Timber framing is a traditional method of house building, using large posts and beams, that was popular in the United States until the late 1800s when the stick framing still used today came into use. While timber framing fell out of vogue, it never disappeared; in recent years, it has become a popular choice for the construction of many homes, in part because of some of its distinct advantages over other styles of framing.
Built to Last
Timber framing provides great structural strength. It holds up well under duress, whether it be from the elements or natural disaster; a timber frame house might very well stand in a storm that would flatten a stick built home. Timber framed homes will often last many decades beyond the typical life of other homes.
Easy to Build and Heat
Timber framing offers an economy of scale, in that it cuts down on the amount of wood pieces needed to construct a home frame. That, in turn, makes it easier for post framing work, such as sheetrocking, as the exact spacing used for materials nailed to studs sitting closely together does not need to be followed. An average sized home can be timber-framed quickly -- in as little as 2 to 3 days -- which means lower labour costs as well. On-site construction waste is also reduced.
Easier to Insulate and Heat
The extra space between the timbers when compared to closely placed studding makes it easier to infill spaces in between the beams, particularly when a home is being built with non-typical materials, such as straw bales. Timber-frame homes often have insulated exterior sheathing that offers outstanding insulation properties.
Love the Look
For some people, it's the look that makes timber framing attractive, with the look of rough hewn, exposed timbers being aesthetically pleasing.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of all when timber framing is its cost, particularly when the wood comes from a local sawmill. If such wood cannot be found, those who are considering timber framing should look around -- they may be able to find old timbers to recycle.