services does TREE TOP TIMBER FRAMES
TOP TIMBER FRAMES designers work with you to
design your custom home. We provide you with:
- Custom designs
- Main floor plan
- Loft/Second floor
- Roof plan and
- Floor framing
plan and notes
- Exterior building
elevations (4) drawings
- Building sections
- Building details
drawings. Incorporating high performance energy efficient
weather tight building details.
- Foundation plan
and notes (Designed and Stamped by a Professional Timber Frame
- Timber Frame
drawings (Designed and Stamped by a Professional Timber Frame
- Electrical plan
- Door and hardware
- Window schedule
- Room finish and
- Schematic site
- Timber Frame
Structural Engineering design
- Timber Frame
- Complete Project
& Building Cost Estimates
- Written specifications
for the excavation, foundation, Timber Frame and building
- Hand crafted
traditionally joined Timber Frames
- Timber Frame
much time is required to fabricate and erect a Timber Frame home?
Time to completion
of any building depends on the complexity and size of the building.
Once the working drawings are complete and the timbers have
arrived, a 2500 sq ft timber frame would take between four and
six weeks of shop time to fabricate. Approximately one week
to assemble and erect the timber frame and two weeks to install
the roof and wall enclosures. From start of fabrication to enclosure
finish, a project of this size would take approximately 6 to
What kind of wood does TREE
TOP TIMBER FRAMES use for their frames?
The most common local
woods are Douglas Fir, Spruce and Pine. Maple, Oak, Cherry or
almost any available species of wood can be used. For timbers
that will be exposed to the elements we can either use any wood
with has been treated with our special timber preservative or
Western Red Cedar.
For the dowels we have used Oak, Hickory, Ash and Rock Maple.
We also fabricate our own dowels complete with end embellishments
(several options available).
We have established relations with many timber suppliers and
are now able to procure kiln dried and recycled timbers. We
can help you make an educated choice for your project.
Can we choose the type of finish
to be used on the timbers?
Yes. Timbers can be left rough sawn or natural hand-hewn or
distressed to appear hundreds of years old or sanded smooth,
stained and polished to resemble fine furniture. The pallet
of colours is endless from the ebony lacquer finish to whitewashed
and any tone in between.
What is checking and how does it affect
the strength of the timbers?
As timber dries the
changes in its dimensions, during drying, are not equal
in all directions. The difference in girth and diameter shrinkage
rates induces tension stress that cause lengthwise separation
of the wood. There are several ways in which checking can be
minimized by either removing the heart of the tree from the
timber (free of heart timbers), by using recycled timber, by
using standing dead or by using air dried or kiln-dried timber.
Checking and shrinkage are primarily aesthetic problems not
structural. The only time checking would be of structural concern
would be if a check extends clear through a timber. Since the
timbers, typically used in Timber Frame construction, are similar
in depth as they are in width, the checks typically do not extend
through the timbers. If for some reason a check extends through
a timber our Structural Engineers can recalculate the structural
capacity, of the checked timber, to determine if remedial repairs
are required. Our Structural Engineers have developed a simple
cost effect way of strengthening severely checked timbers. For
more information on shrinkage and checking see web site section
Timber Structure under Shrinkage
We have developed a check control method that helps drive the
checks towards the outside of the timbers, where they will not
be seen. Our check control system helps to minimize checks but
does not eliminate them. This work takes longer, but the extra
details ensure the highest quality Timber Frame possible.
Do the timbers warp and twist?
Yes, a certain amount
(small) of movement and shrinkage is to be expected when using
green timber. None when using reclaimed or kiln dried timbers.
Shrinkage usually begins to appear in the first and second year
after construction. If at all possible the frame should be marginally
heated, for working conditions, for the first complete winter.
In essence, this allows for almost two full years of slow drying
before the timbers are subjected to blasting heat. Checking
and shrinkage will be diminished quite noticeably compared to
those that were heated in the first winter.
This shrinkage is taken into account in our engineering and
detailing of the timber joinery.
Does the Timber Frame require special
cleaning and maintenance?
No, depending of
the type of finish that is applied to the timbers. The timbers
are cleaned and coated with two coats of a urethane finish (the
same durable finish used on hardwood floors) before they leave
our shop. This finish will last the lifetime or your house.
Shipping, assembly and raising inevitably results in some scuffmarks
and dirt. We repair all the scuffmarks upon completion of raising.
If you choose an oil finish you need to re-oil the timbers after
several years to bring back the color. We recommend that the
entire structure be wiped or washed down upon completion of
drywalling, and before you begin to paint the walls.
For exterior timbers we apply a high quality three coat exterior
stain system. These timbers will require a simple cleaning and
re-coat every three to five years.
All timbers, with any type of finish, will require dusting.
With living in and dusting a Timber Frame for nearly 10 years,
we can show you ways to make this nasty job a little simpler.
Is plumbing and wiring a problem?
No, if you are using
our roof and panellized wall systems the plumbing and electrical
work is identical to that for a conventional stick built home.
