Curious about timber frame kits? Learn why we’ve discontinued ours and explore whether our custom projects might be a better fit for your needs.
What Are Timber Frame Kits?
Timber frame kits are pre-designed and pre-cut packages that include most, or all, of the materials you need to assemble a timber frame structure. A basic kit for a gazebo or shed typically has pre-cut and pre-drilled timber, along with hardware (post bases and pegs) and detailed instructions for assembling and raising the timber frame. A timber frame home kit is more complicated and generally includes the above components, along with the option to purchase siding, windows, tongue and groove roof decking, or insulation.
Either way, timber frame kits don’t usually allow for much customization. You might get to choose the wood type or select from a range of sizes—but that’s it.
The dirty secret about kits is that they’re almost always modified (the existing concrete patio is the wrong size, or the roof pitch of the house doesn’t match, or you’d like the ADU building to be 2′ wider to place the stairs inside instead of outside). And that involves the not insignificant expense of re-designing, re-drawing, and re-engineering the design.
The other thing about timber frame kits is that they’re not for the inexperienced. Timber frame kits may initially seem ideal for DIY enthusiasts or homeowners seeking a memorable project to build with the family. Admittedly, raising a timber frame is not rocket science, but nor it is fool-proof. Permits, local regulations, concrete, inspections, engineering, renting and operating heavy equipment, and specialized tools are some of the known knowns. There are also the known unknowns–discovering rock or the septic line when digging. But the ones that can really trip you up are the unknown unknowns.
Maybe you’re wise enough to know what you don’t know and you’ll hire an architect and a builder. Perhaps you know enough (or have the right friends) to successfully complete a DIY timber frame kit project. We can’t say whether a timber frame kit is right for you or your project, but experience has taught us they’re not a good fit for every project. And nor are they the right choice for every timber frame company.
Why We No Longer Offer Timber Frame Kits
Carolina Timberworks did offer pre-cut timber frame kits. (You can view them below.) But we’ve made the decision to discontinue these premade kits as of March 2023. Why?
We introduced these kits in March 2020 with the goal of keeping our crew employed and productive during uncertain times. The idea was that if one of our crew members became ill or if we needed to close the shop temporarily, our team could load their pickups with wood and tools and pre-cut the kits at home.
Three years later, our crew is busier than ever. So we’ve decided to focus on what we do best: custom timber framing. Here are just a few projects we’re excited about:
- Timber frame barns
- Timber frame pavilions and gazebos
- Timber frame great rooms
- Timber frame entryways
How Our Custom Timber Frame Projects Work
What goes into a custom timber frame project exactly? Well, a lot of that depends on you.
- Why do you want to build?
- How will you, your family, friends, or community use it?
- Do you have a conceptual design in mind (size, shape, and layout of the timber frame)?
- What’s your site like?
- How much do you want to be involved in the project?
- Should you hire an architect?
- When do you want to build?
- What are your wood preferences (the type of wood used in the timber frame will affect its strength, durability, and appearance). Are you in love with the character of reclaimed hand-hewn beams or is the project more contemporary and modern?
- Have you given some thought to the timber framing budget?
Sound like a good fit for your needs? We’d be happy to discuss your project in detail. Send us a message or call us directly at 828-266-9663. We’re nice!
We originally designed and built this as a garden shed in Charlotte NC for a client who absolutely loves it. What’s not to love? My wife saw the picture and sighed: “Ahhhhh …. I need that and I’ve got an important birthday coming up later this year.”
One of my most memorable meals was with our friends George and Johanne, creators of Providence, RI restaurant, Al Forno, at their home in Provence, France.
In 2010 we bought a house that needed a lot of remodeling. With a beautiful view of Grandfather Mountain, we decided to add a Gazebo and expand the existing porch. Little did we know it would become our “family room” for all occasions.
In the farmhouse kitchen work and family activity were completely integrated in one big room. The family activity centered around a big table in the middle . . .
When our engineer, Ben Brumgraber, emailed his final review of this design, his email began with the words “I want one”.
In our regular work as timber framers we end up with a lot of scraps–timber cut offs that are too short to use in our timber frames.
This classic post and beam kit makes a great weekend project. The toughest part of it will be digging the hole for the post.
This is the kit that started all the trouble in my house. We’re showing it here as a wood shed, and it’s perfect for that. Put sides and doors on it and you have a garden shed, or even a chicken coop.
Sitting under a pergola is like sitting under a luminous cloud. You’re outside but not exposed, and you’re inside but not closed in.
As a kid, I dreamt about living in a fire tower. Judging from the number of fire towers for rent on VRBO, lots of people have the same dream.
My wife loves the outdoor kitchen concept because it’s a guy thing—the boys can head outdoors (and out of her space) with their martinis, loud voices and bad jokes.
So you made a mistake and bought a 1953 Chevy 3100 series pickup truck and your wife doesn’t want it parked in the yard?
Let’s get started!
Send us an email with questions about our custom timber framing projects