Tag Archives: timber frame

Part II: The Lumber Surge Explained & What This Means for DC Structures

Like every home builder, DC Structures has had to adjust its pricing to match supply and demand as a result of the lumber surge. However, there are a few unique ways we’re able to keep costs reasonable for clients while adhering to desired timelines and ensuring our clients have only top-quality lumber for their projects.

One of the most important things to note about the lumber surge is that the materials in high demand right now are dimensional lumber and engineered wood products. This includes several lumber products that we use in our pre-engineered building kits, including:

(Photos of TJI Joists & LVL-I Joists: Weyerhaeuser)

  • OSB Plywood: Otherwise known as oriented strand board, OSB plywood is a conventional sheathing material we often use for our subfloors, roof, and wall sheathing
  • TJI Floor Joists: These are lightweight joists, or structural components used to create a rock-solid floor framing system, made from engineered wood.
  • LVL Joists: Similar to TJI floor joists, laminated veneer lumber is an engineered wood joist used for floor framing. We frequently use LVL joists in our building kits, especially when a building has multiple floors.
  • Architectural Glulams: These are engineered wood products designed with an appearance-grade surface. This material is not as in demand as the others.

While these lumber products are driving up the cost of our pre-engineered building kits, we don’t experience the same problems as other home builders when it comes to supply. This is the case for a few reasons.

For starters, a lot of home builders buy from retail lumber yards, which are currently experiencing major shortages in dimensional lumber and engineered wood products. Because they purchase lumber as needed, this means many builders are facing lengthy delays in the material acquisition process. This leaves their clients in a less than favorable position, with many forced to extend their project timelines past their desired move-in date.

At DC Structures, however, we benefit from buying large quantities from our mill-direct suppliers. Due to the volume we purchase, we can get in-demand lumber products that other home builders simply can’t and with quick turn-around times. We’re also fortunate because we have a huge lumber market here in the Pacific Northwest and we have several ways to acquire premium quality lumber for every project. To put it plainly, we don’t have the shortages we’re seeing in other markets and can continue business as usual when it comes to procuring material.

Another thing that’s unique about us is that we primarily rely on FOHC Select Grade Douglas fir timbers to frame our pre-engineered building kits. Our heavy timbers are considered to be a niche item in most conventional structures, with standard homes utilizing faux or box beams instead. The size of our timbers is also uncommon for light-frame construction. Because the most in-demand wood products right now are dimensional lumber and engineered wood products, this puts us in an extremely favorable position with lumber mills here in the Pacific Northwest and allows us to source the finest heavy timbers at competitive pricing for clients.

Lastly, our prefabrication method makes it possible for our team to save clients time and money during construction, as every piece of framing lumber is prepared ahead of time to facilitate a lightning-fast assembly process. Our prefabrication process also takes far less labor than any conventional build and results in less noise, waste, and dust on your job site.

 
So while there’s no telling when lumber prices are going back to normal, our team can ensure our clients have the best deals on the market and the best results for their dream home.

If you’re interested in learning more about our commitment to keeping costs down during this time, get in touch with one of our design specialists today!

Part I: The Lumber Surge Explained & What This Means for DC Structures

You don’t have to be a market analyst to recognize that lumber prices are at an all-time high. One trip to your neighborhood hardware store will show you that the price of a single 4’ x 8’ plywood board is on par with hand sanitizer at the start of the pandemic. Although the dramatic climb in lumber prices is nothing new, and demand for lumber has consistently increased since April 2020, the sudden surge in pricing over the past few months is something of an anomaly and one that shows no signs of slowing down.

(Photo: Nasdaq)

The good news is that lumber prices won’t stay this high forever, but we don’t know when they’ll drop or if it will happen within the year. In the meantime, the team at DC Structures is doing everything we can to keep costs reasonable for clients as we adjust our pricing to meet the demands of the market. While starting prices on our building kits are subject to change, our clients can rest easy knowing that we offer a steady supply of premium quality lumber for our projects and will always honor agreed-upon timelines.

If you’re interested in investing in one of our pre-engineered building kits, but feeling anxious about the surge, don’t worry. We’re here to help you make the best and most informed decision for your build. In this two-part series blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the surge, including its origin and how the current market affects homeowners and homebuyers, as well as what our company is doing to sidestep challenges caused by the surge.

Read below for a brief overview of the circumstances that caused the lumber surge and what this means for homeowners and homebuyers in general.

Why Lumber Prices Are Skyrocketing


When the pandemic hit, no one could have predicted lumber prices would soar as a result of nationwide stay-at-home orders. In bracing for the economic impact of the shutdown, sawmills halted their operations across the country and lumber suppliers eliminated much of their inventory. New home construction also plummeted, with the expectation that buyers would be tight on money and reluctant to invest in a brand-new building for their property.

Then something else happened a few weeks later—the pandemic fueled the biggest housing boom since 2006, followed by a historic surge in lumber prices.

