5 Timber Frame Kits Companies: What to Know Before You Buy
If you want to buy a timber frame home, but don’t know which company to go for, you’re in the right place. Welcome to the timber frame kits company review.
At Log Cabin Hub we have a special love for log built homes, but there is also something beautiful about any timber frame home. You could say we are enthusiastic about all things built from wood!
Timber frame kits are one avenue to acquiring your own timber home, and there are many suppliers. This article will look at the five most reputable companies, and what they provide.
If you’re torn between a log cabin kit and a timber frame home, take a read of our log cabin kits article alongside this one to help you make a better informed choice.
What to Know Before Choosing a Timber Frame Kits Company
Companies that provide wooden framed homes come in all shapes and sizes.
Some have a large team that will get the job done quickly, some will have many years of experience and some will offer a level of quality unrivalled by their competitors.
What you want to know before choosing a company for your timber frame kit is:
- What’s included? Is it turnkey, a shell (covered frame) or just the frame?
- How much of the job they will be done by them? Will you just receive the kit, or will they oversee the construction too.
- What styles and timber species are on offer? Do they use freshly harvested, salvaged or recycled timber?
- How big is the company?
- Do they have an in-house architect and/or design team?
- Do they operate in your region?
Now we know what to look for, let’s take a look at the top five companies that can provide timber frame kits, and answer some of the above questions.
5 Reputable Timber Frame Kits Companies
5. Shelter Institute
5. Shelter Institute
Shelter Institute is an energy conscious company that was started by Pat and Patsy Hennin in 1974 when they wanted to share how home building can be achievable for the layperson.
The company has ten members of staff and offers design and construction courses as well as timber frame kits.
Based in Woolwich, Maine they deliver their timber frame kits countrywide and have travelled to raise frames in the eastern states as far as Virginia.
They offer a design service and have four standard ‘Hennin’ designs which can all be altered. The prices that they list are for eastern white pine or eastern hemlock but any practical wood species can be used.
Kits include all framing finished with a natural oil, fastenings, insulated panels and tongue and groove for the second floor. You can add straight or curved braces as required.
4. Honest Abe Log Homes
Honest Abe Log Homes originated with Doug Smith in Northern Tennessee in 1979, and now has countrywide operation. It is a company steeped in family heritage with a good reputation and solid log home building experience.
The wood for their timber frame kits is freshly harvested and kiln dried, and as standard the components will be delivered pre-cut and numbered to your site if it’s within their many operating areas.
The load bearing structure is comprised of internally exposed 8”x8” Douglas fir vertical posts and horizontal beams, capped with exterior insulated wall panels and a choice of exterior finishes: conventional siding, brick or stone.
- In the packages you’ll find:
- Subfloor system (excluding foundation)
- All wall panels with insulation and siding, including for gable ends and dormers with optional 1”x6” tongue and groove for the interior walls
- Second floor framing and flooring
- Porch and deck
- Windows and interior doors, window cladding is optional
- Stair tread and stringer, which can be upgraded to heavy timber
- Construction manual and blueprints
Honest Abe also offer a competitively priced dry-in service for the kit of your choice too, so you can DIY, have them put the kit together for you or they can help find local qualified tradesmen.
It is worth noting this is a large company employing hundreds of people, but they hold that their core values are family and excellence in quality.
Honest Abe Log Homes have five pre-designed timber frame kits plans drawn up, or they have an in-house design team for creating custom plans to suit your needs and dreams.
3. The Barn Yard & Great Country Timber Frames
The Barn Yard is a company that has been around since 1984, founded by the Skinner family, thriving through three generations. It originated in New England, which is the backbone that the timber framing company Great Country Timber Frames was built on in 2015.
They now operate in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampson, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and some counties of east New York.
The Barn Yard is a midsize company, so you’re more likely to speak to a salesperson than a manager/owner, but the reputation held by this family started company is top notch from the service provided to the quality of their builds.
Technically post and beam builds differ slightly from timber frames in their joinery, but The Barn Yard provide such high quality that we had to include them in this lineup.
They provide CNC precision-cut frames for two main premade designs, each with varying sizes and design options. The framing timber is freshly harvested and kiln dried eastern white pine.
