that dollar amount for each square foot of space. Work with your timber frame architect and builder to stay within allowances.

2. Keep the home design simple. If you have a tight budget, keep the design straightforward and uncomplicated. Dormers and complicated roof systems add significant cost. Minimize the home’s footprint. Instead of a sprawling one story home, reduce the footprint by shrinking the floor plan and adding a second story. This doesn’t mean your timber frame design has to be a box – unless, of course, you want one.

3. Consider a hybrid home by combining building methods; i.e. use timber framing in public areas (great room, dining room, and kitchen) and use SIP panel construction or conventional material in other areas.

4. Glazing = $$$. Windows are a huge expense and come in a variety of designs, styles, and energy efficiency ratings. For residential and light commercial projects, aluminum clad wood windows are the preferred choice. To stay within budget, work with standard window sizes, avoiding oversized, custom units. Beware: hardware upgrades can be costly.

5. List your priorities and allocate amounts to each room or system. If it’s your heart’s desire to have a cathedral timber frame great room with a wall of windows, you can allocate a larger amount of money for that area and limit spending in other areas (perhaps on fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms).

Your timber frame architect and builder are knowledgeable in the many materials and systems that go into your timber frame home. They will be able to offer comparisons on materials, including their costs and life cycles (for example, a metal roof that will last 40 years but cost more up front vs. a shingle roof that will last 25 years but cost less), so you can make educated decisions which will affect your bottom line.

Knowing all of your options will make it easier to stay within budget on your timber frame project - and, with careful planning, you can have a beautiful, energy efficient timber frame home within your budget.

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