Table of Contents
- What is a Timber Home?
- What's the Difference Between Post-And-Beam and Timber Frame Homes?
- How are Log and Timber Homes Different?
- Benefits of Timber Framing
- Timber Framing Terminology
- Timber Home Anatomy
- SIPs: What You Need to Know
- The Benefit of Using SIPs to Insulate a Home
- Timber Frame Truss Styles
You’ll often hear a timber home's structure referred to as either post-and-beam or timber framing. The difference has to do chiefly with the method used to fasten the frame’s complex joinery system together. A post-and-beam home employs metal fasteners, which are either hidden behind the timbers or face the interior. Timber framing uses only wooden pegs to secure the frame’s joinery. Whether you choose post-and-beam or timber frame will determine the look and feel of your home’s interior.
How are Log & Timber Homes Different?Timber frames are often confused with, but are quite different from log homes. The main distinction between log homes and timber homes is how they use the wood. As a result, they achieve sharply different looks. And because timber homes can use a variety of exterior materials having nothing to do with the inside, they may not be recognizable as timber frame homes, whereas log homes are always identified as such. In general, log homes have a horizontal profile and timber homes are vertical. These tendencies result from the way to logs are laid and the frame is raised.
See more about how timber frame homes are built here.
Benefits of Timber Framing
Timber Framing TerminologyLike most specialized art forms, timber framing has a language all its own, with terms for the various tools, materials and construction methods. Below is a brief list of commonly-used timber frame terms to help you better understand the process.
- Timbers are the wooden beams that comprise the home’s structural frame.
- Posts are the main upright timbers that comprise the timber frame.
- Crossbeams connect the post beams, providing stability.
- Joints are where two timbers or frame pieces come together. Joints can range from simple to highly decorative and include lap joints, mortise-and-tenon joints, dovetailed and pegged joints, among many others.
- A truss is a rigid triangle of timbers. Trusses provide column-free floor space and are typically incorporated on the top floor.
- Hybrid is a type of building that combines the methods of timber framing and conventional stud-frame building or, in our industry, log construction. Combining building styles can sometimes save you money and will definitely add visual interest to a home.
- SIPs (structural insulated panels) sheath the timber-frame structure. Made of two layers of durable, flat wood and filled with a highly dense insulating foam in between, SIPs have more or less revolutionized the timber frame building process.
Timber homes are complete structures made of vertical posts and horizontal beams to form cross sections called bents. Other members provide support, bracing and structure to the frame. The most common members are shown in the illustration above.
They’re flexible.SIPs can arrive at the home site in bundles of large generic panels that builders cut to fit the home’s specific floor plan. Or panels can be cut exactly to the home’s design at the factory by the manufacturer and then numbered for easy installation, which results in less wasted materials and resources.
They’re energy efficient.SIPs cut heating and cooling costs by as much as 60 percent over products used for conventional “stick” construction. Even where wall thickness is the same, SIPs outperform stick framing on whole-wall energy performance by 40 to 60 percent.
They’re soundproof.SIPs block sound like few other materials — a big perk, especially in bedrooms, dens, home offices and media rooms. For more information, visit sips.org.
The kind of structural support your design requires, as well as personal preference, will determine your home’s truss system. A triangle is the simplest form of truss, but its use is limited to small buildings. Adding a king post in the center allows for a wider span. Queen-post trusses, in contrast, look like a rectangle within a triangle. The dramatic hammerbeam truss is used to span large interior spaces and enables ceilings to soar. Here's what to know about different truss styles:
- Achieves the cathedral quality
- Creates vaulted spaces
- Can be enhanced with embellishments
King Post with Struts
- The most cost-effective
- Offers a strong, sturdy appearance
- Creates a cozy, intimate feeling
Queen Post (modified)
- Can span distances of 30 feet or more
- Offers an open area in the center of the truss
- Visually lowers the ceiling height for a more intimate feel
- Perfect for those seeking something unique
- Can create a narrow, cottage-like aesthetic
- Ideal for steep roof pitches