Timbers & Finishes

Timbers, Finishes, Embellishments and Closing in:

The exterior cladding of a home with a Timberworks exposed Post and Beam frame or architectural truss can be as conventional as its neighbour’s.  However open the door and the visible elegance of the timber and joinery is apparent.  Inside, dramatic cathedral ceilings display the natural warmth and beauty of the timber beams and allow for light and airy open plan areas with large window openings.  Living areas are brought to life by the majesty of the timbers, evidence that a Timberworks house is no ordinary home. The specific timbers & finishes used can have a significant impact on the feel of the structure.


Timberworks has used a range of NZ grown timbers but predominantly uses Macrocarpa due to its wonderful depth of grain, colour and its minimal movement and shrinkage over time. Timberworks has experience in use of the following timbers;

  • Macrocarpa
  • Douglas Fir (Old growth)
  • Lawson Cypress
  • Pinus Radiata (Old growth)
  • Rimu
  • Larch
  • Imported Douglas Fir (Kiln dried old growth timber that is sustainably grown)

There are other timbers both native and exotic that can be used depending on a client’s requirements and timber availability. We have a good working relationship with the sawmills we use and insist on the best quality heartwood timbers available. The NZ grown large timbers are generally air dried for as long as possible prior to manufacture and a minimum seasoning time of 8 to 12 weeks is allowed for, especially with larger jobs.  This minimises the degree of movement and cracking that will occur in the timbers once installed.  ‘Shakes’ and ‘checking’ (cracks in the wood) will appear naturally as the timbers dry further once in a fully weatherproof home but this is allowed for in the engineering calculations and will not normally affect the structural integrity of the building. The surface cracking adds to the character and appeal of the natural materials used.

For more information on the timber species visit the NZ wood website at www.nzwood.co.nz

Closing in:

Timberworks post and beam frames or trusses are typically closed in using conventional stud framing as per the NZ building code NZS 3604:  We encourage clients and designers to leave the Timberworks timbers fully exposed on the inside of the ceiling and wall linings and have developed some simple details to facilitate this.  Adobe and strawbale enclosure systems also beautifully compliment a Timberworks structure.


The timbers can be finished in many different ways. They can be left bandsawn with a light sand for a more rustic finish (left-hand photo) or planed and sanded for a smoother, furniture like finish (photo to right). An oil based stain can also be applied if required. The timbers leave the workshop with a coat of wood sealer which gives them 8 to 12 weeks of moisture protection while the timbers are closed in.  Once weather-tight and when the ceiling and wall linings have been painted, the exposed timbers can be cleaned sanded and have their final coats of an oil based product of applied if required.  We recommend an oil based product to allow the timbers to breath as they continue to dry out.


The edges of the timbers can be finished in a number of ways from a simple arice to complicated chamfers.  These can be discussed with Timberworks during the design phase.  The ends of exposed timbers can also be finished to great effect.  Clients can choose from carved pendants to sculpted pergola or rafters ends.  Again these options are addressed at the design phase of the project.