Timber Frame vs Traditional Built Homes

When building from the ground up and wanting a custom style home, rather than a traditional built home, maybe it’s time to consider a timber frame. Timber frame homes are a kind of house that uses a frame structure of large posts and beams that are joined with pegs or by other types of decorative joinery. Usually, timbers are seen on the interior of the home with traditional siding options covering the outside.

Whereas a traditional build is a building method where workers assemble the skeleton of a home from the ground up, using traditional building materials (normally stick by stick) or by brick, wood, plaster, stucco, and stone. This is how most homes are built.

Although similar, there are subtle differences between them. The main difference between the two types of construction is the method of joining the parts.

Timber frame extensions versus a traditional build

Have you outgrown your home? Are you needing to breath fresh life into your space? Opting for a home addition can be a great alternative to moving! You might even simply be looking to add a garage or a bit of extra space for your growing family and their needs or just looking to extend an indoor or outdoor space. Regardless of what you plan to do with it here is some useful information to know when it comes to creating an extension for your home.

Tradition home extensions
A traditional house extension is typically a multi-room addition. Whether it be a lateral extension or extending your home into the backyard, they can essentially be done in the same way. Your home addition can be done and customized to your specifications.  Although these kinds of extensions can be costly, they have a great return on investment.

Timber frame extensions
If you are thinking of building a home extension, you may be wondering if a timber-framed construction may be suitable. As a quick and cost-effective route to an energy-efficient building solution, a timber frame is popular with many homeowners and self-builders.

Building a timber-framed extension is an exceedingly flexible solution (if you’ve already done your existing home like this it’ll be much easier), allowing you to create a bespoke space that’s tailored to your needs. It also can be styled in pretty much any way you would like it too. An extension that uses standard softwood panels filled with insulation can be finished in such a way that you won’t be able to tell that it isn’t constructed from blockwork, structural insulated panels or concrete formwork.

Tips for your timber-framed extension

  • Connect the original structure to the new
    To unify your existing home with the new timber extension, particularly if timber beams are visible or prominent, it’s a good idea to introduce timber elements elsewhere to tie the two spaces together.
  • Choose the right placement
    Depending on the immediate surroundings of your new timber extension, you will want to choose the best size, shape and design for windows and other glazed elements and make sure they are positioned to full advantage. Be it facing the garden, blocking out other neighbours, etc.
  • Pay attention to the exterior finish
    Whether you are planning to contrast or match the outside of your extension to the existing building, carefully consider elements such as the design of the roof pitch, building materials and surrounding colours.
  • Consider a vaulted ceiling
    Timber framed extensions are the perfect opportunity to make a feature of exposed ceiling beams if you have the additional space available. A vaulted ceiling will maximize the amount of vertical space, making the room feel airier and more open.

Timber frame versus traditional construction

Those who are looking into building or are interested in building a custom home may not be well-versed in the building process and what that entails. When using a timber frame instead of a traditional build for your custom home, the building process can look a little different.

In normal circumstances, timber-framed houses are every bit as solid and robust as more traditional block or stick-built houses. This is normally because houses must be built to meet certain minimum standards from a building regulations perspective. Before planning your project, check the benefits and drawbacks of each style first.

Pricing
If you are considering a timber style home a timber frame may be a great option as it is more cost effective compared to a full scribe and some post and beam homes.

While budget is always a consideration, it is important not to lose sight of the benefits of a timber frame home. You are investing in a beautiful custom-built home with quality to last a lifetime—and over that lifetime, the bitterness of poor quality will last far longer than the sweetness of a low price. In certain cases, people sometimes opt for a hybrid of timber frame and traditional construction.

A “hybrid home”, a term that can be a bit esoteric, but really it’s nothing more than employing a mix of building systems, using log, timber frame, conventional and/or panelized construction to achieve the look, feel and performance we want in our homes today.

Aesthetics

The main appeal of the timber frame is the timeless beauty of exposed large heavy timbers. A timber frame structure is very much a work of art in that each piece of timber is precut. After delivery to the building site, the members are assembled piece by piece like a puzzle. Note, this will depend on the design. In some cases, it may require the members to cut on location. Full scribe homes are done fully off site which allows them to fit like a puzzle.  A similar look can be achieved by adding decorative timber pieces to a traditional build.

Insulation
There are a variety of insulation options when insulating a traditional home. There’s spray foam, compressed cellulose, rock wool, along with a few others. At the end of the day, the choice is up to the homeowner and designers and it offers a lot of flexibility and options to consider for the homeowner.

With a timber frame, the insulation that is easiest, most cost-effective and what we most often recommend, are SIPS or Structural Insulated Panels. SIPs act not only as insulation but as the entire envelope of the structure itself. They are custom designed and ordered for each project and can include coverage such as drywall or tongue and groove pine on the interior. The installation process is much faster as well, and they are highly energy efficient.

Durability

For most projects, durability and longevity are cornerstones of the design and planning process.  The longevity of most building materials including timber and lumber are heavily dependent on the protection from the elements.  When properly protected from the elements, traditional timber frame construction that does not utilize mechanical fasteners is incredibly durable. Ultimately, for the desired lifespan of most homes, timber frame and traditional homes are equally as durable, ensuring that you have a space that will last for decades to come.

Have any questions about building a timber frame home? Feel free to send us an email at info@artisanlog.com and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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