Community-based environmental, social and economic values drive our commitment to sustainable building. This commitment is backed by professional designers, engineers and craftsmen who share our passion. Our buildings reflect these values and the lifestyles of our clients.
Zirnhelt Timber Frames designs, engineers, and builds sustainable hand-crafted timber frame homes, cottages, and commercial buildings.
Zirnhelt Timber Frames hand crafts every building using traditional mortise and tenon joints and secured with hand-made oak dowels. In most cases, this method limits the need for metal plates and fasteners. Using routers and other hand tools, we detail our posts and beams to make them both functional and aesthetically-pleasing. Each building we create with our clients is unique and represents a long-lasting expression of the client’s vision and values.
What is the hand-crafted difference of Timber frame homes?
- We select each log, mill every timber and cut each joint based on it's ultimate location in your building.
- Unique features are identified and placed where they can be enjoyed for generations.
- Investment in skilled tradespeople sustains meaningful employment.
- Our shop uses appropriate technology to minimize the carbon footprint of our buildings while remaining competitive with larger capital-intensive machine-cut operations.
- The creative energy and unique skills of a dedicated team will be reflected in your new home.
In addition to traditional timber frames designed for conventional 2x6 frame walls (infill or outfill) or structural insulated panels (SIPS) we offer several unique solid wood wall systems. With solid wood walls our frames are visible from both the inside and outside (similar to post and beam). Locally-grown Douglas-fir is generally used for the posts and beams and lodgepole pine for the infill timbers (this contrast accentuates the timber structure). The timber infill system is a variation of the log infill system originally developed in Northern Europe and brought to North America by the French.
The infill timbers are generally cut from trees killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle which has spread through out much of northern and central British Columbia. Using salvaged Mountain Pine Beetle wood to make the walls is one way we maximize the use of local, natural materials, while reducing the use of processed, and sometimes environmentally unfriendly materials. We also use standing dead Douglas-fir trees killed by the Douglas-fir beetle. While many of these logs are less suited to their common use as 'peelers' for making plywood, the natural drying and curing process is excellent for timber framing and eliminates the need for expensive (and energy intensive) kiln drying processes.
Our timber frame structures also have elements of traditional Swiss and German style, including large roof overhangs, which is one of the best ways to make a sustainable building that lasts for centuries. In many cases, we also draw on elements of British and North American timber framing traditions. Given the feedback from our customers, we are confident in the strength, beauty, and sustainability of our building style.
We don't just build and set up frames or shells. Meeting our sustainable building goals requires integration of many building components into a whole-house system. We offer complete construction services and specialize in working closely with our customers throughout the design and construction processes. This provides an opportunity for you to learn about your home, contribute in a meaningful way and save money doing it. Going beyond frames to all other aspects of finishing from roofing and heating to stains, flooring and custom kitchens allows Zirnhelt Timber Frames to apply our knowledge of environmentally-friendly building products (e.g. insulation, lighting, doors & windows, paints and stains) and alternative energy systems (e.g. solar systems). Particularly when your site is more than a few hours from ours it may be more cost-effective to hire a local contractor who will likely put in the foundation before we arrive and carry on with the finishing when we leave. A bit of overlap with our crew and theirs gives us the opportunity to share ideas and pass on a few tricks to help with finishing your Zirnhelt Timber Frame.
Thank you for your interest in our company. We hope you enjoy browsing our building plan portfolio and photo galleries and exploring our Sustainable Building Resource Centre. We look forward to hearing from you.