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What Does "Half-Timbering" Mean?

A little background on what this architectural term means and where it comes from.

 Photos: Peter Zimmerman Architects



While considering architectural styles for my timber home, I kept coming across the term “half-timbering,” but I don’t know what this refers to. Is there a difference between a half-timbered and timber frame home?


A half-timbered building has exposed wood framing on the exterior (and very likely has visible decorative or structural timbers inside, too). The spaces between the exterior wood timbers are filled with plaster, stucco, brick or stone. In Medieval times through the early years of the Tudor reign in England, many European houses were half-timbered (lending to the concept of Tudor Revival-style homes we recognize today).
However, in the United States, before the days of insulation and structural insulated panels, harsh winters made half-timbered construction impractical and the style fell out of favor. That is, until the 1800s, when decorative half-timbering and Tudor homes experienced a rebirth, becoming a popular type of ornamentation in homes throughout the 19th century and continuing today.

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