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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Label or number each piece of
timber once they’ve been measured and cut, to avoid wasting time on
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