Timber Frame Homes are Built to Last
Timber frame construction has a surprisingly long lifespan. In parts of Europe, there are timber frame structures still standing after more than a thousand years and in the New England countryside there are century old barns still in prime condition. With modern preservation techniques and more effective wood finishes available now, timber frame structures built today can survive even longer, unaffected by the ravages of time.
The first thing you can do to ensure your timbers stand the test of time is selecting quality material for your project. The goal for choosing the best material is to minimize the possibility of shrinking and reduce the amount of checking so the joinery remains tight and there is no danger of instability. Timbers will naturally shrink, move, and check as they dry so it’s important to use material that has been properly dried prior to fabrication. Even the most carefully fitted joint can shift or crack if built of “green” lumber.
Aside from making sure your timbers are properly dried, choosing a wood species favorable to your home and its location is also important. Cedars are best suited for outdoor elements as they are very resistance to moisture, decay and insects, however, Douglas fir, when properly treated, does well in any environment as well. Douglas fir is known for its tough fiber and dense grain structure, making it a superior choice for structural purposes.
The way in which your timbers are finished also play a big role in the longevity of your home. Luckily, the upkeep and maintenance is far less than what you might expect. Here are some simple maintenance know hows to keep your timbers in tip, top, shape.