What is the Difference Between Timber Frames and Log Cabins?

Many of the cabins that are built today are hybrids – a combination of log and timber. There are several types of log homes. Log cabins can be built from vintage (antique logs) or newly milled logs. Vintage log cabins offer years of drying and natural character that can’t be replicated in a new log home. A new log home offers the ability to produce logs of long lengths and are easily attainable unlike old logs or cabins.

The cabins, which have the chinking between the logs, are like the Appalachian style cabins that were built over a hundred years ago. These log cabins have a unique character not found in other log construction styles. Their dovetailed corners, wide faced logs and exposed rafters give them an unmistakable look.

On our old cabins that we reconstruct, we use a special blended chinking that will give years of dependable service with proper maintenance. However, on our replicated cabins with new logs, like those produced by Hearthstone log homes, we use Perma-Chink brand products that give a historic look with little maintenance. The chinking allows for the logs to naturally expand and contract from season to season. For convenience, we use the space between the logs to run electrical wiring. One great thing about the chink joint is it allows for a much better job of sealing out moisture and air with expandable foam and insulation.

We also offer round on round, D-log, Swedish cope log, and natural handcrafted log construction. These types of log systems all have their own unique qualities and benefits. These log cabins may be better suited for your building tastes, budget, environment, or possibly an addition on your existing structure.

Timber frames provide wide open space with breathtaking beam work by using a combination of authentic peg joinery and powerful structural steel hardware. This joinery and/or hardware can be used to create added interest in the beam work and the overall project and can make a statement all by itself.

Timber frames are very energy efficient when covered with structural insulated panels. If cost is a major concern, then timber frames can be combined with stick framing and conventionally insulated. Timber frames are not limited to straight lines. You can have massive vaulted ceilings with curved beams either sawn or laminated. The timber species isn’t limited by any means to pine or oak; however, these are the two most common materials used in most timber frames. Burk Construction has used reclaimed timbers that were resawn and planned. We have used vintage antique hand hewn timbers to build unique timber frames. One of our favorite materials to work with is “standing dead” Douglas Fir. This material is extremely stable and naturally dried in the forest to less than 20% moisture level.

One of our specialties is “non load bearing architectual beam work” that transforms your project into a
work of art. These beams could simply run across the ceiling, or they could be a complicated system of trusses and bracework. These architectural beams can be installed in a conventionally built home to add dimension and style.

We have outlets and suppliers all over the country for every species imaginable. So whether you are looking for a pure white oak frame, a vintage heart pine mantle, a set of American chestnut beams to build trusses in your library, a Western Cedar pergola for outdoor living space, or “pickled” white pine architectural beams for your kitchen ceiling, Burk Construction can find the material you are looking for!