Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Timber Frame and Panel ?

2. Why is Timber Frame and Panel Safer and More Durable ?

3. Is Timber frame and panel environmentally friendly ?

4. How thermally efficient is Timber frame and panel ?

5. Are there health advantages to using Timber frame and panel ?

6. What Labor Savings does Timber frame and panel offer ?

7. Can Timber frame and panel shorten the construction cycle ?

8. How does Timber frame and panel compare in cost terms ?

9. Why is Timber frame and panel considered a leading “green” technology ?

 

 

 

 

What is Timber Frame and Panel ?
Timber frame and panel technology is an evolved form of the original post-and-beam, whereby hand-crafted beams provided a strong supporting frame using traditional mortice-and-tenon joinery. Modern timber frame and panel utilizes various types of plantation-grown wood (Douglas Fir, Yellow Pine). From a computer-aided design, the components of the frame are cut by a numerically-controlled machine with traditional mortice-and-tenon joints for precise fit and tensile strength. The rapidly assembled timbers provide a cost-efficient frame for any architectural design and one that is scalable for any size structure. The frame sections can be flexibly configured to any floor plan, reducing the density of load-bearing walls and opening up the interior space.
 


Why is Timber Frame and Panel Safer and More Durable ?
Whereas earlier post-and-beam relied on scanty sheathing such as cedar shingle or clapboard to insulate the structure and accommodate a particular architectural style, the exterior sheathing of modern timber frame and panel construction is a structural insulated panel or SIP. This consists of a 5-inch expanded polystyrene (EPS) core of foam plastic insulation, securely bonded between two structural facings of oriented strand board (OSB) This sandwich wall structure functions like a steel I-beam, analogous the web-and-flange concept in steel construction, delivering superior strength and transverse load resistance. SIP structures better withstand hurricane winds and earthquakes, providing better building security and longevity.

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Is Timber frame and panel environmentally friendly ?
This form of construction virtually eliminates the 40% waste factor associated with stick framing due to all the off-cuts. By contrast, SIPs are fabricated in a controlled shop environment and utilize recyclable EPS foam and engineered OSB made of compressed wood strands arranged in three perpendicular layers and bonded with phenolic resin. These are all derived products and require minimal new-growth wood. The wood species used for the timber frames can be flexibly sourced throughout the US and are typically grown within a 30-mile radius of the project site. These factors make timber frame and panel a LEEDS certified construction technology.

 

How thermally efficient is Timber frame and panel ?
SIPs save energy because exterior walls do not need sawn lumber, which is a poor insulator and causes energy loss through thermal bridging. The highly insulating core of rigid foam that blankets both roof and wall panels in a SIP home gives a significantly higher R value to the structure. SIPs permit the use of down-sized, more cost-effective and energy efficient heating and cooling systems (eg geothermal) due to their inherent tightness.

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Are there health advantages to using Timber frame and panel ?
The degree of airtightness possible in a SIP home allows greater control over indoor air quality (IAQ) by limiting incoming air to mechanical ventilation systems that can filter air for allergens and pollutants, thus avoiding negative effects on personal health and comfort. Less air leakage means fewer drafts, less sound transmission and a much more comfortable indoor environment. Molds, mildews and dusts are also reduced.
 


What Labor Savings does Timber frame and panel offer ?
Independent testing shows that building with SIPs saves 40% on labor. This is because SIPs arrive at the construction site ready for precise installation and without the need for bracing, sheathing or insulation, all of which are required with stick framed walls. Panels as large as 8 ft X 24 ft can be installed quickly with mechanical assistance, allowing for faster dry-in time to get the structure weather-proof. Walls and roof are immediately ready for exterior finish systems and, since interior framing can be done after SIPs are set, this work can be done indoors in a controlled environment once windows and exterior doors are in place.

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Can Timber frame and panel shorten the construction cycle ?
In association with experienced timber frame and panel producers such as Vermont Timber Frames Inc, endowed with numerically-controlled design and fabrication capabilities, turnaround time from design to installation can be as short as 6 weeks. The rapid dry-in cycle times discussed earlier in turn allow the interior finish work to begin immediately after the structure is raised, thus reducing project completion times by half compared to conventional stick building.
 


How does Timber frame and panel compare in cost terms ?
The combined effect of the above attributes of timber frame and panel building result in a less wasteful, stronger, more energy-efficient building, achieved at a lower cost, all of which are compelling advantages in today’s tight economy. The savings achieved through the lower initial cost of construction are complemented by those realized from lower heating and cooling costs.

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Why is Timber frame and panel considered a leading “green” technology ?
Homes have a tremendous impact on the environment, both during construction and through the life cycle of the building. Since residential home construction represents a significant part of US economic activity, the aggregate impact on our ecosystem is very significant. Choosing to build a Timber frame and panel home is an important component in minimizing a home’s effect on this ecosystem and reducing overall energy consumption. Major additional dividends accruing to the homeowner include lower front-end investment and reduced running costs as well as a safer, healthier living environment.


 

   
 

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