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What Is A Timber Frame?

By Caitlin on March 06, 2020

What is a Timber Frame and Why You Should Consider Building with One?


Brigham Hill Barn Interior with Rough Sawn Timber Trusses from Hemlock and White Pine

You’ve probably seen Timber Frames before and didn’t even know it. Often people have an image in their head of what they’re looking for before they have the name to describe it. When I try to describe timber framing to people who don’t know what timber framing is, I describe the large wood trusses that are typical in timber frames, especially the king post truss. Everyone has seen the king post truss before and can imagine that style of building, they just aren’t aware that’s it’s a king post truss and that it’s apart of the timber frame tradition. So, if you’ve come here looking for structures made of large heavy timber, with wood trusses and cathedral ceilings, you’re in the right place.


What Is A Timber Frame?

The Napa California Barn on the Paul Estate

Timber Framing is a traditional building method that utilizes traditional joinery connections and heavy timber to make strong and durable structures such as barns, homes, and other buildings. Timber Framing was the traditional way of building in Europe and Early America for many years but fell out of favor as technology and modern conveniences made building faster, cheaper, and requiring a less skilled workforce. Timber Framing has seen a resurgence in popularity since the early ’70s, and now it is a customizable and high-end building method that makes for beautiful, rustic buildings.


Why Timber Frames Are Great

Timber Frames make for beautiful and strong homes, barns, pool houses, pergolas, etc. They’re such versatile structures, but they always look and feel traditional and impressive because of the trusses that are used.


Why You Should Consider Building With A Timber Frame

Timber Frames are more expensive than conventional frames, but Timber Frames represent an investment in your property and building. Timber Frames add significant value to a structure. They are very beautiful and aesthetically pleasing and can be designed to fit a variety of styles and design concepts. They will stand the test of time. Timber Frames are designed to last and can be passed down for generations. Timber Frames can be a green building method since wood is a renewable resource, wood traps carbon, and if built with SIP panels Timber Frame homes can be cheaper to heat than conventional homes.


Timber Frames are a high-end, elegant, strong, and durable building method that produces homes and barns that will stand the test of time. Comment below or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions about a timber frame project.


About the Author


Caitlin is a writer and a full-time Marketing Assistant. She has worked at Vermont Timber Works since 2017.
  1. It looks awesome! Especially when you see the progress of the work. Is these handcrafted timbers? Your work on the frame is great.

  2. Wan Diaz says:

    Post and beam building is similar to timber framing, but in lieu of wooden joints, post and beam buildings are held together with bolts and other steel connections.

  3. Homeadvisor says:

    Interesting post! The timber itself is accessible, affordable, and can last for many years when it’s maintained.

  4. Wendell says:

    Thank You to Caitlin for writing this article. Can I request you to also create an article about the differences between post and beam & timber frame structures. I’m just really clueless.

    • Caitlin says:

      Hi Wendell,

      We actually already have a post about the difference between Timber Frame and Post and Beam! You can check that out here: https://www.vermonttimberworks.com/blog/timber-framing-vs-post-and-beam-construction/


      • Wendell says:

        Wow! Thank you so much. I really appreciate you <3

        • chris says:

          Post and beam typically uses half lap joinery with hidden fasteners, and sometimes decorative metal braces; whereas Timber Frame uses mortise and tenon joinery secured with wooden pegs.

          Am I right, Caitlin?

          • Caitlin says:

            Hi Chris,
            Post and beam construction uses simple joinery, where timber frame construction uses more intricate joinery. Either can use hidden or exposed steel fasteners and components like gusset plates or tie rods. Heavy timber construction will use a mix of everything. The phrases and all somewhat synonymous. The Key is that Post and Beam use simple joinery, where timber framing uses more complex joinery.


  5. Clean Homes says:

    Wow this frame is very nice, suitable for vacation homes in the province or barns

  6. Chris says:

    I see no mention of shell cost, the biggest factor as to why people don’t go the T/F route

    • Caitlin says:

      Hi Chris,

      That is true. However, our company only fabricates the timber frame so because the shell is outside our scope I chose not to discuss it in this post. But you are correct in that it is not inexpensive and something to consider before choosing a timber frame. I have other posts elsewhere that also consider some of these factors.


  7. Rose says:

    Wow, this frame is really nice and versatile also beautiful too! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Timber frames are essential as the foundation of every structure you are building. Whether it be a home deck, or for pool enclosures as well.

  9. Amazing frame. I really like it. Keep sharing the great one.

  10. Excellent frame I’ve ever seen!

  11. This timber species is also great for fencing. Thanks!

  12. Great thanks for sharing this article post. Really thank you! Really Cool.

  13. With such a proliferation of modern-style designs in homes nowadays, it is always refreshing to see a timber frame house. In my opinion they are much better looking than all the white square and bare structures that seem to be popular. Thanks for the article!

  14. Dale says:

    Timberframe is very strong and cost-efficient. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Ken says:

    Thanks for the post! Awesome work

  16. Cleaners says:

    That work is so beautiful. I would love to have wood work like that in my house some day!

  17. Steven says:

    Everyone has seen the king post truss before and can imagine that style of building, they just aren’t aware that’s it’s a king post truss and that it’s a part of the timber frame tradition.

  18. Concrete says:

    Thank you for sharing such a great information. Keep up the great work.

  19. Timber frame homes are incredibly sturdy structures due to the strength of the timbers, wood joinery, and structural insulated panels. These types of homes have been known to survive extreme weather events as the joints allow the material to expand and contract with shifts in climate.

  20. I really love the concept and the entire design. I have now a reference for my future project. Thanks!

  21. Interesting, This project looks really great. Materials looks very sturdy as well.

  22. Jon says:

    This looks like a beautiful place to hold a wedding!

  23. Welding Pros says:

    Timber frames are really bang for the buck. High quality material, too.

  24. click here says:

    Timber frames are not only beautiful but strong. We use them all the time in our construction company. Thanks for sharing!

  25. I love the look of wooden beams inside a home. Adds a lot of warmth to a space and makes it feel inviting

  26. I think that timber frames are a great option for anyone looking to build a home. The natural look of wood gives a warm, inviting feeling to a home, while also providing a strong, sturdy frame that will last a long time. Additionally, timber frames are a great choice for eco-friendly building, as they are made from sustainable wood sources. All in all, I think they are definitely worth considering when building a home.

  27. John Parker says:

    I like that you use a lot of principle purlin timber frames ; I see this used on a lot of your photos. Overall it’s a better way of building the structure?

  28. Joel says:

    You explained this very well. Cheers.

  29. A timber frame is a construction method where the primary structural elements are large wooden posts and beams, forming a sturdy framework for a building. Choosing timber frames offers numerous benefits, including eco-friendliness, energy efficiency, and a timeless aesthetic. Consider building with timber frames for a sustainable, durable, and visually appealing construction solution.

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