One of the great advantages of post and beam and timber frame construction is the great freedom that these construction methods allow in the design of a home. We have talked several times about how timber framing allows massive choice in the interior layout of the home. The exterior of the home also can accommodate any number of finishes. While cedar shingle and wood siding may be the most popular choices in this country, finishes like stone and stucco are also common. A brick exterior is very common in homes in many regions of the country (and world), and it is a great choice for finishing a timber frame home as well. In this post, we’ll talk about where stone is a popular choice and how it can be used with timber frame construction.
Since bricks are made primarily from fired clay and sand, they are a popular building material in areas with large concentrations of clay soil. The prevalence of clay soils in the Southern states, along with early settlers’ desires for the type of brick buildings found in Europe, explains the popularity of brick buildings in the South. In earlier construction, multiple courses (called wythes) of bricks were used to build a structural wall that supported the roof. In modern construction, the brick is overwhelmingly used as a veneer while the structure is provided by the building’s framing. In most construction, the decreased cost of brick veneer construction over a structural brick wall is a major driving cost for this trend.
However, even if cost were no object, there are significant advantages to the brick veneer construction. For one, structural brick walls are much more susceptible to damage from seismic events or foundation shifting than framed construction. Also, structural brick walls do not allow for insulation to be added, and brick is a very poor insulator. The R-value of a brick is about 0.2 per inch, in contrast to values up to R-8 per inch for rigid panel insulation. The heavier weight of a structural brick wall also requires a stronger and more expensive foundation. Thankfully, a Timberpeg® home can provide you the aesthetic benefits of a brick exterior while maintaining all the advantages of a post and beam home. The structure of the home is provided by the posts and beams, so a structural brick wall is unnecessary. The structural insulated panels we use for exterior walls provide great protection from the elements with insulation values up to R-40. If brick is your exterior finish of choice, then our designers will work with you to realize your plans. Contact Timberpeg to get started on the plans for your post and beam home (with or without bricks).