Choosing Timber Frame or Timber Accent

We are often asked what the difference is between timber frame and timber accent. It’s an important distinction, although both options provide unique ways of enjoying the beauty of wood.

Timber frame structure

Timber Frame is an authentic style of building where structural timbers are used to support both roof and floor loads. In a timber frame home, sometimes wall timbers are integrated within the exterior wall frame, but it always works best when the timbers are completely inside and independent of the exterior wall so that insulation of the wall is not affected. Exterior structures are popular for timber frame cottages and homes because massive, exposed timbers look so impressive.

Home with timber accents

Timber Accent style homes are more traditional in structure and incorporate non-structural components to dress up or add some wow factor to a home. Timber accenting is becoming very popular in many homes because of reduced cost compared to traditional timber frame construction. Additionally, with this approach, the opportunities really are endless.

Which wood?

White pine or white spruce are common where there is a roof protecting the structure, whether for the interior spaces of a home or an outdoor roofed structure. Red pine and Douglas fir are also popular choices.

If there is no roof over the timber frame structure, as in the cases of exterior garden structures or pergolas, white cedar and red cedar are most commonly selected because of their superior rot resistant qualities. Hemlock is also a good exterior grade wood and chosen when extra strength is required.

Regardless of species, it is always a good idea to stain or varnish the wood to protect it from dirt and dust and to keep it looking good. We’re big fans of Timber Pro UV coatings, which have unique water-based formulas with natural oils added to highlight the wood’s grain. (Timber Pro is based in Richmond, British Columbia.)

Locally sourced wood

It’s always best to use local material where possible, but if local material is not available, some of the best construction timbers available are from the standing dead wood forests of British Columbia.

Much of BC’s forest has been devastated by the North American pine beetle, but the resulting dead wood is the perfect material for the construction industry. These trees are naturally air dried, removing the risk of shrinking or warping post-installation. There is also no trace of any beetle because the insects only penetrate a short way into the wood, and this material is removed during the sawing process.

Photo Gallery

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about how Kealey Tackaberry can help you realize your timber frame or timber accented dream home, give us a shout!

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