Post and Beam Homes

Sue | January 12th, 2010 - 9:47 am

Post and Beam

Post and Beam Construction is the art of using round logs to provide only the superstructure of the home. Post and Beam homes and structures are made from the handcrafted logs. Sometimes it is confused with the term “Timber Framing”. The main difference is that when the word “log” is used, it means that the logs are round. When the term “timber” is used, it means that the logs – or timbers- are square in profile. We can supply either a Post and Beam or Timber Frame home. Post and Beam construction allows for those home owners who desire the advantages of the clear span open construction and the naturalness of wood, but do not want solid log homes.

Post and Beam Joinery

What makes our Post & Beam homes handcrafted? Because every log is hand peeled. Then it is cut and fitted by hand into the superstructure of the home. Lifted by cranes, each of the logs is cradled by a sling to prevent scarring and marking to the logs. There are no machine cuts at all in our handcrafted homes. Another flair to the handcrafted homes is the ability to allow the bottom of the logs to be wider for accent. Usually Western Red Cedar is used when very wide based character posts are desired.

western red cedar flared log

The best post and beam joinery utilizes mortise and tenon. The tenon extends out and then is mortised into the receiving joint.  Below is a picture detailing the mortise and tenon. Most of the handcrafted logs have a mean diameter of 13 to 14″ inches at midpoint and 12″-18″ at ends. Log lengths can reach up to 50 feet. Wider diameter logs can be supplied when required structurally or if requested by the owners.

mortise and tenon log joinery

Post and Beam Construction

The two log species used for round post and beam are Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar. Douglas Fir is lovely in color and had the log strength needed for the type of construction. Western Red Cedar is the very top of the line for homes. Though more expensive, it pays for itself many times over. This unique type of home is sought after across the world. Only available to be harvested in the Pacific Northwest of North America, this tree is referred to as the “tree of life”. It remains sound for over 100 years. The natural oils in it repel insects and decay. When shipping handcrafted log homes over seas many European countries only allow Western Red Cedar to be imported. This is due to the natural cedar oils preventing insects from being imported with the logs. Other types of wood can be shipped internationally, but they must first be heat treated (available for manufactured log homes only.) Also Western Red Cedar has the very best thermal insulation properties of any of the commonly used soft woods.

Post and Beam Kits

Our Post and Beam Home packages can come either with logs only or a full dry in package. The superstructure of the home is of course the round post and beams. Then framing lumber and sheathing  or SIP panels are used between the posts. And finally the exterior doors, windows, and roofing is installed. Another note on SIP panels is the home can either be wrapped in the SIPs, keeping all of the logs on the interior, or they can be used between the post and beam work.

balcony on beam and post home

Modern Post and Beam Construction

When electing to build a post frame home more options are available for finishing the interior and exterior of the home. There are many different ways to finish the homes on the outside. The logs of course show on both the outside and inside of the structure. Then the exterior is most commonly completed with either stucco, wood siding, Western Red Cedar, cedar shakes, handcrafted log siding, or a combination. Above we see a Douglas Fir Post and Beam home with cedar shakes exterior finish.

Just like the exterior, the homeowner can choose any of several products to finish the interior walls. I have seen 1×6 Pine tongue and groove or Cedar. This lends a warm wood feel throughout the home. Other options would include drywall, plaster, etc.

Post and Beam Plans

Any of our home plans, featured here on our website with the floor plans menu above, can be done in any of the four types of home we offer- Post and Beam, Timber Frame, Handcrafted Log Homes, and Manufactured Log Homes. As you look through our repertoire you will see some homes done in each of the varieties. We also offer commercial log structures in Post and Beam. Please contact us for more details.

Cowboy Log Homes



Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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