Frequently Asked Questions
Timber Frame Structure
How does timber frame construction differ from Post & Beam construction?
Timber framing refers to a specific type of post & beam construction in which solid wood timbers are connected with traditional mortise and tenon joinery and secured with hardwood pegs.
What kind of wood do you use?
The most common species used in Timbercraft Homes is Douglas fir. Other wood species that we use include Oak, Pine and Cedar. Frames can also be cut from reclaimed or kiln dried timber.
Will my timber frame change as it ages?
As a natural building material, timbers characteristically have slight variations in grain and color. Occasionally a slight grain separation, known as a “check”, will appear on the surface of a timber. Checking does not compromise the strength of a timber; it’s a naturally occurring feature that can occur when timbers contain heartwood (wood cut from the center of the tree). Checking can also occur if timber is allowed to dry too quickly. To reduce checking Timbercraft specifies that all fir timbers are 90% free of heart with the end of each timber treated with a wax-based sealant to slow the release of moisture.
Does Timbercraft supply timber components for conventionally framed homes?
Yes, we’ve provided frames for “great” rooms, roof systems and trusses as well as a variety of timber elements and assemblies for use in conventionally framed buildings.
What are the advantages of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs?)
SIP’s provide a fast and efficient system for enclosing your timber frame. Foam-core panels wrap the entire frame with a continuous blanket of insulation resulting in an extremely energy-efficient wall and roof system. Roof panel joints are typically concealed behind rafters or purlins eliminating the need for taping most of the drywall seams as part of the interior finishing process.
Can timber frames be built with conventionally framed 2’x 6’ walls?
Yes, some owner-builders have opted to enclose the timber frame with conventional framing lumber in-filled with various insulation products. While this system is more labor intensive and time consuming it may offer a cost savings for the owner-builder.
Building and Mechanical Systems
Can typical building and mechanical systems be combined with timber frame construction?
Yes, conventional construction methods and mechanical systems are easily integrated with timber frame construction. During the design process we pay special attention to these issues.
What kind of a foundation does a timber frame house require?
Timber framed structures can be built on virtually any foundation configuration including full basement, grade beam, slab, and pier systems that may utilize poured concrete, concrete block or other acceptable foundation construction materials. Foundations are structurally engineered for each building site and specific construction details appear on all Timbercraft plans. A complete discussion of foundations and steel tie-down straps can be found in the Construction Manual that accompanies the building package for your home.
Does plumbing present any difficulties?
No. Plumbing is run through the interior walls except where it can be concealed inside a cabinet. The ducts and “chases” needed to accommodate mechanical systems, including plumbing, are located during the design development phase of your project and specified in the construction documents.
How do you wire a timber frame house with structural insulated panels?
There are a number of options for running electrical wiring in houses enclosed with SIP’s. A complete discussion of wiring options, along with installation diagrams, is included in the Construction Manual that accompanies your building package.
Can ordinary building materials be used to construct a timber frame home?
Yes. No special materials are required. Any siding or roofing material can be used to construct and finish a timber framed home. Heat, ventilation and other mechanical systems are designed to be housed in ducts located inside interior walls and between floors.
Timber Frame Home Design
Does Timbercraft offer timber frame design and engineering?
Yes, Timbercraft offers a complete architectural design and engineering service.
Will Timbercraft work with my plans and my designer?
Yes. We encourage you and your designer to consult with Timbercraft early in the design process. A Timbercraft designer can contribute information that may save you and your designer valuable time.
Timber Frame Costs
How do the costs of timber frame homes compare to conventionally framed homes?
A custom home designed by Timbercraft and completed by a qualified general contractor could cost as much as 20% more than a comparable conventionally framed home.
Planning Your Timber Frame Home
Does Timbercraft offer standard plans?
Timbercraft does not have a catalog of standard models. We’ve found that it’s much more productive to discuss with folks their own individual home building needs and desires. When you visit us, you’re welcome to review our portfolio featuring many of the custom homes we’ve completed over the years. There’s a good chance you’ll discover a house plan with characteristics similar to what you’ve envisioned for your own home. We’d be happy to adapt any plan to your building site as well as your unique requirements.
Does Timbercraft have a model home that I can visit?
Timbercraft’s main office is located within minutes of our model home. This home includes an oak frame and a Douglas fir frame. Visitors to Timbercraft are invited to take a photographic tour of timber frame homes and public buildings and review plans for a variety of different custom designed timber frame homes. Many of our home owners graciously open their doors to Timbercraft visitors, so perhaps we can arrange something for you.