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Timber’s Advantages Over Steel-and-Wood Hybrid Construction

Timber’s Advantages Over Steel-and-Wood Hybrid Construction

With the tight schedules of all parties involved in a build, any timing setbacks can snowball into big problems. That’s why mixing framing materials like steel and heavy timber can slow down the process, as each fabricator needs to align their delivery and installation logistics perfectly for the project to continue on schedule. Missed deadlines, overtime, and delivery challenges soon follow, upsetting the entire process. Time is indeed the one resource on a build that can’t be replenished.

To keep projects on schedule and running efficiently, utilizing a single subcontractor to handle the entire structural installation is a wise move. Even wiser is to use an experienced timber framing expert who uses only timber instead of wrapping steel with wood for a timber look. If a rustic look is the aesthetic end goal, using timber to cover steel is an expensive and unnecessary extra step. And, with all the advantages of using timber framing, heavy steel can be replaced without compromising the integrity, strength, or resilience of the building.

Additionally, using only timber has advantages in form and function. Curves and other shapes that are difficult for steel can be readily created with timber. Moreover, timber is significantly lighter than steel, reducing the need for heavy machinery and allowing more material to arrive on-site in fewer truckloads. Lower labor costs, reduced fuel usage, and faster construction times typically follow as a result.

Steel is traditionally favored when a wide span needs to be traversed. But while steel does have the strength to cross large voids, a predesigned timber frame can also perform these tasks, able to support a heavy load when crafted by an experienced timber framer who is engaged and involved early on in the design process.

Timber also offers simpler connections for stud framing and engineered floor joists, further exemplifying its efficiencies. Likewise, on-site adjustments and joining up to stud framing are facilitated more easily with timber.

Though steel may be the “usual” material in many builds, those projects that seek to express a natural timber ambience could – and should – use actual timber framing instead of wood-clad steel beams. The warm, inviting atmosphere exuded by natural timber, the exquisite characteristics of the grain and its earth tones, and its sustainable-use qualities all make timber a better choice in many projects. For more information about timber building and to speak to an expert on all aspects of timber frame construction, contact Mid-Atlantic Timberframes before starting your next project.


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