Timber Frame or Post and Beam?

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Timber frames are sometimes categorized as post and beam. Is there a difference? The short answer, especially according to timber framers, is yes. Not that we discount post & beam construction, but we know what it takes to craft a timber frame joint! Let's look at the main similarities and the differences.

Timber Frame

Built with large timbers

Exposed frame integral part of overall design

Timbers are cut to fit into each other at the joints

Joints connected with mortise and tenons

Joints secured with wood pegs


Post and Beam

Built with large timbers

Exposed frame integral part of overall design

Timbers are usually are butted together​

Joints connected with steel plates & brackets

Joints secured with bolts

post-beam joint

Timber framing is a craft that can be traced back to historic architecture. The longevity and integrity of timber framed structures is evident in buildings erected during medieval times that stand today in Europe. Mechanical fasteners were not available, so the tightly fitting joints were secured with wood pegs. At MoreSun we carry on that tradition today. Timber framing is a specialty craft that requires years of experience to master the precision cutting necessary.

Post and beam structures resemble timber frames in appearance. The biggest difference between the two types of construction are the use of metal connectors, and connections that do not require cutting in post and beam building.

Both methods of construction allow for wide open interior spaces. Both methods celebrate the beauty of wood. Timber framing and post and beam construction each have their own visual aesthetic. Although we prefer the purity and sense of history that a timber frame brings to your structure, we are happy to use whichever type of construction best fits your needs.