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CTF News

March 27, 2017

What’s the difference between Log Homes and Timber Frame Homes?

Timber Frame or Log Homes – What’s the Difference?

So you’ve decided to build a custom home with the enduring strength and beauty of wood. We’re big believers in what happens when you build a custom home made of wood. Before pursuing a project, there is one question we often have to answer for potential clients – what’s the difference between log homes and timber frame construction?

We’ll try to summarize both types of wood framing to help explain the difference.


Log Home vs Timber Frame:

The two biggest differences between log and timber frame homes is structural framing and wall design flexibility.


Full Scribe Log Homes

It is clear that log homes have a rugged beauty that appeals to many people who love the idea of building with wood and the final result you get. But with most log homes, what you see on the outside is pretty much what you will expect to see on the inside. Log homes consist of stacked logs that become the interior and exterior wall finish, but are also the structural support for the home.

Advantages of a full scribe log home
• The strong structure can withstand almost anything that Mother Nature can throw at it.
• Log homes can be reassembled very quickly on your foundation since all the logs have already been pre-fit in our log yard prior to shipping.
• Little framing is required for a custom full scribe log home. Because all exterior and some interior walls are made solely of logs, there will be less need of traditional framed 2×6 walls.
• Because the log walls are solid and considered the finished product, there is no need for siding, insulation or drywall.

Disadvantages of a full scribe log home
• During the first few years the logs will need to settle. As they dry, the diameter of the logs shrinks and special care must be taken and adjustments made to maintain tight-fitting joinery. This requires the owner to adjust the house as it settles.
• Trades such as plumbing, electrical and finishing carpentry require special procedures to finish the house.
• Traditionally, log homes are the most expensive to build due to the added labor and logs needed.


Timber Frame

Timber frame homes on the other hand allow the owner to express his or her style differently, by utilizing the true rustic beauty of exposed timber frames inside the home. With timber frame homes, it’s inside where the true beauty of exposed heavy timbers is revealed. Timber frame construction then allows for nearly any wall finish to exist – from drywall to stone to plank.

Timber frame construction also allows for the creation of expansive great rooms in the interior of the home with walls of windows that allow unobstructed views of the land, lake or mountains. This dramatic inside out perspective for family & guests is the “WOW” factor that separates most timber frame designs from log homes. The stunning trusses that you see in old wooden churches are usually timber frame.

Advantages of a timber frame or hybrid log home
• A timber frame log home has very flexible design options.
• There are no settling issues with a timber frame home compared to a full log home.
• Easy for trades to frame, wire and plumb the home.
• Less maintenance compared to a full scribe home.
• Option to kiln dry material.
• Traditional siding can be used with a timber frame home.

Disadvantages of a timber frame or hybrid log home
• There are no disadvantages to choosing a timber frame over a traditional log home. It comes down to personal style and preference.

About Us

Custom Timber Frames origins are in Madison, WI. We engineer, design and fabricate all of our designs from our own facility where we handcraft raw logs into custom posts, beams and rafters to be joined together as the structural backbone for residential and commercial projects nationwide. If you are in the design process, contact us today! We ship and assemble nationwide.


About Custom Timber Frames

For more than 30 years, Custom Timber Frames has been a leader in custom timber home design and construction. From the initial design consultation to adding the finishing details, our team of experts deliver quality results for clients across the country. Contact us today to get started!