Timber frame kits have been exploding in popularity recently, fueled in no small part by the surge of people looking to move off-grid to a cabin or house they build themselves. This has also led to so many more timber frame companies starting up and beginning to take orders from customers. With this significant influx of companies offering timber frame kits, it can be intimidating to find one that can be counted on to produce a quality kit.
We’ve looked at some of the most reputable companies that are offering kits, and given you an overview of each one. Some may be more suitable to the style you want, and some may even be local to you, but what’s most important is that you get exactly the kit you need for the house of your dreams.
If you’re also looking into log cabin kits check out these articles:
What Is A Timber Frame Kit?
A timber frame kit is a building that has had much of the frame building happen off-site. The frame components are measured, cut, and partially assembled in the production facility then delivered to the construction site.
The partial prefabrication of the frame allows it to be raised quickly, and often by fewer people than otherwise. Sometimes they can also be assembled with less site preparation as well. While they will still need professional experience to put them together, they are an incredible head-start on your new home.
What Should You Be Looking For In A Timber Frame Kit?
Before you commit to spending a ton of money on your timber frame kit, you should make sure you consider a few things.
What Comes In The Kit?
This is an important question to know the answer to, particularly when you look at the amount of money you’ll be putting down on your kit. Turnkey kits will essentially be everything you need to put up the house, minus plumbing and electrical components. They will typically have the frame, shell, and some interior components as well.
Some kits will be just the shell, which will consist of the frame and the outer coverings like roof decking and exterior walls. Most minimalist kits will consist only of the frame components themselves and will need considerable additional supplies and construction to make them livable.
Most people aren’t going to be looking for a cookie-cutter home, so you should be on the lookout for any potential options that might be available. Options to customize your kit might include lean-to or covered lean-to options, additional stories, and porches or decks. In some cases, you may even have your choice of woods, finishes, and joinery.
While you may think that anyone selling plans and kits for a home would have their kits approved by structural engineers or architects, in many cases that simply isn’t true. Sometimes, before erecting any framework you must have the plans and blueprints approved by a third party. However, this is rare and usually only seen with very new companies that may be considered less-than-legitimate operations.
Once you decide on a kit, you have to get it to where it’s going to be assembled. In many cases the company selling the timber frame kit will have a freight solution, however, it’s not a guarantee. Be sure you know ahead of time what the shipping options are and how much they are going to cost.
Sustainable Business Practices
This is important in the timber frame business, since your kit will be made from a natural resource you should do what you can to ensure the wood was sourced sustainably.
The Top 5 Timber Frame Companies
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes
One of the most well-known and respected timber frame kit producers in the US is PrecisionCraft. In addition to a wide variety of layouts that can be altered and customized, they also allow you to design your home from scratch, which is not a common feature among timber frame kit builders.
They market themselves as a total home solution provider and have three different levels of kit available. Level one is customers who already have a builder, level two will have them help you find a builder, and level three is where PrecisionCraft builds the entire house for you.
The Barn Yard & Great Country Timber Frames
The Barn Yard has been building homes since 1984 and is located in New England where they currently produce timber frame kits. They are a mid-sized company that operates almost exclusively in New England and on the east coast.
Their designs are primarily post-and-beam construction, but they still warrant inclusion in this list due to their quality. All of their frames are CNC cut for absolutely vital fitment. Their kits include the frame, roof decking, shingles, and fully engineered blueprints for the structure and the foundation.
Honest Abe Log Homes
Honest Abe has been around since the late 1970s and has a solid national reputation. While the name suggests they stick to log homes, they specialize in pre-cut framing that is numbered and delivered to your new home site.
Each model will come with its assembly manual and blueprints. All of their kits include a long list of components needed for assembly, including subfloors wall panels, flooring for the second story, porch and deck framing, and even optional windows and doors.
The Shelter Institute was founded in 1974 and has remained a center point of the timber frame kit landscape since. The company offers not only design and consulting, but they sell complete timber frame kits as well. They will include all the needed framing, oil, fasters, second-story flooring, and insulative paneling.
They have 4 standard styles that can then be customized further by the customer and can subsequently be delivered anywhere in the US. While they primarily use eastern varieties of hemlock and pine, any suitable wood species can be used to complete their kits.
Hamill Creek Timber Homes
Hamil Creek is a smaller company that was started in Canada in 1989 and sells timber frame kits across Canada and the US. Each design is approved by architects and designers and can be made from a choice of several wood species. They are also committed to harvesting sustainably. They also have 3 separate levels of timber frame kits available. Builders can choose from custom kits, frame kits, or full turnkey kits, and offer on-site raising.
Building A Timber Frame Home From A Kit
No matter which company you get your timber frame kit from, be sure you know what’s involved in getting it to your location and getting it built up before you choose. Timber frame kits can require a lot of extra planning and preparation, but they can also be the kit for the home of your dreams.
If you’re interested in exploring prefab cabins, check out BZB cabins for quality cabins that are affordable.
Thanks for the info about timber frames. My mom is interested in timber frames. I’ll share this info about timber frames with my mom.