The Six Steps in Getting a Timber Frame

Getting a timber frame is not very difficult and folks enjoy the process.  Below I have outlined six steps in getting a timber frame to help you to understand how to get a timber frame kit yourself. I am sure the path you take may deviate a little, but I think you’ll find this a good guideline to helping you get a timber frame home.

Six Steps in Getting a Timber FrameInspiration

It’s my guess that if you’re reading this you’ve already been inspired to get a timber frame but let’s look at some of the common reasons why people love to have timbers in their homes.  Not only are timber frames strong and durable, but they bring an incredible feeling into any structure, setting the stage for anyone who enters the home.  It is also a way to personalize your house to your needs and style.

Timber Frame Design

The first stage is to develop the timber frame design.  It is highly encouraged that you reach out and find a timber frame designer or timber frame company who does in-house design early on in your project.  This will save you time and money in the future by integrating the team early on.  Even if you are working with an existing architect it is good to bring on a designer early to minimize conflicts between the architectural and timber frame design.

Finding a TF Company

There are several good ways to find a timber frame company. A couple suggestions would be to look at the Timber Frame Directory and the Timber Frame Business Council. Together they have a large pool of quality people to pick from.

A timber frame is a very personal thing and choosing a timber frame company is too.  In working with clients over the years, I’ve seen the passion and curiosity that each client brings to their timber frame project no matter what the size or scope.  Choosing a timber frame company should be based on how they make you feel, and their professionalism in talking with you and in any correspondence.


Soon after the design begins, an engineer will be brought on board to check the timber sizes and the structure to make sure everything is structurally sound.  They generally work on the foundation, timber frame, walls, roof, and floor system – basically all of the structural elements of the home.

Your timber frame designer or timber frame company can easily help you find an engineer that meets your project’s needs and location.  While sometimes engineers make things a little tricky, they serve an important and integral part in getting a high quality home.

Cutting the Joinery

The next stage is for the timber frame to be cut.  The timber frame company has ordered the timber to the specifications that your designer and engineer have provided them and will start laying out and cutting the timbers.

They use a variety of tools, starting with a pencil and a tape measure laying out the timbers. They then rough out the timber frame joinery with specialty power tools such is a chain mortise and/or beam saw.  After that every joint is lovingly cleaned up with chisels and hand planes to achieve a high level of craftsmanship.

The last stage the timber frame company goes through is assembly. Any timber frame sections that can be put together in the shop are assembled to make sure that everything goes smoothly on raising day.


This is it.  The big day.. raising day.  It’s an incredible day that should be celebrated and be made into a party.  The timber frame company comes out and reassembles the timber frame on your subfloor or slab.  The crane then comes in and they start raising the timber frame in bents or wall sections.  You will be surprised how fast a timber frame can go up.

Site Work

After the raising the work is generally not complete on your timber frame.  You still need to put tongue and groove boards on the ceiling and get the sips installed.  You can get your timber frame company to install both the tongue and groove ceiling and the sips, however not all companies provide the service. Often your contractor will want to perform this work themselves.

I hope that laying out the process in six easy steps helps you overcome a hurdle in getting your timber frame project underway.

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