A Perspective on Timber Framing Techniques

Timber framing, the use of hand-crafted post and beam, has been around for millennia, particularly in Europe. Since the 1970’s, it has been updated by the introduction of computer numerically controlled machines, which have revolutionized quality and affordability. Timber framed structures differ from conventional wood-framed (or “stick framed”) buildings in several ways. Timber framing uses fewer, larger wooden members (6” to 12” in thickness), held together by structural (mortise and tenon) joints, while stick framing uses many more, smaller (2” to 4” in thickness) timbers fastened by nails. The advantage is that timber frame is less dependent for strength on extraneous bracing such as joists, rafters, gusset plates etc, reducing the density of load-bearing walls and saving considerably on wood material and consequently cost.

Another important difference is that timber frame structures are enclosed with structural insulated panels (SIP’s), consisting of 5” of expanded Polystyrene (EPS), sandwiched industrially between two plies of oriented strand board (OSB). These panels act as structural “I beams” and, since their loads are carried evenly throughout, they are stronger in compressive strength and resistance to racking than stick framed walls. Conventional stick framed walls, requiring considerable labor to build with 2” x 4” studs, nailed in place on 16” centers and then batt insulated, are not only less strong but, due to the thermal bridging of the studs, they are less insulated (R16) than SIPS panels (R24), resulting in greater energy loss.

A further advantage of panels worth noting is that they allow the timbers to be fully enclosed inside the insulated wall system, protecting them from moisture and other damage, whereas in the case of stick framed walls, the moisture can penetrate into wall cavities, causing the rotting of the stud framework and reducing the life of the building.

There are momentous changes in today’s residential construction, shaped by economic pressures, environmental concerns and lifestyle changes. Conventional stick framing methods are increasingly considered costly, wasteful, energy inefficient and inflexible. Timber frame and panel construction, thanks to technological innovation, is being recognized as more cost-effective, less demanding on scarce resources, more energy efficient, durable and safe, while compressing the construction cycle by half.

 

   
 

Home About Real Estate Relocation Equestrian Timber Frames Links Contact

Copyright Farmfield Plantation 2010
All Rights Reserved
Website Design and Maintenance by Barrett Computers