Timber or Stick Frames, Exterior Walls and Costs

I really like the apparent potential for open spaces and light and the beauty of the wood and/or seeing the structure-- the posts and beams-- as exposed as possible-- at least from the inside...
That said, I was just wondering what would be cheaper to build; a timber frame construct with an external load bearing wall (or where the external wall is exactly in-between the posts), or one where the post and beams/lintels are inside the home and exposed that way, while the exterior wall is a simple non-load-bearing shell, a distance out from the beams.

not load-bearing. (Presumably, the timber would benefit from not being exposed to the elements.)
Also, would stick frames be cheaper than post and beam frames? I prefer post and beam, based on what I've seen, and have always been a fan of renovated barns for homes. SIPS seem a little dubious to me from an aesthetic soulful standpoint too.
"Although there has been a move away from larger beams (or at least toward engineered wood) in order to reduce pressure to cut old growth forests, this conventional wisdom may be less relevant when applied to FSC certified beams. By buying larger beams, you're encouraging the woodlot owners to cut some trees on a longer rotation, promoting a forest that is more ecological robust." http://www.sensiblehouse.org/tu_construction.shtml
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It occurs to me that the load bearing does not have to be the exposed wood at all, inside or out
Warm Worm wrote:

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What are you suggesting?
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Warm Worm wrote:

steel or concrete, decorative wood

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++ wrote:

or, should I venture, bamboo.....Japanese timber bamboo, perhaps. or http://www.bamboonursery.com/commercial.htm#lumber
or both:
http://www.romanconcrete.com/docs/bamboo1966/BambooReinforcedConcreteFeb1966.htm

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On Tue, 23 Oct 2007 15:50:45 -0400, ++ wrote:

Go bamboo.
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++ wrote:

Agreed if you're suggesting post and beams being made of other materials. As for bamboo, I'd be good with having it in some contexts around the house, such as in the flooring and some trip, but not really in the typical and maybe cliched "asian garden clumps" context though (no offense to that Clumping Bamboo guy on here)
Mind you, what might also be really cool and potentially exotic is if there was such a thing as large-diameter bamboo-laminate posts and beams.
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Warm Worm wrote:

There are.
There is such a thing as "house bamboo", used for ....houses and partitions. When I was a child in the Pacific, it was also used for houses built on stilts , made good climbing stuff for geckos to get up and lives on your screens.
There are now a buncha composite bamboo products, and babmboo sort of plybeams are not far behind as a mosture resistant and stronger renewable less offgassing material than wood. Quite a number of the floors in the Solar design contest on the mall were bamboo, like everyone discovered it all at once. Only saw one composting toilet, though
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I'm no carpenter, but isn't the point of post and beam construction that there is no need for load bearing walls, and rather the joints take care of the lateral loads, leaving walls to be mainly infill? If there are load bearing walls, what exactly would be the form of construction on those? If your going to make stick built load bearing walls there is no need for the post and beam. However, maybe you mean stick built walls with exposed beams above.
Anyways, I agree a lot with the exposed wood. I like to see how a building comes together (and I know that is a personal preference). I've always had a thing for large exposed glu-lam beams. I was thinking the other day how it would be kind of neat to take back the 3 1/2" wasted air space between my living room and the hallway to use for bookshelves. Rather than just build them over the finish, you could build into the wall and gain a couple of extra inches for the hallway. The only possible reason to keep it I guess would be sound transmission, but it's not really a place where such a thing needs to be considered.
--
Edgar



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Edgar wrote:

I think so, which is what seems to lend itself to lots of glass (not that a load bearing wall can't be a glass wall). You can make the joints any way you want as long of course as they're properly engineered.

They sound nice. While exposed wood in general can be nice, I've seen places where it's way too much for me-- like from the ceiling to the floor in wood. I like a balanced, maybe even Zen-like mix of materials, patterns and textures. (As an aside, I'm also less than crazy about wallpaper.) I like light and space a lot, and a view and connection to the outside where at all possible, as well as exposed structure, like the posts and beams, but also even the ductwork and pipes-- where possible. Obviously, it's doubtful people would like to hear everytime a toilet was flushed and the water and whatever else rushing down the pipe just after. :)

Definitely a good idea, although wouldn't you lose hallway space with that adaptation? That makes me think of those cool stairs-shaped dressers/cabinets that fit like puzzles snugly under stairways.
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Yeah I agree, I've seen some places that were just too much wood. Balance is always good. One of the nicest homes I saw used standard stick built walls, but had large posts and curved glu-lams here and there over the large spaces. Looked really nice.

Yeah I would lose a little space in the hallway. When we first came to look at our house, the original owners had some shallow bookcases there, and it didn't really affect the hallway too badly, didn't feel cramped or anything (they were about the depth that you would use for DVD cases). So I got thinking if you took back the wall cavity space you could have even deeper shelving and be ablt to use it for more than just DVDs. Of course it would need some type of backing so you don't punch a hole through the plaster on the backside so you'd get maybe 2 to 3 inches of the actual 3.5 in there.
--
Edgar



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I always thought only newer homes had firestops. Mine was built in 1924, no insulation, not nearly enough electrical outlets (though the box outside has been upgraded). I wouldn't imagine there being much in the way of pipes in this particular wall.
--
Edgar



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I'll definitely keep that in mind, thanks.
--
Edgar



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Post & beam construction would be more costly, as there's really not much cost savings on the "shell" construction (still has to be insulated, has to withstand the elements, window/door framing is still labor intensive (even though header sizes would potentially be reduced). Depending upon the size and complexity (spans, number of floors, snow/wind loads, etc.) of the home the costs might be worth it (if it's small & simple enough - don't think outside the box!). If the budget is large enough, go for it. Otherwise, you might be able to do a combination of stick framed & post and beam to minimize the costs while still achieving the look.
HTH,
Michael (LS)
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Michael (LS) wrote:

Thanks... I would be thinking of simple and small, so maybe it's still feasible. I'd also like a lot of window area, which should cover much of the external-wall area (although I imagine that comes with its own set of pros and cons). Post-and-beam doesn't have to be made out of wood, though, as I still like the exposed qualities of bolts and large metal spans and other pieces. I'm also good with other materials such as fabricated/laminated beams and the like. I guess I just like a feeling of structural and spacial simplicity and purity. Stick-frames somehow seem too "toothpicky" for my taste and slender metal poles also contribute to this sense too, so it's not just the material, but the shape and proportion.
I still have my heart set on throwing a couple of shipping containers into another design, by the way, but it looks like there might be some time before that gets done.

A combo's a good idea-- multimedia-- especially if stick frame is somehow more to scale-- as part of something smaller.
I also like lots of uninterrupted windows, which is in part also why post and beam appeals perhaps.
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Don wrote:

It wouldn't surprise me, which is ok because other materials are fine for post and beam.
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