Frequently Asked Questions
What is Timber Frame and
Why is Timber Frame and
Panel Safer and More Durable ?
Is Timber frame
and panel environmentally friendly ?
How thermally efficient
is Timber frame and panel ?
Are there health
advantages to using Timber frame and panel ?
What Labor Savings
does Timber frame and panel offer ?
Can Timber frame and
panel shorten the construction cycle ?
How does Timber frame
and panel compare in cost terms ?
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
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
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
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