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Timber Frames

Top Three Benefits to Timber Frame Construction

July 29, 2023
Timber frame outdoor pavilion

With the many kinds of construction available today one might ask themselves, why build a timber frame?  Our answer is why not build a timber frame?  There are many advantages of using heavy timber construction.  Some of the more obvious advantages are found in the strength, beauty, and energy-friendly benefits they incorporate into any structure. 

This blog will take a closer look at each of these benefits.

  1. Beauty and Comfort:

Large exposed heavy timber beams are honest. They put the natural grain patterns, texture, and color variations of each timber on display, adding an organic warmth wherever they are used.  

Timber frame construction is traditionally rustic, can contrast nicely with tile, wood, or concrete floors, and is greatly accented with the use of sheetrock walls.  Considering that timber frame homes are designed to each owner’s personal tastes they are truly an extension of their vision and dreams, creating the personal kind of beauty that lasts forever.

Ceiling timber frame construction

Each timber beam reflects the passion and care with which the timber frame was constructed, adding that beautiful “wow” factor to each entryway, porch, great room, or kitchen they are incorporated in.   Natural checking and proud wooden pegs also lend themselves to the euphoric feeling associated with the enduring style and artistry of timber framing. 

2. Strength & Durability

Timber framing has been around for thousands of years and can be dated back as far as 200 BC in India, Japan, and throughout Europe.   There are timber frame structures still standing today, such as the Jokhang Monastery in Tibet, which has withstood centuries of weather, earthquakes, and human use, showing the true strength of timber framing.

Timber frame strength comes in part from the care taken in the design of the structure.  The use of large structural timbers utilization of traditional mortise and tenon joinery allows timber frame structures to be flexible, giving them an advantage when it comes to structural loads as well as seismic activity, wind, and snow.

  1. Energy Efficiency and Eco-Friendly:

Timbers are a replenishable, natural resource when harvested responsibly. Heavy timber construction also creates a much smaller carbon footprint because of the relatively little amount of energy used to create the material compared to the amount used to manufacture concrete and steel. The use of natural heavy timbers reduces the number of chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process of pressure-treated lumber used in many conventional buildings. By using suppliers that practice reforestation, timber framers can build responsibly using what nature has already supplied.

Heavy timber frame construction can also be very energy efficient when used with structural insulated panels, which is a common practice, offering a higher R-value to the finished home or structure. They have a low thermal mass, which reduces the amount of heat absorbed and allows the house to warm up quickly. When designed thoughtfully, timber frame structures can fractionalize the cost to heat and cool compared to most conventionally built structures.

Other notable benefits:

A few other benefits to using heavy timbers in your structure include a higher fire rating.  This is due to the timber’s natural tendency to resist fire.  The timber will begin to char first sealing off the interior of the timber and essentially protecting it from damage.  The charring process delays the combustion process thus, the thicker the timber, the longer it takes for the timber to burn.

Timber frame structures are also quicker to erect than most conventional buildings.  Because the timber frame is cut, trial fit, and stacked before being shipped to the job site, time on site is cut down tremendously.  When structural insulated panels are used with timber framing, it can take days as opposed to weeks to “dry in” a structure.

Overall, the benefits of timber framing vary from beauty, substantial strength and durability as well as being energy and eco-friendly when compared to conventional construction methods.

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