The Case for Air-Dried Tim­bers

Timber Home Living - - The Welcome Home Series -

AC­CORD­ING TO JEFF BOWES OF CANA­DIAN TIMBERFRAMES, opt­ing for air-dried tim­bers could save a “huge amount of en­ergy” — and that’s not all. “Kiln dry­ing typ­i­cally adds about 10 to 15 per­cent to the cost of the frame,” he says. “You’re cooking the tim­bers very ag­gres­sively and it costs money to power those kilns. You’re also adding an­other place where the tim­bers need to be shipped, which adds time to your project. Plus, kiln dry­ing can cause tim­bers to twist and check more than they would nat­u­rally, which won’t af­fect the struc­tural in­tegrity of your home, but could ren­der some wood un­us­able. In fact, if we know we’re go­ing to use 25,000 feet of timber for a home, we’ll typ­i­cally need 27,000 feet be­cause we know a lot of it won’t make it through the dry­ing process.”

If your sched­ule al­lows or you can plan well enough in ad­vance, ask your timber com­pany about the pos­si­bil­ity of air dry­ing your tim­bers. An­other pop­u­lar choice are green tim­bers, which are eco­nom­i­cal and easy to craft due to their high mois­ture con­tent. Re­mem­ber, though, that the down­side to green wood is that what you see at the on­set isn’t nec­es­sar­ily what you get in the end, since th­ese tim­bers still have a lot of dry­ing to do. Make sure to explore all your op­tions be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion.

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