Timber Frame Basics

In the construction industry there are several types of building methods. Timber frame is one that offers so much in character, style, and the use of a renewable building material source.

Timber homes are complete structures made of vertical posts and horizontal beams to form cross sections called bents. Other members provide support, bracing and structure to the frame. Below you will find basic terms to give you an understanding of how you might better communicate your ideas with your contractor and understand the process of building your timber frame home.

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Smoky Mountain Log & Timber Home Package

  • Timbers are the wooden beams that make up the home’s structural frame.
  • Posts are the main upright timbers that support the timber frame.
  • Crossbeams connect the post beams, providing stability and strength.
  • Joints are where two timbers or frame pieces come together.


A Truss is a stringent triangle of timbers. Trusses provide column-free floor space and are typically incorporated on the top floor.

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  • King Post with Struts
    • The most cost-effective
    • Offers a strong, sturdy appearance
    • Creates a cozy, intimate feeling
  • Scissor Truss
    • Perfect for those seeking something unique
    • Can create a narrow, cottage-like aesthetic
    • Ideal for steep roof pitches
  • Queen Post (modified)
    • Can span distances of 30 feet or more
    • Offers an open area in the center of the truss
    • Visually lowers the ceiling height for a more intimate feel
  • Hammerbeam Truss
    • Achieves the cathedral quality
    • Creates vaulted spaces
    • Can be enhanced with embellishments

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There are several different types of Joints, step-lapped joints, mortise-and-tenon joints, dovetailed and pocket joints, just to name a few popular types. Joints can range from simple to decorative, and mainly depends on where it is used in the structure.

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Hybrid is a type of building style that combines timber framing and conventional stud-frame building or log construction. Combining these building methods will definitely add style and curb appeal to any home.

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SIPs (structural insulated panels) sheath the timber-frame structure. Made of two layers of durable, flat wood and filled with a highly dense insulating foam in between. SIPs are more efficient to install and reduce construction time.

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