Is Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
No, the HVAC is identical
to that for a conventional stick built home. Because the building
is extremely airtight a HRV (heat recovery ventilator or air
exchanger) will need to be installed. Not only does the HRVs
assure a constant flow of fresh air, in an energy efficient
manner, they also provide a great degree of control of relative
humidity of the interior air. It is our opinion that all homes,
whether the home is Timber Framed or conventional stick built,
should all have HRVs to ensure a steady flow of fresh incoming
Does TREE TOP
TIMBER FRAMES build the house?
If the project is
within a reasonable distance of our Edmonton location, in addition
to the Timber Frame, we can provide the foundation, the roof
and wall enclosures as well as the interior walls and floors,
up to lock up. We can also act as the Builder and complete the
Outside of Canada we provide one of our master craftsmen to
supervise and train your builder in the raising of your Timber
is the insulation R-value of TREE TOP TIMBER FRAMES roof
and wall enclosures? Do your homes meet R-2000 criteria?
Our wall system has
an R35 insulation value when using 2X6 construction. Our roofs
range from R40 to R60, depending on the depth of the rafters
selected. We also use high performance energy efficient windows
and doors with airtight construction. Yes our homes meet and
exceed R-2000 criteria, using one-quarter to one-half of the
energy used in a conventionally built home.
What are structural insulated
panels (SIP) and what is the difference between SIPs and TREE
TOP TIMBER FRAMES
panellized wall and roof system?
SIPs is a general
term used to describe a foam core panel that has interior and
exterior oriented strand board (OSB) already applied to it.
Typically they have expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, which
has an R-value of 3.75 per inch thickness. An interior poly
air/vapour barrier is also required.
TREE TOP TIMBER FRAMES wall
panellized system is similar to the SIP without the insulation
and interior sheathing. The insulation is a spray applied polyurethane
foam, which has an extremely high R-value of 6 per inch thickness.
The insulation is sprayed into the walls once the rough wiring
and plumbing is complete, much like that in a conventional house.
A separate air/vapour is not required since the foam insulation
also performs this function. The insulation and interior sheathing
are applied after the plumbing and electrical rough in work
is complete. Our wall and roof system costs less than SIPs and
provides twice the insulation value.
Fibreglass insulation complete with a poly air/vapour barrier,
identical to that used in conventional stick build homes, or
SIPs can be used with our wall and roof enclosure systems in
place of the polyurethane insulation. The fibreglass insulation
has an R-value of 3 per inch thickness and is the most economical
enclosure system available.
Our wall panel system can become full structural building components,
extending the many benefits of the panel system to areas of
the home that are not framed in Timber Frame.
You may choose any of the enclosure systems. We help you select
the enclosure system that meets your budget.
What is the difference between Post
& Beam construction and Timber Frame construction?
In Post & Beam
construction, as in Timber Frame construction, the frames
individual timbers are visible from the inside of the building.
Timber Frame construction is different in that the timber joints
do not rely on bolts, clamps or exposed steel plates to joint
the posts and beams. With Timber Frame buildings the joinery
is done with hardwood pegs, mortises (female parts of the joinery)
and tenons (the male parts). Timber Frame requires more craftsmanship.
What is the difference between conventional
construction and Timber Frame construction?
homes in which the frame, built with two by sixes, is concealed
beneath gyproc or plaster boards, the frame, built with large
eight by eight finished timbers, for Timber Frame construction
is entirely exposed. These heavy timbers make a stunning architectural
What about interior walls?
Interior walls are
built conventionally. The interior partitions can be built between
posts and under beams keeping in mind that seasonal changes
in the timbers requires special detailing. Building the walls
next to the timbers eliminates gaps and fitting requirements,
and you can also run the second story wiring and plumbing without
What kind of floor systems can I use?
Floor systems can
be built with timbers, conventional joists or a combination
of the two. You can use 2 inch thick tongue and groove wood
decking placed directly on top of a Timber Framed floor beams
, creating a ceiling and floor in one operation. Several draw
backs to this system are a squeaky floor, and no cavity for
ductwork, wiring, and plumbing. You can also use conventional
joist placed on top to a 2 inch thick layer of tongue and groove
wood decking or drywall which is placed on top of the Timber
Framed floor beams. This makes for a silent floor and creates
a cavity for ductwork, wiring, plumbing and insulation for noise
proofing. This system also allows you to use different ceiling
finishes in different rooms. Some rooms you may want a drywalled
ceiling while others you may want a wood ceiling.
What finishing options are available
for doors, windows, roofing, exterior walls, interior walls and
floors on a Timber Frame?
options are available. We can supply and install high performance
energy efficient doors and windows.
Interior ceilings and walls can be finished in either wood planking
Does a Timber Frame home require a
No, Timber Frame
structures can be built on poured concrete, block, slab, insulated
concrete forms or wood foundations. The foundations must be
adequately reinforced at the post locations. Post pockets are
framed into the first floor and the posts go through the deck
and bear on the foundation. The foundations must be designed
and stamped by a Professional Timber Frame Structural Engineer.
