Found here: expert advice on building tips & costs per square foot & deck maintenance for your timber home.
How much do timber homes cost per square foot?
This question is similar to asking “How much does a new car cost?” The answer is, “It depends.” Many variables influence this cost, and a rough estimate is generally only possible after you have selected a basic floor plan, frame design, type of wood and degree of finish. While the cost is variable, it is possible to estimate that the cost of a timber- framed structure is comparable to a well-built custom home with extensive cathedral ceilings and open space with similar finishes.
Some builders provide a cost per square footage range, but it is important to understand what affects this range in order to compare the cost of different projects. Square footage can be calculated to include the heated space only or it can include non-heated spaces such as a porch or garage.
It would be inaccurate to compare a cost per square footage estimate for heated space only with another estimate that includes both heated and non-heated spaces. Beyond the timber frame, many of your design choices will affect the finished square footage cost. If you like stucco and slate roofs, you will be in a higher price range than if you decide on asphalt shingles. Hybrids — making the choice to do part of the project as a timber frame and part as stick building — can sometimes make a project more affordable.
In hybrid projects, you can timber frame the public areas and build the wings with structural insulating panels. Fundamentally, there are three variables involved in the building process: size, quality, and budget. You can set two of these, and the third variable will be decided for you automatically. Rather than sacrificing quality for a large home if your budget is tight, consider challenging your designer to design high quality, comfortable, smaller spaces. After all, any project — at any size — can have heavy timber designed into it.
Hit the Deck
With the summer season right around the corner, we’re all getting ready to open our windows, step outside and soak up every last second of the warm-weather months. And what better way to make the most of the great outdoors than with a deck?
But before putting shovel to soil, you’ll need to do some thorough planning to ensure you’ll build a deck that you and your family will love and use frequently.
Most people use their deck for dining outside, so think about positioning your deck in a way that allows for an entrance into your home’s kitchen. To accommodate eating outdoors, many homeowners incorporate an octagon or bump-out space on their deck to separate the table and chairs into their own designated dining area. A screened-in area, such as a gazebo, would also work for this type of setting.
Take a walk around your yard — or construction site — and map out your potential deck using rope or a garden hose. Use 2-foot increments when deciding on the size of your deck since lumber is typically cut to 8-foot, 10-foot, 12-foot and 16-foot lengths. Picking a standard size deck that adheres to these measurements will save on scrap materials and, in turn, money.
When thinking about the depth of your deck, consider how far your deck’s joists can span before you’ll need to add another beam. (This can be costly if you have to add another complete set of piers to hold up your deck.) Just short of 12 feet is the maximum span common for 2-by-8-inch joists under most conditions, but with an added cantilever, a 14-foot deck can be built from one set of piers and beams.
Typically, deck railings are required for any deck more than 30 inches above the ground, and for stairs with five or more steps. The height of a deck railing often needs to be between 36 and 42 inches. The regulations for spacing between balusters usually calls for 4 to 6 inches, and the space between your deck floor and the bottom of the railing should be 2 to 4 inches.