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By definition, post and beam construction uses metal plates and bolts as a means to connect the structural members. The term is often confused or used interchangeably with timber framing.
Post and beam construction gives you construction method options as well as flexible style options. Your personal timber frame home style will be defined by beam size, geometric shapes, and density of exposed beam presence. Metal plates can be used as effective accessories to influence your style. Hammered plates with old-fashioned square head bolts which have been allowed to rust represent one end of the post and beam spectrum. On the other end, stainless steel plate and cables will give a modern feel.
Timber frame homes are built with mortise and tenon joints connected with wooden pegs. As the pegs are part of the charm and tribute to early human ingenuity, many people choose to have their timber frame pegs sticking proud rather than cut flush. Some people opt to call even more attention to the pegs by using a different species of wood or by staining with a contrasting color. As tension loads can be the weak link in any type of construction, it is quite common to use hidden metal connectors to increase structural capacity, yet preserve the timber frame look.
Otherwise known as hybrid timber framing, timber trusses are the poster child for effective accents. But hybrid timber framing is not limited to heavy beam trusses. Many people choose to use timbers in their entry, great room, kitchen, or outdoor living area – complete with posts, knee braces and full-blown timber design. The trick is to know where to draw the line to capture your personal style. Timber trusses come in many shapes and sizes. Timber girth, truss shapes, and frequency will help you perfect the feel you are looking for within the space of your remodel or new construction.