What is the Difference Between Post-and-Beam and Timber Frame Homes?

Post & Beam Homes vs. Timber Frame Homes Explained

Due to their similar design and aesthetic, homebuyers often see no difference between post-and-beam and timber frame homes. The differences may be few, but they’re profound — let’s take a look below and see which building system is right for your new home.

post and beam example

Post & Beam

Post and beam construction looks similar to timber frame in its use of post-supported exposed beams that run horizontally, supporting roof rafters and subfloor systems.

The main difference lies in how these timbers are fastened — post-and-beam utilizes mechanical fasteners and steel-plate connectors to join adjacent timbers together.

For custom home builders looking for post and beam home kits for your customers, check out our timber frame kit page.

Timber Frame Home with Stone Fireplace

Timber Frame

Timber framing is a much older, more traditional form of wood construction that dates back as early as 200 BC. Made famous by its usage throughout Japan in particular, the Japanese recognized its incredible strength, dependability, and longevity. Their timber frame homes easily withstood Japan’s fierce typhoons and earthquakes, while other wooden houses — and even those made of stone — crumbled under the severe conditions.

Timber frame construction was so undeniably strong that its use quickly spread across the globe, all the way to medieval Europe and eventually, the New World. The United States carried on the fine tradition of timber frame construction into the early 20th century, when faster, more cost-effective building systems became more prevalent.

Timber frame construction has since seen a resurgence beginning in the 1970s and timber framing in the US remains the gold standard for homebuyers seeking traditional craftsmanship that reflects our country’s rich history.

Comparing and Contrasting Timber Frame and Post-and-Beam Construction

While timber frame and post-and-beam homes look similar due to their exposed-timber design, they’re actually quite different.

In timber framing, the weight is transferred through the vertical members of the bents — the triangular, truss-like series of timbers that support upper floors and the roof. In post-and-beam construction, the weight is borne by horizontal timbers that rest on vertical posts.

As mentioned previously, the other main difference is how the frameworks are fastened together. Unlike post-and-beam homes, timber frame homes like those designed and built by Atlantic Timberframes are connected and secured with mortise and tenon joinery and oak pegs, instead of metal bolts and brackets. These elements are what really separate timber frame construction from post-and-beam, providing a highly sought-after handcrafted aesthetic that also gives the system its world-renowned durability and longevity.

For examples of this old-world style craftsmanship, take a look at our Timber Frame Houses Gallery.

Cost Comparison

Like most things in life, you often only get what you pay for. The unparalleled quality and craftsmanship required to build a timber frame home that will last your family generations longer than other building systems understandably comes with a higher price tag. However, much of this cost is offset by the fact that timber frame homes don’t require modern building techniques to achieve lateral stability — not to mention the savings you’ll earn from lower maintenance and repair costs over time.

The Atlantic Timberframes Difference

We cut all our timbers by hand, using hand tools, chisels, saws and drills. Unlike other companies that use computerized cutting machines, every square inch of our timber reflects old-world craftsmanship that gives your home an undeniably authentic atmosphere and aesthetic.

With every customer and every home, we pride ourselves on bringing a little old-world heritage and family-oriented customer care back into the modern-day, helping homebuyers throughout the Pennsylvania region achieve the timber frame home of their dreams.

We would love to talk with you about your timber frame project.

Contact us today for your no obligation consultation