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Author Topic: To girt or not to girt that is the question.  (Read 1545 times)

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Offline bandit403

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To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« on: June 22, 2013, 09:46:39 AM »
One day I hope to make my own timber frame house from cutting the trees to putting in the last piece of trim. I see some plans that use girts and some do not. So, do you really need them?

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 10:55:55 AM »
Depends, on the frame design.

Girts are horizontal timbers that got between posts. Some frames need them for holding up flooring that will go out to the outside wall.
Some frames need them to make sure the post won't bow under the load from the roof.

There is no, yes or no answer to that one.....

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Offline bandit403

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Re: To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 02:28:25 PM »
Thanks Jim

Offline shinnlinger

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Re: To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 05:20:08 PM »
I always try to tie my frame together in at least one direction.  If I have continuos eve plates maybe I will forgo a girts but if I can't be continuous length wise I will usually go width wise with a girt.

My current house Is one where I sawed every stick you can see from the frame to the trim to the siding to the floor from windblown salvage knocked down within 1000 yards of the house.  Sounds great but after 7 years the house is still far from done.
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Offline Thehardway

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Re: To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2013, 03:53:31 PM »
Girts vs. no girts.  In the old historic tradition of timber framing, walls were made using continuous sill and top plates. These served numerous purposes not the least of which was providing an uninterrupted horizontal tying member and less critical joinery which made for a stronger frame with less movement.   This method required access to long, straight timbers of fairly large size.  These frames were usually built from trees on site or found nearby.  As deforestation occurred in Europe shorter timbers and alternative methods began to develop.  These large, long timbers were less available, more expensive and hard to transport over distances with carts and wagons so even though they were preferred, they lost out to other styles of framing by neccessity of cost and availability.

At the same time colonization was beginning to occur in North America and an abundance of long, straight, virgin timber was available for use.  Early examples of North American timberframing often used this to advantage.  Frames have been found with continuous sills  and plates well over 40' in length.

As powered saw mills became more popular, sawn lumber became the standard for home building.  It was cheaper, easier to handle and mass produce and faster to build with it. Full timberframe structures fell out of popularity even though they were superior structurally.

In more recent years a timberframing revival popularized by Tedd Benson made use of Bent style framing.  Bents, as they are called, are like ribs which form the skeletal shape and structure of a modern style timberframe and are connected and tied together horizontally by the use of girts.  Bents can be cut in a factory or shop off site and easily transported and assembled at the construction site and then raised in modular fashion.  It lends itself much better to factory built timberframes than the old traditional site built sill and plate style.


Both have their place in today's Timberframes.  Bents/girts offer more flexibility and variety in style. Traditional is more rigid and authentic and  is inherently stronger.  You can start a lot of controversy in some circles by asking which is better.

BTW, there are two types of girts, "wall girts" (from one bent to another bent) and "bent girts" from post to post within a bent.  Don't know if this is helpful in answering your question but it should give you a good perspective on the how when and why bents are used.
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Offline nk14zp

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Re: To girt or not to girt that is the question.
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2013, 08:01:32 PM »
I'm glad to be on a forum that knows what a girt is and not call everything that goes side ways a perling(sp)!
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