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August 1, 2019

Here’s the Lowdown on Timber Framing

Timber frames offer many advantages for home builders and renovation projects alike. They can be erected quickly, cheaply, and easily, yet still maintain the durability to keep your home safe and structurally sound for years to come.

Due to its strength, timber framing gives you a wealth of freedom when designing your space. With fewer load-bearing walls necessary to support your structure, timber frames make possible large, open spaces, and even vaulted ceilings. Their attractive appearance also makes them eligible for outdoor exposure. Whatever your reason for choosing timber framing, be it their natural and sustainable materials, insulation benefits, their simplicity, or their rapid build time, here’s what you need to know before you get started.

Basic construct of timber framing

Timber framing is commonly confused with post-and-beam style structures, which use metal fasteners to secure the joinery. Timber framing, however, is a bit more elegant. Wooden pegs (or tenons) are used to secure the timberjoinery (with slots called mortises). Timber framing is made up of four principle elements:

  • Posts – Posts are the upright timber pieces that form the core of your timber frames.
  • Crossbeams – Crossbeams are laid horizontally above, below, or across the posts to stabilise the structure.
  • Joints – Joints are the points where two pieces of timber, typically posts and crossbeams, meet. These joints are secured with wooden pegs, nails, or screws.
  • Trusses – A truss is a triangle framed with timbers. These are typically used overhead to support ceilings and provide open spaces free of columns.

Ideal woods for timber frames

The type of wood matters when crafting your timber framing. Different types of timber will have different advantages and disadvantages, such as cost, appearance, and durability. Consider these wood types for your timber frames:

  • Bald cypress – Bald cypress wood has a pleasingly pale colour and its unusual weather resistance makes it ideal for frames exposed to the elements.
  • Douglas fir – Douglas fir timber is surprisingly affordable for its strength and lends itself well to paints.
  • Red cedar – Red cedar withstands moisture rot well, making it a common choice for outdoor applications. It is also an attractive choice for many varnishes and finishes.
  • Oak – Available in both red and white, oak is a famously sturdy hardwood. Though often rather pricey, oak is the most durable and stately wood available for most timber construction.
  • White pine – The most common type of wood available for construction applications, white pine is very affordable and easy to work with.

Tips and Tricks for your timber frames

When it comes to your timber framing, always sweat the small stuff. You’re going to ask a lot of your frames, so take care that they’re assembled correctly, with an eye for quality and endurance.

  • Consider a coarse-cut wood saw for large timber pieces. This will give you more accuracy.
  • Insist on pressure-treated woods for your timber to avoid bowing or flexing, particularly for sill plates and floor joists.
  • If you’re using wood pegs for your joinery, invest in a marking gauge. Using your marking gauge to create a template will give you more consistency throughout your project and improve speed and efficiency.
  • Use an electric drill to clean out your mortises. This will ensure that build-up doesn’t throw off your measurements.
  • Label or number each piece of timber once they’ve been measured and cut, to avoid wasting time on re-measures.

Take your timber joinery to the next level

Timber framing is a great look for any doorway or window frame, which is why Atlas Glass offers the finest glazing options for timber joinery NZ has to offer! Give your home the touch of class it deserves. Contact Atlas Glass today to learn more.

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