Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Timber Frame Additions

by Gaius Hennin

In today’s uncertain economy, many people are opting to stay in their current home and add on to it, rather than building new. This option makes sense; the site expenses (driveway, septic, well, electrical service) associated with new construction can largely be avoided, effectively lowering the cost per square foot of construction significantly. In addition, the expense and disruption of moving can be avoided.

Disruption, though, tends to go hand in hand with additions. Adding to an existing building can mean that dust, dirt, moisture, trucks, building materials and unknown people are introduced to your life and home daily for a long period of time.

We have had great success attaching timber frame additions to existing, lived-in homes with minimal disruption to the lives of our clients. One reason for this is that the connection of the timber frame to the existing structure is simple and non-load bearing, whether stick built or timber framed. This allows us to leave the existing building closed, in many cases until the addition is nearly complete. If the existing building is one of our frames, joining the two buildings can be done at the end of construction, simply by cutting the stress-skin panels of the original structure; no elaborate engineering of headers is necessary.

Because the bulk of the work in creating the timber frame can be accomplished at our shop (instead of at the home being added to), the length of time that construction has a presence at the residence (trucks and materials parked in the driveway) is minimal. Also, the excess noise, mess and disruption associated with construction is minimal. The timber frame and structural panel enclosure arrive at the site pre-cut, so there is almost no waste generated. Typical time of construction for our super-insulated shell is 5 days. We start on Monday and by Friday the shell is enclosed and dry. At this point, the interior work can be started.

These photos feature several additions designed to blend in with the existing home. One of the dangers of an addition is that it looks like an addition. Let us help you design a new space to add to your home that fits your needs, your budget and your home!