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Increase Your Timber Frame Home Lifespan

Hamill Creek   |   Sep 6, 2019

Many considerations come into play when constructing timber frame houses. There are the environmental impacts, ongoing maintenance, aesthetic appeal, flexible design options, and overall strength of the home. However, another piece of the puzzle is the actual lifespan of a timber frame house. In choosing to move forward with building a timber frame home, the lifespan is definitely a major component to keep in mind.

What Is the Typical Lifespan of a Timber Frame House?

Generally speaking, a timber frame house lifespan is 100 years or more. Many of the timber frame homes first built in North America in mid 1700 still stand and function today. There are many timber frame structures still in use throughout Europe that date back to early 1100’s.

The Importance of Quality Construction

There is the familiar adage that the best defense is a good offense, so focusing on the initial build is pivotal. It is during these early stages that most of the potential success of the timber frame house lifespan is established. The builders and designers are well aware of the responsibility they have to ensure building timber frame houses is done with exacting detail, taking into account any and all potential pitfalls. Obviously, once the timber frame house is built, much of what determines how long timber frame houses last depends upon the owner. It is up to the individual to take steps to maintain the home. Ongoing upkeep and maintenance can extend the lifespan significantly, assuming the owner knows what issues to prioritize.

Protecting Against Moisture Damage

One of the most pressing concerns to keep in mind is moisture damage. Prior to inhabiting the home, the way the timber frame house is built sets the stage for how protected the timber frame house is from moisture damage. When the actual build takes place, you want to ensure the timbers used have a moisture content no higher than 19 percent. Higher concentrations of moisture in the wood of timber frame houses can easily lead to early development of mold and wood rot. Another point to note is that during construction of a timber frame house, the builders are cognizant of keeping the framing as dry as possible. If the frame constructed is wet, it can result in nails popping out and issues with drywall. These issues can lead to significant moisture damage down the road.

During construction, another major concern is proper sealing of the home exterior. By ensuring the sealing is handled correctly, air can’t escape through the cracks. This prevents moisture from becoming trapped in wall cavities, which in the long run, can truly impact the lifespan of a timber frame house. By being meticulous with the sealing of the home, the insulation can then be installed without worry that air will get in and cause unnecessary condensation problems.

It is also helpful, if not essential, to strengthen the exterior of timber frame houses with UV protection. The lifespan of a timber frame house can be extended this way by fortifying the wood against the potential deterioration caused by the sun’s rays.

Another way to protect timber frame houses, thus increasing a timber frame house lifespan, is to include a humidifiers and ventilators to maintain the air quality indoors. This is particularly important if incorporating a forced-air heating system in your home. During the summer, however, dehumidifiers can also be beneficial, depending on the outside environment. 

Modern day Heat Recovery Ventilation systems   are highly recommended . Simply using fans will also help to regulate airflow. How much humidity allowed in a timber frame house is ultimately going to be based on the owner’s comfort level. Typically, though, the recommendation is that a home is kept roughly between 30-50% humidity. These levels are adequate for minimizing mold growth and excessive condensation.

Pest and Insect Infestation

Another concern that often arises is that of pest and insect infestation. Yearly inspections on the exterior of any home  is always recommended to insure there is no evidence of insect or water damage.Fortunately, if the builders are sure to effectively seal the home around its foundation and the base of the siding, this should not cause a homeowner to worry.

Properly Insuring a Timber Frame Home

Insurance is obviously another way to protect a timber frame house. These days, finding affordable insurance for timber frame houses is typically as easy as finding insurance for a traditional brick or hybrid home. Most people start with their own agents, although it is recommended that a person investing in a timber frame house do their research. Speak to the builders and designers. Ask the owners of other timber frame houses for their opinions. Seek out the most recent data on rates and options.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, extending the lifespan of a timber frame house starts as soon as the decision is made to actually proceed with building a home. Research your options when it comes to builders. Ensure the team you use to build a timber frame home has a solid reputation and integrity. While it’s true that timber frame houses are built more quickly than other styles of homes, this speed should not come at the expense of a sloppily constructed building. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at Hamill Creek. Our agents would be happy to discuss plans you have for your timber frame house and answer any questions on products and processes used during installation.

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