Posted by: gothedistance | April 7, 2008

Visting Timber Frame Company #3

Since we were in Greenville SC visiting a friend on April 5-6, 2008, we took the opportunity to drive about 80 miles west to visit Yonah Mountain Timber Frames in Toccoa Georgia.

The designer of our house, Drew Sumrell of Woodborne Designs, had worked with Yonah before and suggested that we consider having them bid on the timber frame parts of our house. In fact, at our request he had sent them our specifications several weeks ago.

We have also sent the same specifications to two other timber frame companies: Carolina Timberworks and Riverbend. We visited Carolina Timberworks in August, 2007 and Riverbend in December, 2007.

However, we had never talked with or met anyone from Yonah.  So on a very rainy Saturday morning we met with the two owners, Neal and Bobby at their shop in Toccoa. Thanks to both for meeting us on Saturday and with such short notice (I just called Neal 3 days before).

Since they already had copies of our plans, we mostly discussed what type of wood we wanted for the timber frame, what services they could provide, and of course what it might cost.

Neal explained that their bid would include the fabrication and installation on our property of all the timber frame components as well as the Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) that will comprise the walls and roof. This would be a turn-key operation with them furnishing their own crew and crane.

Having one company fabricate and install the timbers as well as the SIPs is something that we like.

With regard to wood species, Drew has specified white pine or Douglas fir for the interior and cypress for the exterior, but we have not yet made any decisions. We have seen Douglas fir installed and like the look and the fact that it is mostly dry. Neal and Bobby gave us a tour of their shop and showed us the white pine and cypress that they had just completed for a job. We like both. If anyone has suggestions or comments about wood species, please share them.

Finally as to cost, Neal was able to give us a preliminary estimate. The numbers are about 30% of the total cost we have projected for the house. Does this sound right?

Finally, Neal and Bobby invited us to inspect a house under construction in North Carolina that they did the timber frame work on. This house has a very similar timber frame component to our design, and in fact was also designed by Drew. We will be doing that later this month.

Thanks again to Neal and Bobby for their hospitality and knowledge. We are sure that they could do a fine job and would be easy to work with. When we get all the bids we will have a hard decision to make.



  1. Suggestions for wood type: a hard fibrous lignified substance that is under the bark of trees.

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