Timber frames are the triple blessing of homebuilding: gorgeous, environmentally friendly, and yes, affordability.
There is no doubt that technological advancements have influenced us over the past centuries –sometimes for good and sometimes bad. Most of us simultaneously embrace and reject a technology (you know your cell phone is a blessing and a curse), while wondering what new-fangled advancement lies ahead. Sometimes looking to the past and reminding ourselves of what we’ve learned through the decades, centuries, and millennia is of great value.
The past is more relevant now than ever. Most of our ancestors had no other option but to be what we now call “green.” Take, for example, their homes and buildings.
Natural products were what they had available, so those building materials were what they used. And, many of those buildings are still standing today, generations later. One of the oldest “natural” construction methods is timber framing. Today, there are frames still in use that are thousands of years old – a testament to their strength, durability, and lasting appeal.
There’s an inherent simplicity with a timber frame – the basic principle is to use an all-wood frame as the house’s skeleton, support, and beauty.
In a traditional stick-built home, wooden two-by-sixes are nailed together as the skeleton, metal or steel beams serve as the support. Beyond that, more materials must be used to cover it all up and make it pretty. That’s a lot of materials, most of which aren’t exactly environmentally friendly.
Timber frames are the triple blessing of homebuilding: gorgeous, environmentally friendly, and yes, they can even be affordable.
Take, for example, the Langfitt home – certainly a trifecta. This home is indeed gorgeous – built specifically for the unique property, the small home rests in a hayfield. The great room looks over a 180+ degree view. There is an abundance of natural lighting which makes you feel like you brought the outside in. The size of the home and the simplicity of the design makes it a unique space to live in.
The timber framing process is one that’s beautiful right from the start. From the hand-carved timbers to the team effort and skill of the frame raising to everyday life in your timber frame home – it’s unrivaled in the housing industry. Seriously – you don’t take close up pictures of the nails in your stick frame house, because they’re just so pretty; or hear people saying, “hey – our metal support was made today – check out the pictures.” But the Langfitt home is actually designed as an art piece itself – the windows are the art, as the views outside are spectacular, and the views inside are simple and stunning.
The Langfitt home is also environmentally friendly: the home was built to be very low maintenance with cement board siding, metal roof, and just a few timbers on the porches. The floors are concrete with in-floor heating. The timber frame structure was built from locally harvested, native (green) white oak timbers. Every beam is joined together with wooden pegs, resulting in a finished frame like a wooden masterpiece, the focal point of the home. A timber frame is structurally stronger than conventional methods and uses considerably less material. And, since wood is carbon neutral – and a renewable resource – its impact on the environment (and on you) is exponentially better than man-made materials.
As a bonus, over the lifetime of the home, the SIPS panels will save an abundance of energy. Furthermore, the home was designed in a rectangular shape which further improves cost-efficiency. The floors are acid stained concrete and built on a slab. This energy efficiency through choice of design and materials rounds out the triple blessing of the timber frame house: affordability, environmental sustainability, and outstanding aesthetic.
All photos courtesy Oakbridge Timber Framing/Roger Wade Studio