Choosing the timber frame wood species for your dream home can be a daunting process. Which timber frame wood species is right for your design aesthetic, both inside and out? What types of wood hold up best over time? Should you choose a hard or softwood? When it comes to selecting the timber frame wood species for your home, there are many factors to consider.
Deciduous vs. Coniferous
When choosing a timber frame wood species, there are typically two categories from which timber is extracted – deciduous and coniferous.
Deciduous trees lose their leaves annually. Typical timber frame wood species used from this category are hardwoods such as oaks and cherry. These species are very strong and attractive, but difficult to find in high quality and sizes suitable for timber framing. Timber extracted from deciduous trees is generally more susceptible to checking, which is the cracking that occurs along the vertical grain of the wood while it dries.
Coniferous trees have cones and needles. Typical timber frame wood species from this category include Douglas fir, white and yellow pine, spruce, cedar, hemlock and a variety of others. Timber from coniferous trees is chosen most often due to the plentiful availability, especially in the Pacific Northwest, the fragrant scent emitted for many years and the fact that they check less than deciduous hardwoods. While coniferous trees may be considered “softwoods”, this doesn’t imply weakness by any means.
Choosing Timber Frame Wood Species
When it comes to choosing timber frame wood species, white pine, red and white oak, Douglas fir, cypress and cedar are some of the most common options available. Each has it’s strengths and weaknesses, but there are other factors to consider as well.
- Availability – Depending on the type of species you desire, availability may come into play. If you choose a timber not available locally you will have to consider transportation and shipping costs.
- Cost – Many factors contribute to the cost of each timber frame wood species and can vary dramatically.
- Strength – Not just any wood can be used when building a timber frame home. Some of the stronger, harder woods tend to twist, crack and check. Other species may be strong and stable, but lack the load capacity of others.
Many factors go into choosing wood species for timber frame homes. Each wood species has a specific coloring, aroma and strength that appeals to different styles and tastes. Contact Ross Built Homes for more information about choosing timber frame wood species.