So you’ve decided on building a new home, and want to go with a timber frame. Great choice! While you may have countless questions along this journey, one of the most important is “What framing timber should I use?”
It’s not an easy question, especially considering how many varieties of timber are available. To streamline your decision-making process, we’ve put together a list of the best timber species and options for building a house frame.
In the world of timber, there are two different types of woods: soft and hardwood.
Softwood often comes from gymnosperm trees, which usually have needles and cones, such as pine or cedar. While they’re not as strong as hardwood, they have their place in construction and woodworking – especially due to their high growth rate and economical status. In buildings, they’re commonly used for house frames and areas such as lining boards and cladding.
Houses built with timber framing are usually built with radiata pine. However, a number of other timber species that are also commonly used.
Softwood species that are ideal for timber framing include:
- Hoop pine
- Slash pine
- Radiata pine
In contrast, hardwood timber is produced by angiosperm trees, which have broad leaves and reproduce using flowers.
Thanks to their toughness and durability, Australian native and imported hardwoods are ideal for most external and structural framing applications.
We recommend Australian hardwood timber varieties with a durability rating of Class 1, which include:
- Merbau, or Kwila
- Spotted Gum
- Our mixed F17 hardwood
Our F17 hardwood and F14 hardwood products are mixed hardwoods of high structural strength, commonly used for a range of timber applications – including timber framing.
Another form of timber, made possible by today’s technology, is ‘massive timber’. Massive timber includes Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL), Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT).
If your budget allows for it, we highly recommend massive timber. Its unique engineering and veneer structure will make your build easier, alongside making your frame stronger and more uniform.
Michael Green – a US architect renowned for erecting some of the world’s largest timber buildings – is a keen proponent for massive timber, cites its environmental-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, durability, constructability, and fire protection as key reasons to use it as a structural foundation for buildings.