Timber Frames

Timber Frame Barns

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What is a Timber Frame Barn?

A timber frame barn is a type of barn structure that is constructed using the traditional timber framing technique. This method involves crafting a framework of heavy, squared-off, and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs.

Barns used to be something we simply kept our animals and hay in. These days people are utilizing them for a great variety of other uses. We see barn homes, party barns, wedding venue barns – the ideas are endless.

A timber frame barn is not just a functional structure; it’s a blend of art, tradition, and utility. Its timeless appeal, coupled with its strength and versatility, makes it a desirable choice for various applications and a worthwhile investment for those who appreciate its unique qualities.
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Timber frame barn with adjoining timber frame patio
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Timber Frame Barn FAQs

Timber frame barns are known for their longevity. With proper maintenance, they can last for centuries. The lifespan depends on the type of wood used, quality of construction, and environmental conditions.

The best woods for timber frame barns include durable and strong species like Douglas Fir, Oak, and Cedar. The choice depends on factors like local climate, desired appearance, and budget.

Yes, timber frame barns offer high customization flexibility. From the overall design to specific architectural details, they can be tailored to meet various functional and aesthetic requirements.

Timber frame barns can be highly energy-efficient, especially when combined with modern insulation techniques. The natural insulating properties of wood, along with additional materials like SIPs, enhance their energy efficiency.

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Timber Frame Barn Design Gallery

Looking to build a timber frame barn? We can help!

We’ve had the honor of serving hundreds of happy customers across the United States looking to make their timber framing dreams come true.
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Pole Barns and Timber Frame Barns

Right off the bat, we can tell you that pole barns and timber frame barns are completely different structures. The only real similarity between the two is that both use strong hardwood as the main frame of the structure. Well, we also count the fact that both structures are barns. That's where the similarities end.

In every single way, from conception to build, there are many crucial differences between timber frame and pole construction barns. Today, we're going to examine some of the most important ones.

Timber frame barn build in progress. Compare this with a pole barn. Guess which will survive the elements.An example of a pole barn.

The Design

cause of the intricate parts and joinery required to hold the heavy timber components of a timber frame together, a timber frame barn requires a more complex design. When designing and laying out a timber frame barn, you must consider the proper placement of such elements as:

  • Trusses
  • Beams
  • Posts
  • Ties

As well as the placement of mortise and tenon connectors to ensure that the frame of your barn is strong and structurally sound.

Pole barns do not require the same intricate joinery for the strength and solidity. In fact, much of a pole barns strength comes from the posts are buried in the ground. They also do not use heavy timber in their construction, instead requiring wood that is smaller and more lightweight. Because of these things, the design of a pole barn does not need to be as complex as that of a timber frame barn.

The Building Process

Pole barns are often prefabricated, meaning that after you choose a design and are shipped a kit. These kits are simple enough to build for either the DIY enthusiast and some friends or a small crew that has basic knowledge of construction. All you have to do is dig holes for your poles – no foundation required – and put it all together. Simply stated, pole barns are simple buildings for keeping farming equipment, storing hay, or possibly housing livestock.

Timber frame barns are designed to meet the needs of our clients. Unlike pole barns, a permanent foundation is required to create a strong, solid base for your timber frame barn. The heart of your timber frame structure is comprised of bents. These bents are assembled on site by experienced joiners due to the complex joinery required to hold each piece together. Because of the weight of timber frame barn bents, they must be raised by cranes. While this sounds like a time-intensive, costly process, it's all worth it. Timber frame barns and all timber frame structures are built to be enjoyed for decades to come.

Exterior of timber frame barn. It's not that we couldn't build pole barns, but why would we?

Durability & Cost

When you're trying to choose between a pole barn or a timber frame barn, there are two things you should consider:

  • What you're planning on using the structure for
  • What kind of budget you're working with

Pole barns ultimately cost less than timber frame barns. This is partly due to their prefabricated nature and because pole barns are not built to last for generations. If you're looking for something with more uses than general storage that can stick around longer than a few decades, then a pole barn is not for you.

Timber frame barns are more expensive, but you truly get what you pay for. If treated right and maintained well, a timber frame barn can stick around for centuries. Don't believe us? Check out some of the Renaissance timber architecture found in many European and Scandinavian countries that still stands today. Timber frames cost more in part because of the labor intensive techniques used in building them. Much of the cost is attributed to the building processes used, and the labor involved, but having your building expertly put together by experienced joiners means that you'll get a quality

Now you know how that pole barns and timber frame barns are completely different structures. Still curious as to whether or not a pole barn or a timber frame barn is right for you? Give us a call at (931) 484-7059 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a quick chat with us. Our timber framing experts will be more than happy to help you find the solution that best fits your needs!

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