Q: I am looking to build in the future. How does a timber frame home compare
with regular construction (2 X 6 framing)? Are these the homes of the future or just another choice within the construction industry?
A: Timber framing is another option in the construction industry, and is considered a “building system,” which means part or all of the home is constructed in a
controlled environment before being delivered to the building site. Because they are finished on site, they appeal to owner/builders as well as homeowners who want their entire home constructed by professionals and are ready to move in.
Timber framing is actually an old craft that has evolved into an advanced
technology. Timber framing is a specific type of post and beam construction in which
a frame is created from solid wood timbers that are then connected by wooden joints. Normally, the timbers remain exposed to the interior of the building. Because the frame carries all the structural weight of the house, it allows for large expanses of window and open interiors that flow from one room into the next. A timber frame can be incorporated into almost any style of home, in urban or rural settings, with exterior treatments of wood, brick, stucco, stone, or any other material desired.
Conventional light frame construction today involves many slender sticks of wood
simply cut to length and nailed together, thus a typical timber frame structure requires a much smaller number of stout posts and beams. Light frame construction, even when carefully done, is considered rough carpentry, and in dwellings, it is always concealed by finished walls and ceilings. Modern timber framework, on the other hand, is generally exposed, and timbers can be as finely prepared as the skill and care of the craftsman allow.
Timber framing is also compatible with many other building systems and materials such as structural insulated panels, logs, engineered wood products and stud systems. Although manufacturers may differ, most offer a wide range of pre-designed packages as well as custom design services. Homeowners can choose to buy just the frame from the manufacturer and arrange to finish it themselves or with a local contractor, or buy a “full package” from the manufacturer.
A good resource is the non-profit Timber Framers Guild at http://www.tfguild.org. To find a timber frame manufacturer, a general contractor to construct your new home, or any other kind of home construction or improvement specialist, please visit us at homeadvisor.com to join as a member (it’s free) or for help locating the ideal service professional in your area.