Types of Timber Frame Construction


Timber frame construction has a long history, beginning in the first century AD. The differences in the types of timber frame construction stem primarily from how the parts of the wood frame home are arranged so that the weight of the roof is distributed over the posts and the walls.

Timber Frame

  • The classic type of timber frame construction uses a system of fitting wooden pegs into wooden holes. In this system, all parts of the wood frame, including the roof trusses, the posts and the beams interlock together.

Post and Beam

  • The modern type of timber frame involves using metal fasteners to connect timbers together. The posts are vertical pieces of wood that support the roof. The beams are horizontal pieces of wood that connect the posts together and form the base of the roof truss. The tie beam is a horizontal piece that runs the length of the house.


  • Hybrid timber frame homes combines timber frame construction with elements of stick-built homes. Another type of hybrid is common in mountain regions in which the log home design is incorporated with the timber frame design. Any hybrid home or timber frame home produces a natural structure made entirely of wood (except for metal fasteners and materials used to finish the roof, home exterior and home interior).

Hammer Bent Truss

  • The use of hammer bents is one way that the cathedral ceiling can be added as a beautiful feature of the home. Benson writes that the construction of the bent ceiling is seen in the Westminster Hall, constructed in England ca. 1395. A bent is a cross section of the home that provides more shape. Two common modern examples are the hammer beam truss and the modified hammer beam truss. According to Vermont Timberworks, "Bents can be modified to almost any style, and different bents can be used in the same building to form L's, additions, porches and sheds."

Reclaimed Timbers

  • Beautiful woods used in the past are becoming scarcer, and new home construction and renovation projects are now incorporating reclaimed timbers. When beautiful pieces of wood are reclaimed from old buildings, they can be customized by a recycled lumber company for new projects. For example, timbers might be resawn, sanded, surfaced, wire brushed or sand blasted. This option is perfect for building homes with wood you can no longer order from domestic or foreign lumber suppliers.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of pnwra
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