Vermont Custom Builders of Barns & Homes


Homeowners enjoy the appearance of the post-and-beam outbuildings we erect. The process is a simplified and less expensive version of our timber framing and lends itself well to our New England style barns. Similar to timber framing, post-and-beam construction uses large hemlock beams and lap joints. Comparable also to stick-built is that we hammer nails to connect the members but the spikes used for post and beam actually measure up to a foot long and are pounded in with sledge hammers. Read through the descriptions below for more information or See Specs.
Post and Beam Construction
1. Site Preparation
Prior to starting any project much thought goes into sitework issues, i.e: driveway, underground power, well, septic and structure placement. This site required blasting to prepare for the foundation because ledge was present. See Rock
Post and Beam Construction
2. Beams
The rough beams are sawn from local mills and arrive by flatbed to the job site. A second pass on the opposite side of the beam is necessary due to the full 8" diameter of the timbers despite using an oversized 16" circular saw.
Post and Beam Construction
3. Foundation
Four-foot concrete frostwalls on footings are poured followed by installation of floor drains, perimeter drains and tubes for upright supports, if required. The material inside is fully compacted in advance of the poured floor. Pressure-treated sill plates on sill seal is squared, nailed and bolted into place.
Post and Beam Construction
4. Uprights
The posts are placed and braced around the exterior, and due to the 28' width, a carrier down the center will be supported by additional uprights. A steel beam is sometimes used to avoid the center uprights. For aesthetics the steel beam can then be boxed in and rough pine boards nailed on to hide the beam.
Post and Beam Construction
5. Top Plate
8"x 8" timbers are notched and placed atop the uprights. They are hefted into position and fastened together. If a knee wall is desired, we would recommend timber frame construction. In a lower profile building the top plates serve as a header for the garage doors, but due to the 12' tall side wall height shown here, additional framing was needed. Garage Door Framing.
Post and Beam Construction
6. Floor System
Our customary floor joists for Vermont Barns are 2' x 10' rough hemlock. Using rough-cut lumber has the benefit of using the full dimension of each piece, i.e. a 2"x 4" remains a 2"x 4" offering more mass and strength as compared to a 1˝" x 3˝'' kiln-dried piece of lumber. Customers have the option of upgrading to a deluxe floor system that includes 4' x 8' joists and pine boards as decking. Our standard sheathing is AdvanTech® - a high-performance structural panel which provides more water resistance and stability than plywood. Standard Joists
Post and Beam Construction
7. Finished Spaces
With plans of using the rear section of the barn as living space, 2' x 4' framing was installed horizontally to serve as nailers for the siding and accommodate 2' fiberglass insulation. The next photo shows the beefier 4' x 4' nailers generally used. Gluing 2" rigid foam to the foundation before backfilling would be another element needed if the space is to be heated for living.
Post and Beam Construction
8 Nailers/Windows
Besides functioning as nailers, 4' x 4' beams are used for window and door framing as well as 45-degree braces. True divided lite wood windows are used and outfitted with energy panels if area is be heated. We customize the window trim with wood to match the siding or use 5/4" flat casing depending on the situation.
Window Close Up
Post and Beam Construction
9. Siding
Our premium shiplap pine is nailed on in neat rows. The outer face has the look of flush rough boards while the reverse side has a concealed overlap to prevent weather elements from entering the building once the sun has shrunk the boards. Other siding options are available, but this premium shiplap pine is by far the most popular, often arriving with one or two coats of prestain applied.
Post and Beam Construction
10. Gable Ends/Garage Doors
Framed, sided and trimmed, this gable end awaits installation of the rough texture insulated garage doors. Many clients prefer the taller 8' doors compared to the standard of 7' tall. On many of our Vermont Barn style Car Barns we hand build a slider for either the third door on the eave side and occasionally for the main doors. Slider
Post and Beam Construction
11. Cupola
The cupola base is built in the center of the ridge. It is flashed and sided before the screened louvers and a molded copper roof is set. Standard roofing choices are colored metal single rib or architectural shingles. Upgrades of standing seam or cedar are offered as well. Copper Roof
Post and Beam Construction
12. Finishing
Finishing touches consist of a coat of stain, screens installed, lanterns hung and weathervanes mounted. Because this barn had living space additional work was completed inside. Barn Light  •  107 Quiet Acres Road  •  Manchester VT 05255  •  802-367-3021     Follow us on Facebook

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