(Photo: Mortgage News Daily

The reasons are complex and driven by the unique nature of 2020’s stay-at-home orders. City dwellers who were able to work from home started looking elsewhere for housing, realizing paying for a rental in the city wasn’t worth the extra money if they didn’t have to commute anymore. Mortgage rates also dropped significantly, hitting record lows as a result of the Federal Reserve lowering rates at the onset of the pandemic. This drove increasing demand for new and existing suburban housing, as city dwellers flocked en masse to the suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas in search of more space for less money.

During this time, homeowners hunkered down in their homes also started renovating their spaces, buying up lumber in large quantities from their local home improvement stores. Restaurants faced with the task of creating safe but comfortable outdoor dining also bought lumber for outdoor structures. Lumber began flying off the shelves at increasing rates while inventory remained relatively low. This created the initial surge in lumber prices, as supplies couldn’t keep up with the spike in demand.

What we’re seeing now is an accumulation of these factors mixed with a serious housing shortage, a lack of dimensional lumber and engineered wood products, labor force issues, and an insatiable demand for new housing and renovation work. This week, prices reached an all-time record high, with the price per thousand board feet of lumber up more than 300% since the beginning of the pandemic. This means lumber is now priced at more than four times its cost as of last May. Imagine going to an auction where everyone relentlessly bids on items until the price is driven much higher than the actual value. This is what’s occurring at the present moment, with supplies limited and analysts predicting demand will increase in upcoming months.

What This Means for Homeowners and Homebuyers


Homeowners planning to remodel would be advised to wait if possible. With dimensional lumber priced at nearly $60 a sheet in most markets, the cost to renovate parts of your home is more expensive than many homeowners are prepared for. You might also focus on renovating parts of your home that don’t require lumber. This can include everything from your backyard landscaping to simply repainting.

Homebuyers, on the other hand, have a bit more flexibility with their decision-making. With mortgage rates at historic lows, there’s never been a better time to buy. However, homebuyers seeking existing homes have limited inventory to choose from and may compete with dozens of other buyers. For those interested in building their dream home from scratch, however, the challenge is finding a company that can develop their vision and guarantee the best results for their project on their timeline and budget. This is where DC Structures comes into play.

Stay tuned for Part II of this series where we discuss what DC Structures is doing to keep costs down on our pre-engineered building kits and what clients can expect when partnering with our company.

The Difference Between Timber Frame and Post and Beam Homes

Known for their stunning craftsmanship and unparalleled warmth, heavy timber residences are some of the most sought-after home designs for today’s homebuyers. Yet, you may be surprised to learn that most people can’t tell the difference between the two of the most popular styles for these homes – timber framing and post and beam construction.

Timber framing and post and beam construction are centuries-old building methods that utilize large heavy timber posts and beams to create the frame of a structure. The walls of the building are placed on the outside of the frame, creating a beautiful interior characterized by exposed structural timbers and high ceilings. Because these methods are similar in style, it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. To the trained eye though, it’s easy to determine which is which by simply paying closer attention to the detail in one’s space.

The key difference between timber frame and post and beam homes lies in the method used to secure the frame’s joinery. While post and beam homes employ metal fasteners and connectors, both exterior facing and hidden, to join its heavy timber posts and beams, timber framing relies on wooden pegs only to create a rock-solid frame. If you’re having trouble visualizing how this works, just think of timber framing as Legos, in which all the pieces are designed to fit perfectly with one another.

Since timber framing is very labor-intensive due to the precision and skill needed to execute this style, timber frame homes are also much more expensive than post and beam homes to build. This is partially why the majority of timber frame homes being built today utilize a combination of timber framing and conventional building methods to achieve the same look and feel at a lower cost. These types of timber frame homes are commonly referred to as hybrid timber frame homes, which is the term we use to classify our line of timber frame homes.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in a timber frame home or post and beam home comes down to how you want your interior to look and feel. If you’re looking for a stately home with dramatic interior spaces, a timber frame home would likely be a great fit for you and your family. If you’re interested in a home with plenty of flexibility and classic style, a post and beam residence might be a perfect option for you. Regardless, timber frame and post and beam homes are timeless designs that are guaranteed to stun any guest and last you and your family a lifetime.

If you’re looking for the perfect heavy timber home for your property, be sure to check out our line of timber frame and post and beam home kits today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing a Contemporary Rustic Space

If you frequent Pinterest, chances are high you’ve come across a number of boards dedicated to farmhouse décor and timber frame interiors. Best described as contemporary rustic, this design style is one of the biggest interior design trends to explode in the last decade as part of a growing obsession with barn-style residences. While rustic is a broad term that encompasses many different design styles, the idea behind contemporary rustic design is to integrate nature-inspired elements in modern spaces to create a warm and welcoming environment. This can be anything from adding a stone fireplace to your living space to simply investing in rustic wood furniture. If you’re seeking contemporary rustic inspiration for your barn home, here are some ways you can pull off Pinterest-worthy interiors that evoke a sense of countryside bliss.

