This article came about as a result of my own build experience. When building a post and beam home it is important to keep two things in mind: a budget and a detailed plan, while understanding you are likely to amend both throughout the build process. It is easy to go over budget when building a home, however, there are times when buying quality is important.
Don’t Scrimp on These 5
As important as it is to save when building a post and beam, there are times you will want to buy quality. Downgrading to shave money from total construction costs in these areas may not be the best choice.
Windows are important to the overall look, comfort, and energy efficiency of a home. Buy quality windows; it will make a world of difference.
Most Yankee Barn Homes have at least one room (usually a great room or a master bedroom) with a cathedral ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows. Windows can provide far less insulation than walls. By downgrading to less expensive windows, you may save money, but the comfort and energy efficiency of the home could decrease.
Doors and Door Hardware
Most timber frame homes are made with a high quality kiln-dried Douglas fir, giving the home a solid look and feel. The doors shouldn’t sound hollow and the door hardware (the parts of the home that you touch and move fairly often) should feel like something substantial and solid when you grasp the knob. Don’t install doors with a “wood” appearance, using hardware that doesn’t look or feel weighty. Since timber frame is all about quality construction, lesser quality doors and knobs stick out like a sore thumb.
Insulation is important. Very important. Foil-backed polyisocyanurate insulation in the YBH True Wall and True Roof panels will lower heating and cooling bills. There are no drafts. If you downgrade to a less expensive insulation, it will shave only pennies on the dollar from your total construction cost.
Seriously consider a forced hot water or radiant hot water heating system in your post and beam home. Even though forced hot air can be less expensive, hot water is the better choice, and here is why:
Post and beam or timber frame homes have a lot of wood on the interior. Even though most post and beams are constructed of high quality soft wood such as kiln Douglas fir, the beams will still be sensitive to changes in heat and humidity in the air. Wood, even kiln-dried wood, is like a sponge and it will absorb the moisture in the air. When the air dries, the wood will also dry out, making a “popping” sound as it contracts. Forced hot air heating systems circulate very dry, hot air. Some homeowners who have forced hot air heating systems report the popping noise is so loud that they thought gunshots were being fired in the house! This not only scares the heck out of you when you’re sleeping, but also results in “checking” (cracking) in the beams.
Fixtures and Faucets
The reasoning behind spending, not scrimping, on fixtures and faucets is similar to the reasoning for Doors & Door Hardware. Timber frame homes cost more per square foot to construct than stick built homes, but people like the sturdiness, quality and longevity that epitomizes a post and beam structure. Every fixture in the house you touch/manhandle/twist/turn/swing/flip/switch, should feel just as sturdy as the beams that hold up your house.
Note: If you have three bathrooms and spend an extra $400 on each sink and a shower, that’s only an additional $2,400 to your overall construction costs. Upgrading your kitchen fixtures and key lighting fixtures to higher quality materials can also be done for less than $3,000.
Should the day arrive when you sell the house, potential buyers could rightfully question the quality (and therefore the price) of your home due to sub-standard elements. Spend the money up front; you will be glad you did!