A home that is built using a frame made of large beams and posts is called a Timber frame house. The posts are joined together with pegs or other joinery. Most of the time, owners prefer to leave the timber exposed for aesthetic purposes. Well-built timber frame structures are likely to last for many decades.

Timber frame houses come with many advantages. They are so sturdy that there is no requirement for walls that are load-bearing throughout the house. Another benefit is that you can change the layout and design the structure you want. This includes an open floor layout and large Family and games rooms. The skeleton of the timbers can be enclosed in any way you wish to or left bare depending on the look and style you are going for. Here’s everything you need to know about building a timber frame home.

Structure of a Timber Frame

Massive wooden beams are joined in a cathedral-like framework to create the structure of a timber frame house. No interior load bearing walls are required. The rafters and posts are held together by plates, girts, and purlins. Rigidity is added with the help of diagonal knee braces. Factory-built structural insulated panels or SIPs are used to create the walls, insulation, windows, and roof.

Final Details Are Put On In the Factory

The construction of a timber frame begins in the factories. Final details are added to assembly lines of beams and posts before they are assembled on-site or shipped. Computer numerical control (CNC) machinery are used to precisely shape each part to the exact size. Some parts are shaped by hand, with a mallet and chisel. Decorative details like chamfers and stopped bevels can also be added at this stage to enhance the look of the timber frame home.

Assembly Is Done On the Job Site


The factory-shaped timbers and parts are shipped to the site, where workers start to assemble the structure. Holes are bored, and pegs are pounded in to secure the mortise-and-tenon joints. Heavy duty instruments like dead-blow mallets and electric drills are used to bore the holes. A ratchet puller is used to pull together the larger pieces. If the wooden pieces are shaped accurately in the factory, they can be slipped together with just a light tapping.

The Frame Is Hoisted In Place


Historically raising the frame of a barn or a house used to be a community event. Many people and animals were required to lift the cumbersome frames from the floor. Todays all the heavy lifting is done using hydraulic cranes. These are used to hoist the frames as the workers guide the timber into place. The tenons which are already shaped are slipped into mortises in the horizontal plates.

Since many of the pieces are already put together in the factory, only 40 to 50 preassembled sections need to be assembled on the actual construction site. This makes the entire process a lot safer and easier.

The Roof Is Constructed

Rafters are used to put together the large timber-frame roofs. These are lifted up and secured with notches. Sometimes horizontal purlins are used to connect the rafters. In some cases, the assembly team work to join the pre assembled roof pieces on the ground. A crane is then used to lift the assembled structure into place.

Finishing Touches Are Added

In the past, interior lath and plaster were held up by placing lumber amid the timbers. Exterior cladding materials such as clapboard were also used to insulate the structure. Today structural insulated panels (SIPs) with foam cores are used for this purpose, which can be up to 612 inches in thickness. The structure of the framing is left uncovered since it is beautiful to look at and serves as an interior design element.

Once your frame is up and enclosed, you can get in touch with your local builder to resume construction. The remaining mechanical systems like the plumbing, electrical and HVAC components can then be installed. The last step is to apply the exterior and interior finishes to complete your timber frame home plans. You can customize the interiors and exterior of the house exactly to your liking.

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve made the decision of going ahead with building a custom timber frame home, there are a number of choices you’ll need to make. There are many advantages to building a timber frame house which is why they are rapidly rising in popularity. Thanks to modern building techniques, you can enjoy the beauty of timber and wood features without constructing your entire home out of wood. You also have the freedom to integrate your own personal taste into the design. Now that you’ve understood the construction process, you can begin the journey of building your own beautiful timber frame home.