Make Your Home Feel Like a Renovated Barn with Repurposed Wood

As sustainable design becomes more of a necessity than a luxury, more people are incorporating repurposed materials in their home in an attempt to curb their carbon footprint and minimize waste. While this can take the form of anything from reclaimed stained glass to antique brick, one of the best and most popular materials that our clients choose to include in their barn home design is repurposed wood. Aside from being an eco-friendly building material, reclaimed wood is beloved by a majority of Americans because it brings a sense of history and natural beauty to any modern living space. Although there’s no limit to what you can do with reclaimed wood in your barn home, our clients typically use this material for accent walls in their living areas or as barn-style doors, cabinets, and shelves. When paired with modern light fixtures and neutral color schemes, reclaimed wood accents make unforgettable focal points that are certain to make your home feel cozy and luxurious.

 

Use Natural or Neutral Color Schemes

When planning the design of your barn, it’s important to think about what will best complement the heavy timbers in your living space. One of the easiest ways to highlight the beauty of these exposed beams is by using a natural or neutral color scheme throughout the interior. Many of our clients achieve this effect by using an off-white, cream-colored paint, but you can also use warm browns, greens, or grays. Essentially, a warm color scheme that looks and feels earthy is a perfect addition to any rustic-inspired space.

Style Your Walls with Shiplap Siding

Traditionally used as exterior siding, shiplap siding is a style of wood siding made from long planks that are horizontally mounted with small gaps between them. In recent years, shiplap siding has been appearing in more and more homes across the country, with millions of homeowners using this type of wood siding as beautiful wall accents in their living areas. Though the most popular form of utilizing shiplap siding as a wall accent is to paint it white for a beachy coastal look, many clients like to use barnwood-style shiplap siding to complement their exposed beam ceilings. This stylish wall accent adds a rustic, yet elegant touch to our barn homes and makes for an eye-catching design element in any living area.

Add Animal Decor for an Outdoorsy Effect

Contemporary rustic design is all about bringing elements from the outside and incorporating them into modern interiors, whether that be rustic wood accents, plants, or even animal décor. One of the biggest trends that we’ve seen in a number of our clients’ homes is the use of custom chandeliers made from deer antlers. This feature makes a wonderful centerpiece in living and dining rooms, while also drawing attention to the gorgeous heavy timber beams in our barn homes. Some of our clients have also incorporated antler wall accents and tasteful taxidermy in their homes to accentuate the natural look of their space. Depending on your vision, you have the option of using faux antler chandeliers and animal-inspired design elements to achieve this same effect in your home.

If you’re considering investing in a barn-style home with contemporary rustic flair, be sure to request a free quote today and one of our design specialists will be in touch shortly!

 

Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Timber Home

Lighting is one of the most important design aspects in any home, let alone a timber frame home. When done properly, a well-lit timber home showcases the beautiful exposed beams in your space while setting the mood for each room. Since timber homes feature a complex design unlike that of traditional homes, it’s important to pay attention to the type of lighting that best serves each room in your house and what function it will have. To help you make the most of your timber home investment, here are some tips on how to light your timber frame home in a way that best illuminates the beauty of its all-wood design.

Determine the Best Lighting for Every Room

Every room in your home has a unique function, which means the type of lighting you decide to include in each space should serve a purpose in line with the intended use of that area. Your bedroom, for instance, will have vastly different lighting than your kitchen. For task-oriented rooms like your kitchen or office, we recommend using hanging light fixtures, otherwise known as pendant lighting, to brighten the space. Track lighting can also be extremely helpful, as it gives you the ability to position the lighting over essential food prep areas like your kitchen island.

For rooms where you typically go to relax or rest, use ambient or yellow lighting to create a calming environment that brings out the stunning wood features in the space. If you’re unsure of what lighting to install in your great room, consider adding wrought-iron chandeliers to your living space, as well as wall sconces and recess lighting to highlight the heavy timber accents in your home.

Consider the Design of Your Interior

If you’re looking to design your home with contemporary flair, you’ll likely want to use more built-in lighting such as overhead cans, LED lights, and modern wall sconces. For a more traditional look, pendant lighting and stained-glass table lamps provide a sense of rustic comfort and make any room in a timber home feel like a luxurious mountain retreat.

Be Cognizant of the Placement of Your Lighting

Lighting needs to be strategically placed in order to best serve its function in your home. With this in mind, it’s important to pick out certain focal points in each room that you wish to highlight. For instance, installing lighting on either side of the mirror in your bathroom offers the best light for getting ready, while making the space feel elegant and cozy. Similarly, adding rustic chandeliers to rooms with vaulted ceilings draws attention to the center of the room and makes your living space look and feel more inviting.

Remember Lighting a Timber Home Requires Extra Effort

Because timber homes are designed with an exposed frame, lighting a timber home is a lot more complicated than lighting any traditional home. This is why it’s important to consult with lighting design experts who can give you the best idea of where to place your lighting and what lighting you’ll want to use based on your personal style and taste. Once finished, your lighting should look beautiful and showcase the best aspects of your timber home so it’s crucial to ensure you work with an expert that understands how to properly light your timber home in a way that best accentuates its unique features.

For more lighting recommendations, be sure to visit Timber Home Living for detailed descriptions of the best type of lighting to include in your timber home!