Timber frame homes deliver beauty and green building options

Timber frame homes deliver beauty and green building options

If you're in the market for a rustic timber frame home, there are some new options for this renewable building resource.

If you're the do-it-yourself type, a timber framing kit may be the way to go. Or if you want to combine a standard home with a timber-frame addition, that's possible too.

The concept of a timber frame kit has been around for over 100 years. A company called Aladdin Homes began offering home kit packages in 1906. One could buy a five room Aladdin house kit for $298 in 1915.

This represented a new and innovative approach that started a home construction movement away from timber frame home building to using pre-cut timber consisting mostly of 2x4’s and 2x8’s framing lumber. This idea started to catch on and a small company at the time, called Sears, Robuck & Company, jumped into the business in 1908 and sold approximately 70,000 house kits through a mail-order modern homes program.

Today, Atlantic Timberframes, a Mercer, Pa., custom timber frame homebuilder, offers timber frame kits and hybrid timber frame homes in a nod to the legacy of those early kits.

The hybrid timber frame home is what a person might expect based on the name - it’s a home that combines today's “stick-built” process with a section of the home built using timber frame construction.

For example, many homeowners are adding the beauty and warmth of a timber frame by adding timber-framed great room, master bedroom, kitchen, or a combination of all three. Hybrid timber frame homes combine the old world craftsmanship of a timber frame with today’s modern home-building approach. This approach can provide a creative and less expensive way of incorporating a timber frame into a home.

To the untrained eye, a timber frame home and post and beam home look similar since both methods incorporate exposed timber construction. However, from an engineering standpoint they are quite different.

In timber framing, the weight is transferred through the vertical members of the bents. In post and beam construction the weight is borne by the horizontal members which rest on the vertical posts.

True timber frames, such as Atlantic Timberframes builds, are created with traditional handcrafted wood joinery only, and secured with hardwood pegs.

Read more about building green.

Topics: Building Green, Home Design & Plans, Lumber and Structured Panels

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