Timber frame kits from this company include:
- All posts and beams for walls, second floor and roof
- Siding and roof decking
- Windows with the option of transom or sash upgrades
- Door hardware
- 30-year shingles over felt paper
- Gable vents
- 3-foot pine barn door with the option of an 8-foot overhead pine door
- 30 minute instructional video
- Engineered building and foundation blueprints
The Barn Yard can help you source sitework and foundation services, as these will not be included in the build price. Neither will the electrical or the copper cupola upgrade option.
However, to have them build it for you only costs less than double the kit price. You can also have the frame package delivered which has all the above minus the roof decking, siding, windows and door hardware.
An added bonus is that they also collect their sawdust and cutting debris and have it all compressed into eco fuel briquettes called ‘Timber Pucks’.
2. Hamill Creek Timber Homes
Hamill Creek Timber Homes is a midsize company that was started by Dwight and Debbie Smith in Meadow Creek, British Columbia, in 1989.
They may be based in BC, but their timber frame kits are delivered and raised across the USA and even into Canada.
Their staff includes architects and designers, so you can be sure of a well designed, structurally sound home.
Hamill Creek offer a choice of Douglas fir, spruce or western red cedar for their timber frame kits. It is also an environmentally conscious company, using only fresh timbers from confirmed sustainable sources, and reclaimed and recycled timber.
They supply 3 levels of kits, Custom Timber Frame Kits, Lock Up Timber Frame Shell Kits and Full Turnkey Kits. Starting with the Custom Kits, they typically include:
- Timber framing with mortise and tenon joinery
- All fastenings, including oak pegs
- Structural engineered 2D and 3D drawings
- All timber twice sealed with environmentally friendly UV sealer or stain and waxed timber ends
- On site raising
The Lock Up Timber Frame Shell Kits have all of the above, plus; wall and roof enclosures and; windows and exterior doors. The Full Turnkey package includes everything you would expect a home to have when you’re ready to move in.
Hamill Creek Timber Homes can either leave you to DIY with the kits provided, support you and your construction team, or do the lot for you.
You will need to contact a member of the team to find out which of their services are available to you, but having constructed timber frame kits as far as Hawaii, there’s a good chance they’ll operate in your area.
1. PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes
PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes was established 30 years ago, and are now one of the most premier and reputable companies in North America.
They have their own in-house design team, M.T.N Design, who you can work alongside to create the perfect layout and design.
They have a diverse selection of floorplans and layouts on their website which you can adapt or customize, or start from scratch and design your own home.
This company is based in the US but they have designed and built homes internationally including in the Mediterranean, Taiwan and Australia.
PrecisionCraft offer a ‘Total Home Solution’ which is a beginning to end approach that allows buying to work with them to create their dream home using award-winning design construction solutions.
Offering three different construction solutions including:
- Level One (Base Contract) – Ideal for if you have a builder
- Level Two (BuilderSelectTM) – Help to find a builder
- Level Three (Design Build) – PrecisionCraft build your home
- Advantage brand ICF’s
- Custom-Cut Log/Timber Materials
- Custom-Cut Insulspan brand SIPs (Ready to Assemble)
- Installation of Log/Timber Materials
- Technical Advisory of SIP Installation
All packages come with a minimum of:
All of the trusses are fit by hand in their shop, and pre-drilled for the steel pins which hold the sections together.
Specifics for Your Build
There are some questions you may want to ask the company before you commit to having them complete your kit. These are dependent on exactly what you are after.
Q: Will you deliver to my area?
Q: How much will the provided goods and service cost me?
Q: How long the will entire process take, including designing, planning, delivery and raising/construction (If it is included)?
Q: What do I need to do to prepare the site?
Q: What does your company do to be considerate of the environment?
You will also need to consider what additional costs there will be, such as labor if you are sourcing your own, the cost of a foundation and utilities, and other materials that aren’t included in the kit.
Once you have taken time to reflect on what you want from your build, or what you are willing to put into it, you can start to pick and choose a company that will meet your needs.
This list isn’t exhaustive, there are plenty of other providers of timber frame kits out there and some may give you a better price for being in their local area. Always check their reputation first, in both the fields of customer service and of the build quality provided.
Remember that the company you choose is working for you, and with you. Rather ask too many questions than get started without fully understanding what you have signed up for.
We wish you good luck in getting the dream building you have been looking for.
Have you already used a timber frame kit? Let us know how it went in the comments below.