Heavy Timber

What Is Heavy Timber?

Heavy timber construction is a type of timber framing that uses large, rustic timbers joined together with traditional mortise-and-tenon joinery. These timbers are left exposed in a finished project, taking advantage of wood’s natural strength and beauty for distinctive buildings that stand the test of time.

It is thought that heavy timber construction dates back to the 10th century. In the United States, it dates back “only” to the 17th century, brought by European settlers. While heavy timber was used mainly for agricultural and industrial buildings in the past, today it is popular for schools and universities, churches, municipal buildings, commercial structures, and residential properties.

What Are the Benefits of Heavy Timber Construction?

  • Resiliency: Heavy timber buildings are exceptionally sturdy, with the potential to last for generations.
  • Structural Integrity: Because timber has a tendency to char rather than burn, a heavy timber building has a greater chance of maintaining its structural integrity in a fire.
  • Energy Efficiency: Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are often used in heavy timber construction, creating a tight building envelope. This reduces the energy — and money — required to heat and cool buildings.
  • Sustainability: Timber made from responsibly sourced wood is a sustainable choice. Heavy timber buildings generate a lower carbon footprint as well.
  • Project Efficiency: Heavy timber framing is extremely strong, which lessens the need for interior load-bearing walls. An experienced company can complete a building’s heavy timber framing relatively quickly.

The Heavy Timber Experts

Mid-Atlantic Timberframes combines high-quality timber, old-world craftsmanship, and state-of-the-art technology to build quality custom timber frames. It’s this meeting of old and new that’s made us the company we are today.

Hand tools, including saws and axes, used to be the tools of the heavy timber trade. In fact, you can still see the marks left by these instruments in old heavy timber buildings or on reclaimed timbers. Today, we’re proud to use top-of-the-line CNC machinery for precision cuts and efficiency that can’t be beat. But, when design complexity or oversized pieces demand, we still have the time-tested skills to craft heavy timbers by hand.

At Mid-Atlantic Timberframes, we’re passionate about heavy timber buildings, with experience in residential and commercial projects of all sizes. We thrive on working with architects and builders to continue innovating and expanding the capabilities of heavy timber construction.

Ready to Build a Heavy Timber Project?

The popularity of heavy timber buildings endures thanks to their natural beauty and resilience. Heavy timber’s sustainability and efficiency benefits don’t hurt either.

Are you ready to build with heavy timber? Have questions? Contact Mid-Atlantic Timberframes today! We’d love to discuss your project.

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