Timber Frame Pavilions & Pergolas

Looking for a way to make your outdoor space into a luxurious and rustic oasis? 

Why Do Timbers Split & Crack?Artical by Eric Morley

What causes wood to crack?

Splits and cracks, known as wood checks , occur when wood shrinks as it dries. Wood shrinks roughly twice as much along with the growth rings as it does across the rings. It is this uneven shrinkage that causes checks to develop.

Is wood checking bad?

Here at Lifetime Outdoor Arrangements, we think of them as wrinkles in a cotton shirt. It proves the timbers are real! Checks are what make a solid timber look different from a boxed beam. Look at the close up photo of this timber frame post. It is the check that gives this timber post so much of its character and a big part of what makes it completely unique and different from any other post in the world.

Ever heard the “Song of the Wood”?

Have you ever taken a hot loaf of artisan bread out of the oven, and put your ear to it? If you do, you’ll hear the song of the bread. Pops and crackles as the crust dries, shrinks and cracks.

Walk into our lumber shed on a hot summer day after the generator has shut off and everyone has gone home for the day. Listen carefully, and you will hear the “Song of the Wood”. A symphony of cracks and pops as the wood checking occurs.

After your timber frame is installed, and you hear a loud crack like a gunshot. Don’t worry. It is just your timbers singing to you!

How long does it take a timber to dry?

It’s not exactly a fast process. It depends on the humidity of the environment in which the timber is located, but one rule of thumb is that timber air dries about one inch per year. Thus a 12×12 timber would take about six years to dry to the center.

How dry will the timber become?

A timber will eventually air dry to the Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of its environment. The EMC is the point at which wood is neither losing nor absorbing water. A timber’s moisture content is determined by the atmospheric humidity of the timber’s environment.

That environment varies, of course. Is the timber located inside, or outside? What part of the country is it located in? What time of the year is it?

How wet (or dry) are my timbers?

Since we can’t see the water in the wood, moisture meters are used to measure moisture content. Inexpensive moisture meters measure the surface moisture content which works ok for 3/4″ boards, but not 8″ thick timbers. Professional moisture meters use electromagnetic scanning to read the moisture in the wood, not on the surface of the beam.

What is the average moisture content in the U.S.?

The majority of the U.S. has an 8% average moisture content, the Southeast and California coastal areas have an 11% average moisture content, and the Southweat desert areas are closer to 6%.

What is the average moisture content in the U.S.?

It is impractical (it takes years) to air dry timber, and we humans are an impatient species, so for the last two thousand years, people have been building timber frames from green (wet) timber. Yes, green timber will shrink, check, and sometimes twist as it dries, but timber framers and engineers understand and account for the movement. Checks begin on the exterior surface of the timber and almost always stop at the heart (center) of the timber, and are almost never a structural concern.

By the way, if a crack were to develop all the way through a timber (splitting it into two separate pieces), it would be called a split and might be cause for concern.

How much does Green (Wet) timber shrink as it dries?

Shrinkage depends on the species, but more than you may think!

Since many timber frames are built from Douglas Fir, let’s start by looking at a 12×12 Douglas Fir (Coastal) timber. This particular green (wet) Douglas Fir timber, dried to a final moisture content of 8%, would be expected to shrink a little less than 9/16” on each face from 12” x 12” to a final size of 11-7/16” x 11-7/16”.

Western Red Cedar shrinks less:  The same size timber in Western Red Cedar timber would shrink a bit less about 5/16” to 11-11/16” x 11-11/16”. Finally, how about a species with a high shrinkage rate, like White Oak? It would be expected to shrink a bit less than 3/4” to slightly larger than 11-1/4” x 11-1/4”.


Our Timber Frame Pavilions and Pergolas are the perfect solution! Made out of hemlock timbers that are sourced locally in Pennsylvania, they come in beautiful designs that are simply lovable. Plus, they’re fully customizable to any space!


Imagine spending lazy afternoons reading a book in your very own backyard pavilion. With our timber frames, you can make this dream a reality! Our pavilions are built stronger and create a luxurious and rustic shaded environment for people who want to relish in their backyards.

Only the best, it’s our commitment to quality.

