Post & Beam Splitting

Have only done a few post and beam inspections. This morning’s had cracks or splits in many members from drying out. Some where approximately 3/8 to 1/2 inch wide and go through 1/2 the width of the timber. Is this excessive? Is there anything else I should be looking for?


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Looks like those cracks were there from day one.

I think those can be considered part of the design spec.
Just like 2x4 walls are designed to have x amount of holes drilled without affecting the purpose.

I agree with Bruce, normal cracks.

Wood is drying, nothing can be done except fill and re-stain

Bolts are commonly used to limit the size and effects of the cracking, which would probably be part of the design requirements in the seismic zone that I call home.

Thanks for the replies, I got a hold of a local timber framer this morning and that was his response, that the checking, as he called it, was normal when the timbers used had the heart of the tree at or near the center of the timber.:slight_smile: </IMG>

Checking is the correct term, and checking is characteristic of Douglas Fir. It is a sinewy wood, and that’s what gives it its strength over most other woods. I love to see post and beam construction with large checks in it. On the name subject, you’ll often see Doug fir headers that came out of the center of the tree twist around their own centers. Nothing will stop them. I saw one lift several stories as it turned.

Agree with above. Generally checking does not affect the strength of the timber frame structure. You will find the same thing in log homes.

Checking is very common in post and beam construction. The material is going through it’s normal routine and you have to live with it. In my mind it adds to the character of the building.

Is there a maximum size for checking? I had some checking that was around an inch today. It just looked larger than what I have seen in the past but I have only done a handful of post and beam inspections.