What is the best wood for my timber frame house? This is common question homeowners to be as when building a timber frame house. Different types of tree species offer different strengths, and all come at different prices.
Choosing the right timber beams for your new home is all about striking a balance between durability and affordability. Nonetheless, the strength and quality of your timber frames depend on three main factors.
- The type of wood
- How the wood is processed
- Your finished look of choice
The Wood Species
Choosing the perfect wood species depends on your personal preferences, budget, and local climate. Damp regions or areas with diverse weather changes will need stronger hardwoods while mild areas can make do with softwoods.
Softwoods aren’t necessarily weak wood. Softwoods, such as pine and spruce, are popular for their structural strength when processed well.
How the Timber Is Processed
Timber processing ranges from the actual selection of the tree to use to curing and treating it. A piece of timber from the center of the tree (the heart) will be more resilient than pieces from the outside sections of the same log.
A well-dried piece of timber forms better frames as it doesn’t shrink significantly once installed while green timbers could lead to structural failure once they dry.
The final piece of the puzzle is how the wood was dried and treated against termites or dampness. Hardwoods are more forgiving as they are naturally resistant to a wide range of insects and dampness. Softwood needs extra curing and special drying if they are to survive the house’s lifespan.
How you choose to finish your timber frame house will have an impact on how well protected the wood is from the element.
Anything that covers the timber from the sun, moisture or rain will elongate lifespan, which means that you can use softwoods. If you want a bare rustic finish, hardwoods would be a good idea since they are naturally built to withstand harsh environments.