Buying a timber frame home isn’t just about choosing floor plans and custom design options. Since timbers are composed of organic material, they require routine maintenance to sustain their cosmetic appeal and structural reliability. However, most homeowners will agree that enjoying a unique living experience is well worth the enhanced upkeep with timber home maintenance.
When it comes to timber frame maintenance, a proactive approach is best. Start by becoming well-acquainted with your space through regular inspections of the actual wood beams in the home. By doing so, you may spot changes in coloring or texture which could signal damage. Discovering problems before they worsen could save you untold costs in future repairs.
Understanding Timber Frame Maintenance & Structural Integrity
One of the chief differences between conventional and timber frame homes is the materials used for construction. While the former relies primarily on cut boards and steel beams, timber frame homes are built by assembling exceptionally large logs cut from trees like Larch, Western Red Cedar, Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Pine.
This distinction allows timber frame homes to stand without the support of load-bearing walls. This means the stability of the entire home depends on the condition of the wood beams. As a result, managing control over the frame’s exposure to moisture and humidity will become crucial for upholding structural integrity.
Weatherproofing is a critical part of timber home maintenance.
The organic composition of timbers makes them susceptible to damage caused by the weather – particularly moisture and UV rays. Consistent contact with rain, snow, and moisture could cause wood beams to warp, rot, and crack, leading to structural breaks in the walls and ceiling. This is particularly true if the home wasn’t properly weatherproofed during the initial build.
Timber frames that receive large amounts of direct sunlight often start fading in appearance – compromising their aesthetic value. Identifying UV fading in its early stages is key to preserving the wood’s natural and vibrant hues. If gone undetected for too long, beams must be stripped and re-stained instead of merely being treated.
In either case, the best way to preserve timber frame homes is through frequent visual inspections and the periodic application of stain. High-quality stains can accentuate the timber’s innate beauty while creating a protective seal from moisture and eventual tarnish.
Depending on where you live, being proactive about pest control is another extremely important component of timber home maintenance.
Pest control is a major part of timber frame home maintenance because insects like carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and termites weaken the wood, causing structural damage and potential danger. In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency reports that approximately $2 billion is spent each year to treat wood that is damaged or threatened by such pests.
The most effective pet control method for timbers is to treat them with a chemical solution. At Hamill Creek, we use Sansin Boracol on all wood materials prior to construction in areas prone to pests. Not only does this product prevent infestation, but it can also treat frames previously stricken by wood-damaging insects. Another option is to use naturally pest-resistant species like Western Red Cedar.
Interior Timber Home Maintenance
While exterior timbers suffer from too much moisture, interior timbers can degrade from too little humidity. In certain situations, low humidity can dry out and shrink pieces of timber – eventually destabilizing the frame. This is especially common with timber frame homes that use forced air mechanisms like radiators and heaters. And yes, even kiln-dried timber frames are susceptible to drying out. Luckily, simply investing in a humidifier can help achieve the humidity levels necessary for sustaining healthy interior timbers.
Build Your Dream Home with Hamill Creek!
While maintaining a timber frame takes some extra work, it’s well worth the effort to live in such a beautiful and unique home. Moreover, the accomplished builders at Hamill Creek are always ready to navigate you through any maintenance issues or concerns that might arise.
Contact Us for questions on timber frame maintenance.