Choosing the right materials can make the difference between hours of frustration or a lifetime of enjoyment in your timber frame home.
Homeowners usually swoon over their freshly built timber frame houses. But what about 5,10, or 15 years later? A Woodhouse timber frame is built to last for generations, and we want you to love your home years later just as much as the day you move in. Depending how much time you want to spend maintaining your timber frame home, careful and purposeful material selection is the difference between a good timber frame and an exceptional one. Understanding material choices and their upkeep requirements will save you headaches, hassle, and money, year after year.
No material choice is a silver-bullet solution, and every home requires some level of upkeep. But weighing the balance between aesthetic, performance, and maintenance in a few key areas can ensure your home is supporting you . . . not the other way around.
Timber Frame Home Maintenance: Materials Do Matter
From the inside out, bottom to top, the following considerations for key areas can help you strategize and optimize how you spend time maintaining your home.
When it comes to exterior timbers, our standard is white oak due to its ability to withstand weather and carpenter bees. For other exterior materials, the possibilities are nearly endless. Unlike log homes, which require regular and meticulous staining to retain their aesthetic and performance, timber frame homes open the door to a wide selection of siding options. This is because timber frame exterior walls are constructed using structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs also provide a tight thermal envelope for exceptional energy efficiency.
Siding has both protective duties and expresses a home’s personality. Shou sugi ban has re-emerged in popularity due to its captivating beauty, aesthetic versatility, and natural preservation abilities. Created with a process that chars the wood, shou sugi ban also boasts inherent insect-repellent and fire-resistant properties. Composite board, stone, and cementitious materials are also known for dramatically reducing timber home maintenance demands. Steel siding, a popular choice for modern timber frame styles or used as a contrasting design element, requires no upkeep.
2. Interior Flooring
Flooring anchors the look and feel of your home and has the power to tie the interior spaces together. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need flooring that is waterproof and durable under daily use and abuse thanks to pets and kids.
Additionally, you’ll need to consider how your flooring selection feels under your feet and how it will age over time. Do you want a worn-in, rustic patina or a floor that can maintain a fresh, sleek appearance? There are many high-performance options that appeal to various budgets, personal tastes, and uses — hardwood floors, luxury vinyl tile, and laminate all come in dizzying arrays of colors and styles now. Concrete, terrazzo, and porcelain tiles are excellent low-maintenance choices and can be installed with radiant heating for an elevated, cozy touch.
Windows require little more than the occasional cleaning to keep the views from your timber frame home sparkling and spectacular. Maintenance with windows is about performance. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 20% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. During the hot months, about 76% of sunlight that falls on standard windows enters as heat. An upfront investment in high-quality windows will provide lasting comfort with lower energy bills over the lifespan of your home. At Woodhouse, we use a combination of passive solar energy orientation and high-performance windows and doors such as Andersen® to ensure a tight thermal envelope for your timber frame.
4. Counters and Backsplashes
Counters and backsplashes come in a plethora of materials and styles ranging from natural to engineered. Don’t underestimate the abuse these surfaces undergo on a daily basis. Bathroom materials should withstand high humidity, and in the kitchen, counters are subjected to hot pans and sharp knives. Because you’ll likely be putting your food on kitchen counters, they also need to perform as a super sanitary workspace.
Concrete and marble provide modern and traditional aesthetics that homeowners love. However, despite being rock-hard, both are porous surfaces and can harbor bacteria and easily stain if they aren’t sealed properly and treated regularly. Soapstone and stainless steel are extremely durable. Both develop an aged patina over time. Quartz countertops are an engineered stone that provide exceptional durability and performance for high-use surfaces.
5. Outdoor Spaces
Decks, porches, patios and strategic hardscaping create outdoor rooms that let homeowners spend more time in their property’s natural settings. The very nature of these spaces means they’re quite exposed to the elements. Decks and patios are especially vulnerable. Their horizontal surfaces don’t shed water or snow, and they are subjected to the full onslaught of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Luckily, these days, there are many clever options for protecting decks, patios, and outdoor timber frame structures. Stain-resistant composite boards, stone pavers, concrete, or sustainably harvested hardwoods are all great choices for homeowners seeking a laid-back, low maintenance outdoor materials. Additionally, strategically placed walls and timber frame coverings can help provide protection from extreme weather.
Ready to see more?
If you’re new to the world of timber frames, we’re eager to introduce you to the vibrant possibilities that are both creative and practical. Check out our gallery for ideas along with our more than 20 home styles, which can be adapted and fully customized for your commercial structure. If you have questions or want to know more, please contact us.