Let's look at what a hybrid timber frame is and how you can utilize this construction method to bring warmth and comfort into a home. To get to the skinny on the definition of what a hybrid timber frame is… It is a structure that utilizes timbers, either structural or nonstructural, in combination with other conventional construction techniques. This is a vague definition, so let’s get in to some of the particulars of the topic so we can define it a bit more.
To give you a little background, I would suspect that about 90% of the homes that are built with timber frames in them today are hybrid timber frames. You can have a complete structure supported by the timber frame; or, you can have just part of it, such as the great room, dining room, kitchen or a combination of all three. It may be that you just have accent timbers in the master bedroom or maybe you incorporate a timber frame entry porch into your project. All of these are considered hybrid timber frames. As you can see, this term is quite broad.
So let’s look at an example of how you can support a timber frame by using a conventionally framed 2x wall. In this photo we have a timber frame truss that bears directly on a 2 x 6 wall. You’ll notice that the wall has been beefed up with these 2 x 6's to carry the loads from both the timber frame load and the roof load. It is vital that you get these details engineered to make sure that you have adequate structure under the timbers to carry the loads appropriately.
One of the biggest advantages of a hybrid timber frame is a cost savings that you can achieve while maximizing the aesthetics you get when incorporating timbers into a home. There are some parts of a home that do not necessarily need timbered elements, such as the closets or bathrooms. As the homeowner or contractor you can put your money into areas where the most amount of time is spent such as the great room, dining room and kitchen. When you start talking to your designer or architects, make sure you talk through all the options with them so you get the right amount of timber not only for your budget but to enhance your home.
Well, that is a brief overview of what a timber frame hybrid home is. The term covers a wide range of options from structural to non-structural timbers. If you have any other questions about the timber frame hybrids or want to browse through some house plans that feature hybrid frames please visit Timber Frame HQ.com for more information and resources.