We are a small, family-owned and operated business that started in the spring of 2017 with four employees and dreams for the future. Four short years later, we employ three crews and full time office staff in order to complete your jobs as efficiently and as accurately to your visions as possible! 

We handle the whole process from start to finish. From the first mark on our 3D Mockup to the final peg.

Our handcrafted Pavilions & Pergolas will transform your backyard into a cozy retreat from the sun. We will customize our kits to fit your space no matter the size.

Standard Timber Frame Pavilion Pricing

Our standard pavilions line starts at the 12’x12′ and goes up to the 18’x22′. Our pavilions are made with hand-picked, rough-cut, solid hemlock timbers sourced locally in Pennsylvania. We source as many elements locally from our beautiful state of Pennsylvania as possible; even the wood stains we use are locally made in Pennsylvania.

12×16 Hemlock Pavilion

Starting At/Upgrades Available


Pavilion Installation Fee $1,675
Stain $1,174
Standing Seam Metal Roof $2,934
Gutter $720.80
Prep for Wiring $2,800

14×18 Hemlock Pavilion

Starting At/Upgrades Available


Pavilion Installation Fee $2,067
Stain $1,501.28
Standing Seam Metal Roof $4,002.22
Gutter $1,115.80
Prep for Wiring $2,800

16×16 Hemlock Pavilion

Starting At/Upgrades Available


Pavilion Installation Fee $2,067
Stain $1,501.28
Standing Seam Metal Roof $4,002.22
Gutter $1,115.80
Prep for Wiring $2,800

18×22 Hemlock Pavilion

Starting At/Upgrades Available


Pavilion Installation Fee $2,756
Stain $2,143.64
Standing Seam Metal Roof $4,934.56
Gutter $1,123.80
Prep for Wiring $2,800

*Installation Fees are included in upgrade price. All upgrades also available without installation.

What Your Neighbors Have To Say

David Yordy
The individuals putting our Pavillion up were excellent and very articulate in performing their job. They worked from the time they got here till they were competed even down to cleaning up. This is an excellent company to deal with. Our Pavillion is beautiful and will use it quite often. Thank you for such a wonderful job.
Dennis McDowell
I found the employees hard working and conscientious. The attention to detail was very apparent. I would definitely employee LOA on any future property need. The work they did is beautiful and adds equity to our property.
Linda Sheckler
We could not be happier with LOA. We had a stone patio and a set of stairs from pool to back yard built. LOA did a beautiful job! It is amazing! And you couldn't meet nicer guys than Jake and his crew. And, in my book, they hold the high score for work ethics. And I'm not an easy grader. Wow, they put in some hard days! And, they were here ready to go with machines, stone,.. whatever they needed, at 0730. We enjoyed working with Omar, Jonathan, Jake and all involved! We highly recommend them!
james maloney
Couldn’t be more happy with the thoughtful design and quality of workmanship of Omar’s team at LOA. Our new carport looks amazing and we are confident it will stand the test of time. The men who installed the building were the hardest workers one could imagine, they essentially worked from dawn into dark without much of a break. They were incredible and truly a credit to themselves, their company and their community.
Michael Halpenny
Lifetime Outdoor Arrangements accomplished what we envisioned! We are very satisfied with their quality workmanship. We were guaranteed a new, water-tight entrance into our basement and are elated to say "we have no leaks!" It was great working with them.
Sam Byler
Best rates in Centre County!! Call today!!
Sebastian Trapani
Omar and his crew from lifetime outdoor arrangements were an absolute pleasure to work with. They helped design and installed a pavilion and outdoor fireplace for our back deck. These young men are absolute craftsman they were punctual, professional, and exceeded our expectations. Looking forward to working with them again in the future. Sebastian Howell New Jersey
Mary Jo Sell
We could not be happier with our project with LOA! Our project included a couple phases and from start to finish was a wonderful experience. The communication throughout the project and quality of work was outstanding! Omar was easy to get in touch with and quick to respond to all of my questions and concerns. The crew was friendly, hard working and professional. We highly recommend their services and can’t wait for our next project!
Russ Burkholder
Great workmanship and great people. And they communicate well. Highly recommend!

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