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How Do You Insulate A Timber Frame Home?

Asked by Travis on October 26, 2017

With these open truss roof systems.  Where would the insulation windup?  What range of R-values are attainable?

Answered by Caitlin

Dear Travis,


There are several ways to insulate the frame. Normally the insulation is either built-up above 2x ceiling/roof decking  that is installed on top of the trusses, or SIPs (structural insulated panels) are installed on top of the timbers.The range of insulation is dependent on the thickness of the SIPs or of the built up insulation. Since the insulation goes on top, the sky is literally the limit to the R-Value attainable.

Here are some examples of SIPs by Foard Panel:

Foard Panel’s Insulation.

Foard Panel’s Insulated Header



Best regards,



  1. Kathy Caldwell says:

    We bought s 2957 beautiful barn in excellent condition! We love the oak and pine wood, but are perplexed as to how to insulate it while maintaining the rustic look. The roof is in good condition and cost is of concern. What would you suggest? My husband is thinking to just use fi am insulation; give up the beauty we fell in love with. Please help us!
    Thank you,
    Kathy Caldwell

    • Caitlin says:

      Good Morning Kathy,

      A good choice for insulation would be to install SIPs (Structural Insulating Panels) on the roof over the existing beams and decking. If the beams are solid, sound and structurally adequate to meet current codes, you may be able to use nail base panels, which are not structural but do have sheathing on the outside. If you do use panels, you will also need to install a cold roof system on top for ventilation. There is a good discussion on our web page: https://www.vermonttimberworks.com/learn/architects/wall-roof-systems/?highlight=sips

      Good luck with your project!


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