Also known as post and beam construction or mill construction, heavy timber framing is a building method that uses large, rustic, heavy sawn timbers or structural glue-laminated timber joined together with traditional mortise and tenon joinery or modern metal joinery. Timber framing dates back to the beginning of civilization – the first timber frame structure is believed to have been built during the 10th century.
How Heavy Timber Frame is Built
Some heavy timbers are to this day still handcrafted, but most timber frame construction is built using power tools and CNC machines, which allow for production to be built to exact specifications. This greatly reduces labour costs and makes heavy timber construction more affordable.
Heavy timber construction uses a crane to life the timber portions of the frame into place. The framer can then make the joinery connections and tighten them into place. On average, a heavy timber frame can be erected in two or three days. This type of framing requires immediate exterior wall construction and roofing to be sure the frame stays dry.
Benefits of Heavy Timber Frame Construction
Heavy timber frame construction is people thanks to a number of great benefits:
- Very durable;
- Quick to build;
- More efficient thermally;
- Offer flexibility in floor plans because of a lesser requirement for load bearing walls;
- Sustainable materials have a lower carbon footprint; and
- Far less waste at the jobsite.
For these reasons, and many others, timber frame construction is a great option for many home builders to explore. The buildings are strong and durable, as can be seen in Europe where timber framed buildings as old as 500 years old are still standing today.