Outdoor Timber Frame Structures

Outdoor structures are one of the great uses of timber frame building. We recently completed a timber frame gazebo that will be used by a family for an outdoor dinning room.

The gazebo was 16 x 20 made from local white pine timber varying in sizes from 3x4 to 7x7. We curved the tie beam to lighten the structure and present a natural feeling. We created the curve by drawing the curve on Auto Cad and printing the shape full size. We then cut the curve out of the paper print out and traced the shape on an oversized timber. We used a router, chain saw, and sanders to cut the curve; we used two 7” x 14” timbers to create the curved tie.

The landscape contractor poured concrete footings to support the structure, and the client supplied metal anchors to anchor the timber frame to the ground. There was a neoprene membrane placed between the concrete pier and wood post to prevent any water transfer from the concrete to the post. Once we completed the raise, the landscapers returned and finished the interlock and landscaping. The roof will be finished with cedar shingles and the timbers will be treated with an outdoor stain.

One of the biggest concerns with any outdoor structure is preventing wood deterioration from water. With wood, it is important to keep a good roof on the building and to ensure any wood areas that are going to be exposed to water are allowed to drain and dry. Wood shingles are a common example of how long wood can last outside, as long as the shingles are able to dry out after a rain they will last a long time.

The post bottoms are an area to pay particular attention to. The post bottoms are especially susceptible because they are the end grain of wood, which will wick or pull water from any contacting surfaces, they are often close to the ground and there is the potential to trap water where the post connects to the footings. A barrier, like neoprene, that prevents the end grain from wicking water is often used, and small metal spacers are often placed between the post bottom and the anchor to allow water to drain and the post bottom to dry.

We enjoyed building this attractive structure and look forward to more outdoor timber frames in the future. For more information on Gibson Timber Frames please visit www.gibsontimberframes.com or call Al Pixley at 539-2711

Timothy Andrews