Timber Frame Commercial Building

Did you know?

Using wood to frame a structure instead of steel or concrete has been shown to decrease energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, solid waste, and negative ecological impacts. This means that when you build with wood, you contribute to the environment in a positive way while also achieving a structure of profound durability.


To get the details, visit this study published by the Canadian Wood Council.

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Timber Framed Commercial Structures


Timber frame buildings offer a host of benefits that empower commercial construction in durability, design flexibility, and environmental friendliness. In addition to these practical benefits, a timber frame is an eye-catching conversation piece that will play a memorable part of your business in the years to come.

This page provides a look at the attributes of timber framing that make it ideally suited for commercial building projects. For more information on other benefits of timber framing, learn more by visiting the Benefits of Timber Framing page.

Visual Appeal of Wood

Squamish Adventure CenterCommercial projects can benefit from presenting the world with a beautiful interior and exterior, and timber frame can make that happen through the warmth and attractiveness of exposed wood. Other typical commercial building materials, such as concrete and steel, must be hidden behind more appealing drywall and finishes. Timber, on the other hand, is often selected because it remains visible to the eye and provides a unique warm atmosphere.

No matter your design style, timber can be customized to meet your needs. Different species of wood are available, and each can be finished in unique ways to convey the right tone for your business. From polished and oiled to rustic and rough, timber provides a building with inherent charm and character.

Designing for Uniqueness – It’s All Possible

Church ExteriorTimber can be designed into nearly any project, making it as modern and flexible as steel or concrete.  Solid sawn timber can create a more traditional appearance while lamination technologies are taking timber design to new levels of flexibility. Glue laminated timbers, for example, can be made to curve and create organic forms. And while glulams are not as plastic a form as concrete, their costs are favorable and their warmth is unmatched by concrete or steel.  Many timber frame building projects now integrate solid sawn and glulam timber in the same project to achieve remarkable designs while still maintaining the beautiful wood finish.

In the design phase of a timber frame project, designers use 3D modeling programs to allow parties to preview the frame’s appearance and structure. Engineers are closely consulted throughout the process to determine the required sizes of the timber components and details of the connections.

Once the design is established, the timber for the project is carefully selected. Kiln dried wood is now available to ensure that wood is essentially dry before being used to build. Drying wood before building ensures that the wood does not check or shrink throughout the lifetime of the structure, creating the same consistent appearance at installation that you will see years down the road.

After selecting the wood, the joinery for the project is meticulously cut by CNC machines or by the hand of a skilled craftsman. Most timber framers work to tolerances of +/- 1/16" or less whether the timber is cut by hand or machine, which means that accuracy in implementation is of the utmost importance.

This design capability and intense drive to achieve technical accuracy gives you the opportunity to use beautiful wood to achieve the commercial structure you’ve dreamed about.

The Strength You Need

Blackfriars ChurchTimber frame structures, built with strong mortise and tenon joints, are capable of withstanding extreme amounts of pressure and have innate fire resistance. These basic design qualities can help you to achieve a commercial structure of intense strength and durability. If you are looking for a large or very unique structure, the frame can be reinforced with steel in a number of ways to further enhance reliability. In this way, you can even achieve a structurally sound multi-story building using a wood frame.

Steel connectors that bolster the frame can be customized to meet your design needs. To achieve a more traditional look, steel reinforcements can be hidden inside the timber joints. To achieve additional strength with a unique aesthetic appearance, the steel connectors can be left visible. Steel connectors you might see include metal straps, tension rods, and gusset plates, which can contribute to strength and create an impressive appearance.
To learn more about some of the innate strengths of building with timber frame, see our Durability page.

Think Green

If you are striving to create a green structure, a timber frame can deliver both sustainable materials and energy efficiency.

School InteriorIn terms of sustainability, responsible forestry has made wood a renewable resource, unlike steel and concrete building materials. Reclaimed or recycled timber is also available to you since wood is a long-lasting building material. In addition to the wood itself, studies continue to show that the emissions and waste created as a result of a timber structure are less than those used to build a steel- or concrete-based structure.

Energy efficiency is also possible to achieve with a timber frame, allowing you to reduce the operating costs for the structure through a strong design. One-third of the energy consumed in North America is used to heat, cool, ventilate, light and operate the appliances in buildings. One way to reduce the amount of energy consumed is to ensure that a structure has a strong enclosure system that appropriately insulates the space. A timber frame combined with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) can help you to achieve outstanding levels of insulation. In addition to their ease to install, SIPs create highly energy efficient spaces because of their high R values and their naturally low air infiltration rates. Timber frames and SIPs are a perfect match and can make your building more cost effective to operate during the lifetime of your structure.

To learn more about the green attributes of building with a timber frame, visit our Energy Efficiency page.

Connect with a Pro Builder

If you have questions about how timber framed structure could work for your business, we invite you to connect with timber frame professionals.

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