We have a full time Structural Engineer on staff. If your home
is in a high wind area or in a high seismic load area special
post anchorage systems may need to be incorporated into our
Why is Geotechnical Soils Investigation
and Report required for a Timber frame home and not normally required
for a conventional stick built home?
Timber Frame structures
fall under Part 4 of the National Building Code of Canada titled
Structural Design as compared to conventional stick
built buildings which fall under Part 3 of the National Building
Code of Canada. Part 4 is a structural section of the building
codes and it covers all structures constructed from steel, concrete
and timbers. Because Timber Frame homes are defined as Post
and Beam construction they must be designed to Part 4 of the
code. Part 4 of the code requires that a Professional Structural
Engineer design the structure and foundation. The Professional
Engineer requires the soils investigation and report to design
the foundation for the soils conditions that are at the project
site. Conventional built buildings are not defined as Post and
Beam and therefore do not require a Professional Structural
Engineer to design the building.TREE
TOP TIMBER FRAMES has Structural Engineers on staff
with extensive foundation experience. We have designed foundations
for structures all across Canada including the Northwest Territories.
Our Engineers are licensed in many of the provinces.
TOP TIMBER FRAMES adapt a conventional design
to a Timber Frame design?
Yes, there is no
reason why a conventional design cannot be constructed with
Timber Frame. However, since we need to balance the structural
capacities, of the timbers, with the requirements of the floor
plan, we ask that you allow us a bit of flexibility to make
necessary changes or adjustments so ensure proper location of
posts. There will be some minor differences in the foundation
and sub floor systems.
What determines the price of my Timber
Frame Custom design?
- Size of your home
(square footage and cubic footage enclosed)
- Complexity of the
Timber Frame dormers, hammer beams
- Degree of finish
- Type of finish
(oil, urethane, and the number of coats)
- Species of wood
- Quality of timber
cut (free of heart, boxed heart, center cut)
- Whether or not
the wood is green, recycled or kiln dried
- Overall volume
of wood used
- Number of pieces
- Site location and
How much does a Timber Frame cost?
This question is
asked quite often and it is as easy to answer as how much
does a television cost. Typically our Timber Frames cost
$25.00 to $35.00 per square foot of home space. This is approximately
20 to 30 percent more than a conventional stick built home and
approximately half the cost of a log home. Compared to conventional
buildings our Timber Frames:
- Are constructed
with materials of much higher quality
- Are crafted with
traditional joinery by highly skilled craftspeople
- Have enclosures
that use higher quality insulation which can be more expensive
- Requires more
planning, design time and engineering
A typical building
cost summary is as follows:
We also prepare complete project and building cost estimates.
The higher quality nature of our Timber Frames often inspires
our clients to upgrade on finishes to do justice to the exposed
Timber Frame structure. The first step to a successful project
is to prepare a complete set of Timber Frame design drawings
and written specifications. This will allow you to acquire accurate
quotes and bids. Call us to show you how to build a timber frame
home that meets your budget and exceeds your dreams.
you build Timber Frames in the United States?
Yes we construct
Timber Frames in the U.S. We typically fly the Owner up to Edmonton
via Edmontons International Airport (15 minutes from our
office) for a weekend, to complete the initial design. Our engineers
have working knowledge of the American timber and building codes,
including seismic analysis and design. The complete pre-finished
Timber Frame will be shipped to the project job site. The Owners
local General Contractor will assemble and erect the Timber
Frame under the supervision of one of our master craftspeople.
Because of the large difference in American to Canadian currency
the Timber Frame cost is substantially less than what it costs
if it was supplied and fabricated in the United States.
TOP TIMBER FRAMES have a show home available
Yes we have a completed
Timber Frame show home available for viewing. The show home
is 2400 sq. ft. with a full Timber Framed walkout basement,
and large great space. Please call to make an appointment we
look forward to meeting you.
How has living in a Timber Frame,
for such a long period of time, made you a stronger Timber Frame
Unlike most Timber
Framers, we actually do live in a Timber Frame home. We have
been in our home for over 14 years. By actually living in a
Timber Frame we have first hand experience on many important
timber related design items such as timber drying and shrinkage,
effective lighting, the influence of sunlight on the timbers,
the performance of finishes and timber durability in a family
setting. There is no replacement for such experience.
documents does TREE
TOP TIMBER FRAMES
need in order to begin an initial design?
- Sketches and ideas
of your home.
- Architectural style
(nice to have).
- Copies of any magazine
design ideas and details you would like incorporated into your
- Registered Survey
Plan of Property (if available).
- Property covenants
- Zoning and deed
- Land Use By-Laws
- Topographical map
- Site Photos.
- Soils report (if
The first step to
a successful timber frame project begins by working with the client
on the architectural concept. TREE TOP
TIMBER FRAMES also has numerous design aids that can
help with your design. Books such as The Not So Big House,
Timberframe Interiors and Timberframe Plan Book,
sample floor plans and many pictorials.
we have not answered your questions, please do not hesitate to
contact us with your request.