A constant that remains in our business is educating others on the differences between timber frames and post-and-beam construction. Many times, the terms are used interchangeably. However, they are not synonyms. Both construction styles honor the rustic appearance of exposed timbers in a building’s profile, adding a natural beauty to the space. But their differences are what make timber frames the superior choice when deciding between timber frame or post-and-beam construction.
Timber frames will always be held together with mortise-and-tenon connections and secured with wooden pegs. What does that mean? A mortise-and-tenon joint connects the timbers of the truss system together. The mortise is the hole that receives a tenon, which is a projection at the end of a timber and is cut to fit exactly into the mortise. The timber frame joints are then held together with just a simple wooden peg.
With post-and-beam construction, the timbers are typically butted together, and the joints are connected with steel plates and brackets and then secured with metal bolts. This can sometimes give post-and-beam construction a more industrial — rather than rustic — feel.
Timber framing can be traced back to medieval times and beyond, thanks to many structures still standing, which gives timber frame construction a superior edge. This is due in part to the fact that timber frames are simply solid pieces of wood, adding great strength to the structure’s integrity. In post-and-beam construction, the timbers are less dense, and the construction relies on fasteners made of other materials. Timber frame construction does tend to be more expensive because of the materials and specialty craftsmanship involved; however, the strength, beauty, and longevity of timber frames are second to none in the grand scheme of the final product.
If you are interested in building with timber frames, we would love the opportunity to work with you and your general contractor, builder, or architect on the design. Whether it’s a residential or commercial project, allow us to showcase why timber frame construction far exceeds.