Post and beam construction

Post and beam construction is a method of building that has been around since ancient times. Most notably, post and beam structures are found in medieval castles all over the world.

Post and beam construction is referred to by many names timber framing, log framing, heavy-timber framing or heavy timber framing. The basic concept behind the technique allows for large pieces of wood to be temporarily joined together while maintaining appropriate tolerances throughout the process without nails or fasteners.

Basic component

The basic components of the post-and-beam technique are known as “studs” which are vertical posts embedded deep into each foundation wall or concrete slab with horizontal beams laid across their tops. This creates a tripod support system on every level below the highest point where beams intersect with the studs. The key to the strength and durability of this construction technique is that all beams are naturally supported by multiple surfaces, eliminating the possibility of collapse under varying loads.

Methods of post and beam construction

Post and beam construction is a method of framing used in houses. It consists of large posts and beams along with decking, beams and rafters. The term “post and beam” comes from the use of heavy timbers called posts that support weight as well as lighter members such as beams, joists, studs and plates that distribute the load over a larger area. This type of construction is typically used for its structural quality as it creates an open interior space suited to wide rooms without internal pillars or walls.

Early settlers introduced the concept of post and beam construction in North America although the system dates from the earliest buildings of Greece. Basically, the post and beam system is a skeletal framework of decking, beams and posts supported on a foundation. It is suitable for any location in Canada.

Variety of construction

This technique allows for a variety of different construction styles such as log cabin (log homes), Japanese (Sugi Cedar Homes) and Tudor (heavy timber frame). Similar to other building techniques, post and beam creations can range in scale from small sheds to colossal mansions.

Variation in post and beam

A variation on the post and beam system includes built-up beams typically composed of 2×6, 2×8 or larger dimensional lumber fastened through a structural girder to increase the depth of the beam. This method is common in some areas because it provides more strength while still allowing for insulation between rooms.

Post and beam construction enables cottages with high ceilings, open floor plans and large windows to take advantage of natural light. The result is a bright interior with large spaces suited to entertaining or relaxing surrounded by nature on a lakefront living space or within close proximity to spectacular views.

Fast erection

Fast erection is another feature of post and beam construction. Since there are few members and joints, the framework is simple to precut and assemble. Infill panels can be fabricated in the shop and inserted quickly into the framework. In this manner, John A Wilson (2008) states that ‘Post-and-Beam Construction’ has many advantages over other types of construction as it is easy to prefabricate components before they are installed onto a building structure.

This method makes for rapid erection as only a little cutting must be done – which also reduces Site waste since infill panels can be quickly assembled from prefabricated parts prepared offsite at a workshop. No bracing or noggins typically need to be cut to length except for the top plate. To further enable fast erection, an abundance of connections is formed by butted joints in post and beam construction rather than mortise and tenon joints that are more time consuming to prepare.

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Braced frame

This type of framework is also known as braced-frame since you have braces connecting all horizontal members together – unlike simple trusses consisting only of rafters and a ridge beam across which they are attached.

This kind of design features infill panels instead of beams already in place like traditional timber framing techniques. Since there are few members, the framework is simple to precut and assemble with no bracing or noggins needing to be cut to length except for the top plate. With little cutting needed, this reduces site waste since infill panels can be quickly assembled from prefabricated parts prepared offsite at a workshop.

Skills to make post and beam

Building a post and beam structure is often reserved for people who have the skills to do it well. Sometimes, homeowners will attempt to build their own post and beam structures with extremely poor results. The construction of a post and beam structure must be done correctly in order to withstand normal weather conditions as well as hold up under heavy loads such as snow or other forms of pressure. If improperly constructed, a post and beam structure can fall down without warning.

There are several factors that contribute to the construction of a proper post and beam structure:

  • The base upon which the poles rest must be built with solid concrete blocks or very dense material resistant to decay. This area should be at least 8 feet by 8 feet for every pole placed, and at least a foot deeper than the height of the foundation itself.
  • The poles must be cut to a length so that they extend 1,000mm beyond the foundation or footing for every one meter of wall height. When being cut, the ends should have a dull point so that it does not splinter when set into position. Additionally, there should be no branch stubs protruding from the end of the pole; this is important because any branch stubs can allow insects to infiltrate your structure.
  • Poles should fit together like puzzle pieces with no space in between each piece. If there are spaces between them, then they cannot properly support any weight put on top of them. This is especially important when it comes to roofs.
  • There should be no trees near where your post and beam structure will be built. If there are trees near your structure, then they can pose a major issue to the structural integrity of it. When the wind blows, the surrounding trees can cause added pressure on your already precarious structure. This could be enough to send it toppling down.


Once you have all of these factors in place, you are ready to begin construction. Poles should be placed about 1/2 inch into the concrete foundation or footing with wood glue to hold them securely in place while the glue dries. Make sure that you space them equally apart so that they do not buckle under pressure from above. Be careful when setting poles because if they are being pushed too hard, they will snap instead of bending which will cause major issues for your structure’s.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is post and beam construction famous?

Yes, post and beam construction is famous. Most of people like this idea and follow this.