Timber Frame vs Post & Beam

Hampshire Timber Frame is a true timber frame company. Timber frame homes have several methods of design and construction, just like conventionally constructed homes. Two of the conventional construction methods are "on site" and “system-built” (modular) systems. Both of these conventional construction types may have around 16% of the outer shell (walls & roof framing) un-insulated, due to the fact that there is no insulation where the studs are located (16” o.c. is standard); wooden or metal studs are a bad insulator. Our timber frame homes are insulated with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and have an immediate advantage of being almost 100% insulated.

Joinery methods determine the true nature of the frame, whether it be timber frame or post & beam. Many people both in and out of the Timber Frame industry interchange these terms. No matter the company's name, understanding the joinery system and how the timbers are to be finished is vital. The term "post & beam", to us, means just what it says; posts and beams that are put together using a variety of construction methods and various types of joinery. The posts and beams may be solid or laminated wood. Their posts are usually broken between floors. They may be hand cut, machine cut or a combination of the two. They may be joined with metal plates or hidden bolt connections that are concealed with false pegs so they appear to be true timber frames, but are not. By using metal connectors, post and beam companies are able to reduce the size, quality and quantity of the timbers. These techniques may be good for their "bottom line" but are not conducive to quality engineering of a true timber frame structure. A true timber frame should have all or most of its posts continue from the 1st floor up to the roof plates and ridge beams creating a single solid integrated structure.

We call ourselves true timber framers for a number of reasons:

  • We hand cut your timbers and map each joint for superior craftsmanship.

  • We hand pick timbers for their particular location in the house.

  • We go beyond the use of traditional joinery and utilize fully housed joints as much as possible and the use of 4” tenons (not 3”, typical) resulting in a larger, stronger and more beautiful timber frame.

  • We design the posts to be continuous, from the bottom floor up through the frame to the roof plates or ridge beams, creating a stronger solid integrated timber frame structure.

  • We do not use metal plates, bolts or hidden metal connectors as standard.

  • We wax all exposed end grain surfaces including inside every joint.  This slows the drying process and results in a more stable and attractive timber frame.

  • We offer all the finishing options you need to personalize your frame, such as: oiling, staining, chamfered edging, gun-stocking, curved bracing and hand carvings.

  • Our own craftsmen that hand cut your frame, will also raise and Tung Oil your frame, apply your tongue & groove ceiling finish and install your wall and roof SIPs, resulting in the highest quality installation.