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Community and Q&A

How to get started with a timber-frame home?

upjay | Posted in General Questions on

For many years I have been reading you magazine at my lunch hour while working at Home Depot here in the Chicago area. So I am turning to your quality magazine for some direction.

I want to have a timber built home built in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I have a 40 acre lot and 4 acre pond/lake near main highway in the Hiawatha national forest, and have already built a 1500 sq ft radiant heated workshop. I tried to use what I know about good building practices but since I do not have enough info in the changing building world, I need to find someone that knows current information and a source of quality product information.

I think your magazine it the best source of quality info and products, so I am turning to your magazine to for any direction that you can give. I have talked to a good general contractor in Wisc. and two timber frame builders one in the US out east and a Canadian business. All sound good and provide a little different positions. I met them all at one of several log and timber shows in St Charles, IL.

I am thinking of a well insulated timber frame home of at least 1500 to 1800 sq ft building, lots of quality glass, radiant heat, water cooled solar panels with a basement and external heat.

Any direction would be appreciated.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Here's my feedback:

    1. A timber-frame home isn't particularly green (from an environmental perspective), but if you want one, you should of course proceed with your plan.

    2. The most important factor in a successful project is choosing the right contractor. You should focus on selecting a nearby contractor who has lots of experience building timber-frame homes.

    Good luck.

    -- Martin Holladay

  2. upjay | | #2

    thank you Martin,
    it may not be as green as could be, but yes i want the timber built design and it will be many many times more energy efficient than what is there now, so will try to figure out what a good contractor looks like.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    A good contractor will provide references (names of customers you can call up).

    When you ask a good contractor, "Do you verify the airtightness of your homes with a blower door?", the contractor will answer, "Of course."

    If you are really lucky, you'll hear the contractor say, "We test each home twice -- once when the air barrier is complete, and again when the job is done."

  4. user-1072251 | | #4

    I'll second Martin's last advice. No matter what they promise, if they aren't doing those two blower doors, find someone else.

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