Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions About Timber Wall Frames

If you're thinking of building a new home, you want to ensure you know all your choices for how it's constructed, including how its frame is made. One popular option is a timber wall frame; this is when large pieces of timber are connected by mortise and tenon joints versus being connected with nails and bolts. Timber wall frames are often modular, meaning made offsite and then shipped to the site of your new construction. This may mean a faster construction overall, but note a few questions you might have about the material and the building process. Discuss these with a contractor or builder so you can determine if this is the right choice for you.

1. Can timber wall frames be covered with ordinary building materials?

After timber wall frames are constructed, you can cover them with any type of building material you choose. This can include brick or aluminum siding for the outside and drywall or plaster for the inside. You can also add any type of roof that you want, including metal or standard asphalt shingles. Materials like ductwork and electrical wiring and plumbing are also easily run through the timber wall frame just as they are with any other type of stick built home.

2. What is an enclosure system?

A timber frame wall with an enclosure system has been covered by structural insulated panels, or SIP. This includes foam core panels that wrap around all the timber wall frames, and these provide greater insulation than many other types of building materials. This also eliminates the need for drywall seams and can result in a faster and yet more energy-efficient construction for your home.

3. Is a timber frame home durable for the long-term?

Any wood framed home will change slightly with age, as wood may tend to shrink and expand as it absorbs moisture or dries out. This can be expected with a timber frame home, but usually this process is very minimal. A wax-based sealant may slow the release of moisture from the timber, and using reclaimed timber can mean that it has already gone through the entire process of absorbing moisture and then drying. If you're concerned about the longevity of a timber frame home, note the warranty offered by the manufacturer as this will tell you if the wood being used is considered to be durable and will hold up well over the years, or if you can expect your house to settle and shift as the timber frame ages.