Modern features

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Post  meodingu on Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:50 am

Modern features

Porch of a modern timber-framed house

Interior of a modern hand-hewn post and beam home.

In the United States and Canada, timber-frame construction has been revived since the 1970s and is now experiencing a thriving renaissance of the ancient skills. This is largely due to practitioners as Steve Chappell, Jack Sobon, and Tedd Benson, who studied old plans and techniques and revived a long-neglected technique. Once a hand-crafted skill passed down, timber-frame construction has now been modernized with the help of modern industrial tools such as the CNC machines. These machines and mass-production techniques have assisted growth and for more affordable frames and shorter lead-times for projects.

Timber-framed structures differ from conventional wood-framed buildings in several ways. Timber framing uses fewer, larger wooden members, commonly timbers in the range of 15 to 30 cm (6" to 12"), while common wood framing uses many more timbers with dimensions usually in the 5 to 25 cm (2" to 10") range. The methods of fastening the frame members also differ. In conventional framing, the members are joined using nails or other mechanical fasteners, whereas timber framing uses the traditional mortice and tenon or more complex joints that are usually fastened using only wooden pegs.[3] Modern complex structures and timber trusses often incorporate steel joinery such as gusset plates, for both structural and architectural purposes.

Recently, it has become common practice to entirely surround the timber structure in manufactured panels, such as SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). This method has benefits: the timbers can only be seen from inside the building, but is less complex to build and provides more efficient insulation. Structural Insulated Panels are commonly two rigid composite materials usually wood-based like OSB or plywood with a foamed insulation material innard, between either gluing billets as in EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) or formed in place with foaming polyurethane. Another advantage is less of a dependency on extraneous bracing & auxiliary members, minor joists and rafters, as the panels can span considerable distances and add greater rigidity to the basic timber frame.

A Huf Haus near West Linton in Scotland

An alternate construction method is via concrete flooring with extensive use of glass. This allows a very solid construction combined with open architecture. Some firms have specialized in industrial prefabrication of such residential and light commercial structures such as Huf Haus as Low-energy houses or – dependent on location – Zero-energy buildings.

Straw-bale construction is another alternative where straw bales are stacked for non-load bearing infill with various finishes applied to the interior and exterior such as stucco and plaster. This appeals to the traditionalist and the environmentalist as this is using "found" materials to build.

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