The Disadvantages of Timber Frame

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Timber frame construction is a common form of construction, particularly for homes and low-rise buildings. It is a method of fitting wood beams and boards together to form a latticework frame, almost like a skeleton.

There are several advantages to this type of construction but there are also disadvantages that you should be aware of before deciding if it fits your needs.

Fire, Water and Bugs

Wood is a porous and very combustible material, susceptible to water, fire and bugs. Water can be absorbed into the material, causing it to rot and mould, which can compromise the strength and cause adverse health effects. This can be a major problem in humid or damp climates. Wood is also very flammable, which makes the material a fire hazard. Carpenter ants and termites love to eat wood framing, seriously impacting the strength of the construction.

Environmental Impact

Logging for timber framing can have a major environmental impact. Producing boards and beams for timber frame construction requires harvesting trees. Large, old-growth forests have been clear-cut in the past to produce wood for timber construction. Clear-cutting forests can lead to other problems such as soil erosion and destruction of wildlife habitat.


Wood is an excellent transmitter of sound waves so any noise inside or outside of the home is easily heard throughout the home. This can be a major problem if there are several people living in the home or it is located near a noisy street as the sounds are transmitted very clearly.


Timber frames are fairly strong up and down but not as strong as other materials horizontally. So if your building design has a large room with a long span, it will be difficult for timber frame construction to handle the weight. You may need to have a post in the middle to absorb some of the weight.