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Why Are Timber Frame Homes So Popular?


by FindPreFab.com | 09/19/2007

Timber frame homes have recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity for a variety of reasons both practical and emotional. Perhaps you are interested in this traditional style of home and would like to know more about it. What, exactly, is a timber frame home?

Timber frame homes are constructed using medieval methods. The timber frame home design utilizes a framework constructed of a post and beam style method. Timber frame homes use trusses made of exposed timber posts, and the resulting skeletal structure remains a visible part of the home's design. The beautiful timber posts are anchored by oak pegs and traditional mortise and tenon joinery. You won't find bolts and brackets in timber frame homes! This traditional style offers a unique handcrafted look with unparalleled beauty.

You may also have heard about post and beam houses and wonder how they differ from timber frame homes. Post and beam houses also use timber posts to support the roof rafters and the upper floors. However, these houses use bolts and brackets and do not follow the old world methods of the timber frame home plan. They are essentially a modern update of the timber frame home design.

Historically, the timber frame home was often known as a half-timbered house. While many of us may associate this style with England, particularly in the time of Shakespeare, the timber frame home design was often used in countries where wood was plentiful. Timber frame homes are common in Denmark, Germany, and France, as well as England.

Besides its beauty, there are several advantages to a timber frame home design. Timber frame homes are energy efficient and also relatively quick to build. They lend themselves to an open floor plan, which is a great favorite of modern home-owners. Yet another advantage is the creativity that a timber frame home design offers. If the homeowner has a post from an old barn or some other sentimental favorite, it can easily be incorporated into the home's design.

There are also a few disadvantages to the timber frame homes. Many of the drawbacks have to do with the chief material used, wood. Timber frame homes may tend to be noisier than a traditional home, both from room to room and floor to floor. Fungi, mold and rot can be problematic, especially in damp or humid climates. And the timber may be susceptible to infestations of insects such as termites, beetles, or cockroaches. Insects may not be the only problem. Some timber frame homes have had problems with mice and rats. Finally, timber frame homes can be more susceptible to fire damage and earthquakes.

However, modern construction companies continually upgrade their processes and can often find ways to lessen the possibility of some of these problems occurring. Your best bet is to talk to your contractor or real estate agent about these concerns. For the homeowner who has fallen in love with timber frame homes, none of these issues will be drawbacks. They will pale in comparison to the unique beauty and style that a timber frame home offers.


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