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What is a Timber Frame Home?

What is a Timber Frame home and what makes it unique? There are many misconceptions regarding the timber frame building process and that is why we have created this article. We will cover all of the aspects that go into timber framing, along with the different construction process, that are typically paired with a timber frame home.


Table of contents

What is a Timber Frame Home?

A timber frame home or structure uses a framing style that consists of large timbers connected by mortise and tenon joinery secured with wooden pegs. Timber framing is one of the most durable framing techniques out there and can last for hundreds of years.

One of the most significant benefits of pursuing a timber-frame construction is load-bearing walls cutting through the house are unneeded. Due to the core strength of the beams, open floor plans are an option. The structural integrity provides you with the freedom to make your dining room, kitchen, living room, or any room for that manner the size you wish (large or small).

The timbers and beams can be covered or exposed, allowing the builder to style the house to appear any way you feel fit, ranging from a thoroughly modern look or a traditional mountain home appearance.

What is the difference between a log home and a timber frame home?

Many people make the misconception that timber frame and log homes are the same. While in fact, they are very much different. The two most significant differences between the two are how the wood used in the construction process and the aesthetic appearance.

Log homes

Log homes overlay logs horizontally, which interlock at the corners by notching. These logs can be squared, round, and hewed to other shapes, either milled or handcrafted. 

The exterior and, in most cases, the interior of the home is easily identifiable.

Trinity Building Systems parent company TLC Log Homes living room example.

Timber Frame Home

Timber Frame homes can utilize a variety of external and internal materials, which can make the build unrecognizable as a timber-framed structure if desired. 

The main distinction in the architecture, compared to log homes, is the timber frame uses vertical posts and horizontal beams.

Trinity Building Systems parent company TLC Log Homes timber old fashioned bar.

what is the difference between Timber frame and post-and-beam home?

If you looked into the timber building process, you’ve probably heard the term post and beam as an option. Although both timber framing and post and beam homes, use similar materials, the way they are joined together is the main difference between the two building styles.


Post and beam rely on connecting portions of the frame composed of metal fasteners. Using this joinery changes the visual appearance of the interior of the home. 

While the combination of wood and metal can be visually appealing to some individuals, it does not provide a connection that is as strong compared to a true timber-framed structure.

Timber Frame

A true timber framed home uses wooden pegs and tension to fasten the frame’s joinery. This type of joinery sets timber framing apart from any other construction type that uses posts and beams. 

This joinery is centered on the mortise and tenon, mortise being the slot, and the tenon is the tongue of the joint. 

Having this connection provides structural integrity that is hard to beat in the building industry.

What is a hybrid building style with a timber frame?

A hybrid building style combines methods of timber framing along with other structural techniques. Typically this is done to save money on the project or provide an alternative visual interest.

Hybrid Combined Methods with timber framing.

  • Post and beam (most popular)
  • Log construction
  • Conventional stud-frame building

SIPs: What are they, and how are they used with timber frame homes?

Trinity Building Systems prefab uses Big Sky R-Control SIPs to help you save time and money.SIPs (structural insulated panels) are becoming the most popular way to enclose a timber home/structure. Compared to a traditional wall stud style, SIPs have rigid foam core made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or graphite enhanced (GPS). This core is sandwiched between two layers of oriented strandboard (OSB). SIPs come in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 2 inches to 16 inches. 

Click here for a more in-depth guide on what SIPs are.

Benefits of sIP's

Decreases building time

Because SIPs have the insulation included the building process can speed up your project from 20-50% while also minimizing excess waste from cutting and sizing paneling on site

Stronger than stick-built walls

SIPs can support vertical loads, transverse loads such as wind, and in-panel loads (shear walls). Using SIPs comparison to a traditional stick-built style, SIPs can hold 4080 pounds of uniform load while a stick build structure can only hold 2500 pounds of uniform load.

To really put this in perspective, a 10 foot 6in SIP wall can support a transversal load such as wind at a rate of 58 pounds per square foot. A typical hurricane with winds up to 200 miles per hour admits a pressure of 52.2 pounds per square foot. Now that’s strong!

Saves you money on energy costs

SIPs help to minimize thermal bridging, which is the process where energy occurs within a home. SIPs can help cut heating and cooling costs up to 60%. Comparing SIPs to a stick-built wall, where the thickness is the same, SIPs perform 40 to 60 percent better on whole-wall energy costs.

Sound Resistant

SIPs decrease the amount of sound passing through walls that few materials can match; this is a huge bonus, especially in bedrooms, home offices, and media rooms.

1 thought on “What is a Timber Frame Home?”

  1. I found it interesting when you said that a timber-framed home uses vertical posts and horizontal beams. My uncle wants to build a new timber frame home on his property so he can have the freedom for open floor plans. He should find a supplier with the right frames for his walls and other materials.

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