Timber Framers Guild

Exposed beam ends

Posted By: Anonymous

Exposed beam ends - 12/27/01 08:26 PM

I'm thinking about buying a 17 y/o timber frame home here in NJ. This would be my first such home, and I clearly have a lot to learn. I do have an immediate question that bears on my willingness to go forward with this purchase.

A number of the structural members extend beyond the building envelope, and are directly exposed to the weather. This includes roof rafters which go beyond the eaves, the major support beams under the rafters which go past the gable end drip line and the second level floor beams which support a deck which runs the length of one side of the house.

The home inspector I hired to check the home did say that the structure appears to be in good condition, though he based that only on what he could see without taking down siding or sheetrock.

Two contractors I called in for estimates for inspection issues (the roof and the deck) suggested severing these beams to protect the structure. They and a few folks on other on-line forums have said they think this kind of construction was and is a bad idea.

So, I am worried! Is this a sound design? Would it be likely to cause problems in time? What can I do to preserve the structure without compromising the architectural details? Should I look for another house?


Posted By: Kurt Westerlund

Re: Exposed beam ends - 12/31/01 05:28 PM

Our local codes require us to protect any non-exterior grade lumber, including extended rafters, purlins, plates etc.

We often custom make copper caps for exposed beam ends. A pretty simple fix for you if there is no real rot or damage yet.

If the penetrations were designed and executed nicely, I would not let the exposed beam ends alone reject a timber frame house from your "short-list"

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