There isn’t much different in a timber frame home design versus a conventional home. However there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Keep the design based on a single rectangle or a series of rectangles.
- Do not use “specialty angles”. It’s not impossible to set timbers at 123.17 degrees to another one but it will significantly increase the labor as well as the cost of the project.
- Do not design the timber frame.
That is correct. There are a myriad of possibilities in timber frame design. Let the timber framers, who do this everyday, design the timber frame. Timber frames designed by others are always redrawn and recalculated by timber frame producers. We all have our own style in choosing joinery. These choices will affect the design slightly. If there is a particular type of framing style you want, we consider that. However there are design issues that have more than one solution. Understanding the overall design allows us to quickly decide which option to go with. In a timber frame, whether or not a frame will work, both structurally and aesthetically, can come down to differences of 6″ or less.
If a design is relatively straight-forward, it will usually adapt well to a timber frame. Again, odd angles don’t work so well in a timber frame.
That said, we try our best to not destroy a floor plan when we apply the timber frame. We understand the time and thought that is put into a floor plan and the complication that can arise if we simply say the whole thing needs to change.
That question can only be answered accurately with knowledge of the building location and the house design.
However as a rule, we can span up to 16′-0″ before caution flags begin to pop up. However without a specific design, that is not our limit. To this point, the farthest we have spanned with a single truss / bent is 50′-0″.
Again, an accurate answer requires knowledge of loads and design that are specific to the project.
We can source nearly any kind of wood you want. However the most cost effective wood we have found is Douglas-fir. Douglas-fir has the best strength to weight ratio in the industry. It’s certainly our favorite and the majority of homes pictured on our website are Douglas-fir.
Finishes are best discussed in person or over the phone. However there are a few standards that we have:
- Our typical finish involves sanding the frame and applying one coat of boiled linseed oil.
- Exterior timbers are typically left unfinished and stained by your painter after installation.
- We can stain the timbers for an additional fee.
- If a smooth sanded surface is not desired, we are able to replicate a hand hewn look. In addition to that, we have access to kiln dried re-sawn timbers.
- There should be a clear separation between the timber frame and the hybrid portions.
- The roofs should be separated by changes in ridge direction, roof height, or pitch.
- In as much as is humanly possible, do not use more than two construction styles.
- Plan ahead to use a split HVAC system if SIPS are not enclosing the entire home.
In either of the following two cases, we must be contacted before the ICF construction has started. Preferrably before the ICF’s are ordered.
- If the ICF walls need to be in place before the timber frame is raised, the best solution is to pursue a timber roof system that sets on top of the ICF walls.
- If the walls can be set after the timber frame is raised, we can raise the frame and then you can use it to help support the ICF walls as they are built.
A key thing to remember is that concrete typically has fairly large tolerances. A timber frame on the other hand has much tighter tolerances. There are also a whole host of issues related to raising a timber frame inside an ICF structure that are better explained face to face or via phone calls.