Eco Timber Frames

Frequently Asked Questions

Timber Frame Homes Mill Creek In Production
+ What is post & beam construction?
Post and beam construction, or timber framing construction, is a centuries-old building technique. The framing of the home is crafted from solid timbers that are connected by mortise and tenon joints and secured together with oak pegs. 1" oak pegs are utilized in some joinery in a Mill Creek structure along with mechanical fasteners.  These mechanical fasteners offer much greater strength and are not visible once the structure is assembled.   Often compared to fine furniture, the beams are fully exposed to the inside, giving the home the reassuring warmth and ambience of wood. Design flexibility is the hallmark of a post & beam structure. Since the walls are not load-bearing, the possibilities are limitless. Whether you're looking for something intimate and cozy, or you want to "pull out all the stops" with an open floor plan, large window walls, and soaring vaulted ceilings, everything is possible with a timber frame design.
+ What is typically provided by Mill Creek in a timber frame package?
• Plans - Preliminary, Construction, and Final
• Precut timber frame labeled for assembly
• 1x8 pine tongue and groove for the ceiling finish
• 2x8 pine tongue and groove for the second level flooring
• R-17 insulated panels for the exterior walls of the timber frame
• R-30 insulated panels for the roof of the timber frame
• Covered Front Entry Porch of western red cedar
• Fasteners for the assembly of the timber frame package
+ What species of wood do you utilize?
While the majority of our structures are commonly utilizing eastern white pine, we also work with many other species of wood, and a variety of reclaimed timber species. Exterior timber frame elements of the structure are typically done in western red cedar.
+ Does Mill Creek produce the timber frame or are they cut elsewhere?
Mill Creek produces our timber frame at our Production Barn located on our facility located in Saluda, NC. This allows us a high level of quality control and customer service.
+ What type of enclosure system do you use?
We utilize insulated panels on the exterior walls and roof of the timber frame structure. The panels are a layer of expanded polystyrene (EPS) with 7/16" oriented strand broad (OSB) laminated to both sides. The thickness of the EPS is based on the R-value required to meet local building code requirements. When applied it serves as a thermal envelope.
+ Why is a timber frame home more energy efficient than a conventionally built one?
Due to the way we design the timber frame assembly and the efficiency of the insulated panels, a timber frame structure is typically 50% more energy efficient than a conventionally constructed home utilizing the same R-value.

County building codes dictate the energy requirement for the R-values for the walls, roof and floor of the structure; however a higher R-value may be used if desired, by utilizing a thicker insulated panel.
+ How long does it take to assemble the frame and panel package?
Mill Creek's timber frame is pre-cut and labeled for efficient assembly. Site and weather conditions aside, a four-man crew can typically assemble a 1,500-square-foot-frame in three days. Allow an additional two weeks to complete the wall and roof panel installation.
+ What is the price per square foot of a timber frame home?
A Mill Creek home represents a sound investment; an aesthetically beautiful, exceptionally energy efficient, durable structure. It is a home that can outlive many of its contemporary counterparts by centuries.

The square-foot cost of a Mill Creek home can vary greatly according to the level of appointment. The region where you are building and the average local cost per square foot affect construction costs.

Home cost should not be based on square foot cost. The complexity of design and material finishes vary greatly from design to design. The best way to analyze cost is to price out the design selected and have competitive bids from several building contractors.

When you stop to consider the benefits, we think you'll agree a Mill Creek home is an outstanding value.
+ How does the design and construction process work?
After our introduction, we'll have a dialogue to establish your needs for space, style of architecture and budget. You'll be encouraged to collect and share information to assist in the development of your design. If you already have plans, we will do a study to explore how we may incorporate timbers into the design.

Timber frame design creates some unique opportunities - if done well. We strive to help you understand the use of scale volume and variety to create the types of spaces that you desire. We believe the design process represents time well spent, an investment that will pay you back with years of pride and satisfaction.

At Mill Creek, our design group is placed on retainer with a design deposit. This is, in essence, earnest money, which ultimately will apply to the timber frame package price. Our design agreement is a simple, one page, easy-to-understand document, which outlines the design process and how deposit monies are treated.

The preliminary drawing phase may start with sketches or when ideas are defined, or we may go directly to 1/4" scale drawings. These drawings are sent to you for your review and preliminary budgeting assessment with your contractor.

When you receive your plans from us, note desired changes and feel free to call us for any clarifications. The house is a custom home for you and it will require a team effort, and possibly a few revisions, to get it just right.
+ How long does it take to complete the shell of a timber frame home?
Typically, our design schedule allows us to get custom home drawings to you in about 3-6 weeks. The turn-around time for revisions may be as short as one week.

Once we have a completed design, and you are ready to place your order, we will enter a production agreement. It is typically 6-10 weeks from the time we receive a signed production agreement and deposit, until frame delivery.
+ Can I bring in my own plans or modify yours?
We find that many clients find a standard Mill Creek plan which is very close to their desired design. Our Design Service includes modifications to the plans.

We can work from plans other than those drawn by Mill Creek. However, we do honor the copyright of other companies plans and will not work from them.
+ Does the whole house have to be done as a timber frame?
Homes built consisting of timber framing and conventional construction are known as "hybrids." Depending on the house design and client requirement a hybrid may be a consideration.
+ Where are you located, how long have you been in business?
Mill Creek Post & Beam has been creating timber frames since 1984. We are located 30 miles south of Asheville, NC just off Interstate 26 at the crossroads of the eastern US, and within a day's drive of more than half of the country's population.
+ Does Mill Creek have dealers or representatives?
Mill Creek prefers to handle all of our clients directly. We feel a one on one relationship allows us to provide personal attention which leads to a higher quality of product.
+ Is there a list of recommended builders for Mill Creek homes?
Depending on where you plan to build, there may be a builder servicing that area who is familiar with our product. However, with what Mill Creek provides in the way of a precut timber frame, plans and Guideline Manual, any quality builder can assemble your timber frame.
+ Does Mill Creek have dealers or representatives?
Many people find that looking at our library of timber frame floor plans is helpful as they consider their design options and budget concerns. Perhaps there is a design that's just right for you. More likely, you'll want to customize to some degree - each site is unique and every family brings its own array of needs and desires to the drawing board. You can order our Design Portfolio online.
+ How do I get started with Mill Creek?
We invite you to visit our timber frame model/design studio near the historic town of Saluda, NC. Please call ahead for a personal appointment. Whether you're coming here specifically, or just passing through the area, we look forward to your visit. Consider making us part of a vacation to Western North Carolina, a place of natural wonders and historical interest. We are near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and The Biltmore House. (A "must see" constructed by George Vanderbilt at the turn of the century. With more than 4 acres of floor space, it is renowned as America's largest private residence). The list of destinations and things to do is a long one. Beautiful year round, vacationers are warned that once you visit our area you may never want to leave.

If a visit is impractical then we would suggest you Contact Us with questions. We look forward to hearing from you.
Eco Timber Frames Co.
1970 Holbert Cove Road · Saluda, NC 28773 · Phone: 828.749.8000 · Fax: 828.749.8001 · E-Mail:
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