Post and Beam and Timber Frame are terms that are often used interchangeably; however, there are some technical differences between the two: a Timber Frame structure typically has interlocking wood-to-wood joinery. A Post and Beam features less complicated joinery, and typically uses hidden metal fasteners for additional strength. Recently, more timber frames have included hidden metal fasteners, as engineers generally prefer the consistency of a metal-to-wood connection over a wood-to-wood connection.
The framing systems also differ regarding assembly. Timber Frame structures are typically assembled in bents, which are entire cross sections of the structure that must be assembled and raised one bent at a time. Often, these sizable bents require larger machinery, a larger crew, and specialized tools and knowledge. Our Habitat Post & Beam package assembles in the same order as a conventionally framed structure (first floor walls, mid-floor, second floor walls, then roof), and most of the tools used are consistent with those used in conventional framing. A Timber Frame structure will require a framer who is very experienced with Timber Frame construction, while our Post and Beam system allows easy assembly, with no specialized skills on the part of a framer who is accustomed to conventional construction.
We include a custom design and a pre-cut material package kit for a weather-tight shell (when our material package is complete, your structure will appear finished from the outside; your contractors will continue to finish the inside), shipped to your site to be assembled on your prepared foundation by a local builder. Habitat supplies a specific detailed list of materials supplied for each home and addition package. A specification list can be found on our Specifications page.
We own our own railroad site adjacent to our factory, which is important for economical delivery of large timbers. Rail flat cars of #1 Douglas fir are offloaded by forklifts and stored on large, covered drying racks until needed.
Habitat uses the finest woods available for post and beam construction, stamped and graded by the National Lumber Association. All posts, beams and rafters are #1 Douglas fir, guaranteed to be 75% free of heartwood. Kiln-dried premium western pine, western red cedar, and Douglas fir tongue and groove decking is specified for the second floor and roof. All pre-constructed wall panels are comprised of stamped and graded kiln-dried spruce studs, 1/2" 5-ply CDX fir plywood, red cedar clapboards siding, knotty cedar vertical siding, white cedar shingle siding, and smooth primed cedar trim. For more information, go visit our Specifications page.
We use a variety of wood joints and hidden fasteners depending on the framing members being connected. With the inclusion of hidden fasteners such as lag bolts, barn spikes and custom steel plates, we are able to surpass the limitations of traditional wood joinery. We typically do not use exposed metal connectors on any of structures unless specifically requested for decoration, or required due to high wind and earthquake conditions.
We design, engineer and manufacture all of our material packages in our modern workshop here in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. Habitat Post & Beam does not subcontract its work. All fabrication is done under factory-controlled conditions and is quality-control checked before shipment.
Habitat provides pre-built factory panels comprised of kiln-dried 2x4 studs 16" on center as a solid nail base for securing cabinets, siding, etc. (It is the recommendation of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association that cedar clapboards be nailed with 1 1/2" penetration into solid wood every 16-24"), and 1-1/2" Styrofoam bonded to 1/2" CDX plywood is included for on-site application (additional insulation - fiberglass, spray foam, etc. - is locally supplied and installed.) See our Framing Systems page for more information. We do not use stress skin panels. We believe that while stress skin panels provide a high R-value, there are inherent problems that have discouraged our use. For additional information, visit our Framing Systems page and scroll down to "The Habitat Wall System vs. Stress Skin Wall System."
The wall system uses 1-1/2" foil-faced polyisocyanurate R10 insulation bonded to 1/2", 5-ply CDX fir plywood for on-site application. Additional insulation (fiberglass, spray foam, etc.) is supplied and installed by owner/contractor. The roof system insulation is made up of staggered layers of foil-faced rigid urethane insulation (7'"total), and 1/2" 5-ply CDX fir plywood nailbase over the decking. Higher R-Values can be obtained with an additional layer of insulation; R-50 is a common option.
See our Framing Systems page for more information.
A common problem with timber frame construction wall finish is the eventual separation of Sheetrock from the posts and beams as the structure ages. Habitat includes a dado (groove) in the exterior wall posts and beams into which the Sheetrock is slid during construction, which allows it to remain tight and true.
We use Andersen®'s top-of-the-line 400 Series High Performance™ Low-E4™ glass windows and patio doors with maintenance-free cladding that features a 20-year warranty (http://www.andersenwindows.com). Exterior doors are JELD-WEN® fiberglass, insulated, pre-hung doors (http://www.jeld-wen.com). Roof windows/skylights are by Velux® (http://www.veluxusa.com). If you prefer to purchase your own windows and doors locally we will provide the rough openings in our wall panels for the sizes you specify. For more information visit our Specifications page, and the individual manufacturers' web sites (links above).
Siding is red cedar clapboards, tongue and groove saw-textured knotty cedar vertical siding, or white cedar extra grade shingles. Trim is smooth, primed cedar (for more information visit our Specifications page) You can supply your own alternative siding and trim and we will credit you the cost of our standard siding should you choose to use a type of siding that we do not offer (vinyl, brick, cement board, etc.).