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Foundations - Every Pavilion Needs One

July 20, 2023
View of timber frame foundation with timber frame in place

Pavilions, just like any other load bearing structure, start with a foundation.  There are various options for transmitting gravity loads to the Earth and the decision on which route to take usually happens in the design phase.  Things to consider include snow load (live load), pavilion weight (dead load), and site conditions.  Site conditions are generally the same once preparations have been made for the pavilion raising.  Soil conditions have already been evaluated and grading and excavation has been completed.  At this point it is up to the general contractor, home owner and timber frame supplier to decide which method to use to anchor the structure.

Foundations for a timber frame pavilion

Here at Homestead Timber Frames, we offer detailed suggestions on how to construct the foundation.  We will specify where to pour a simple slab and where to reinforce for our timber post locations (rebar is sometimes required for larger pavilions).  Most of the time the pavilion posts sit directly on the slab or sit on raised pilasters.  In every case we specify a piece of Plexiglas to mount under the post which prevents the timber frame from wicking moisture out of the concrete.

timber frame pavilion foundation

Moving on, once the concrete is in place and reinforced in the required locations, our crew begins the installation of Timberlinx.   Timberlinx is a commonly used fastening system to secure timber elements to each other or to foundations.  We prefer using Timberlinx over other systems for mounting our pavilion post feet.  First, a hole is drilled into the concrete at the specified location and to the appropriate depth.  Then a threaded bolt is inserted, leveled, and epoxied into place.  Once the epoxy dries we fasten the top Timberlinx cylinder to the rod leaving it proud of the concrete as specified.  Thirdly, the frame is raised and posts (with pre-drilled holes at their bases) are set down onto the Plexiglas, sliding the Timberlinx into the post.  Finally, the specified Timberlinx screw is inserted into the side of the post and tightened, thus securing the post to the foundation.  A wooden plug is used to conceal this connection and is sanded flush with the outside face of the post.  Almost the trick of a street performer, the post base connection is hidden giving the frame a very clean appearance.  Constructing an accurate and strong foundation is the most important step in preparing to raise a timber frame pavilion, thus our crew often makes a special trip to measure and evaluate the work before raising a pavilion.  Quality from the ground up you could say!

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