The art of timber framing dates back to some of early man’s first primitive structures. Europe is full of timber-framed structures dating back hundreds of years, including manors and castles, homes and inns, whose architecture and techniques of construction have evolved over the centuries. In Asia you will find timber-framed structures, many of them temples, that have stood for centuries. Today Light wood framed construction is one of the most popular types of building methods in the United States. Light frame construction enabled builders to enclose large areas with minimal cost, while achieving a wide variety of architectural styles. On the rapidly expanding American frontier, the demand for quick and cheap housing meant that light frame construction soon replaced timber framing as the dominant building method. This is still true today, as these techniques evolved to become what is commonly known as stud construction.
Cost-effectiveness, material use efficiency and the ready availability of labor and materials make light-frame construction the most common type of wood construction in North America.
Approaches include platform, balloon or semi-balloon framing, which distinguish the wall-to-floor connection. Also see Balloon & Platform Framing (Timber) for more information.
- Platform – The floor bears directly on the wall below. Easy construction makes this the most common approach.
- Balloon – The wall extends two or more stories and the floor is hung off a ledger connected to the wall. Balloon framing is often used in industrial and retail applications where a parapet is needed.
- Semi-balloon – The floor hangs from the top plate of the wall below and the wall above is stacked directly on the wall below. This approach is popular in multi-story applications because it helps create fire resistance continuity and minimizes shrinkage.