For as long as people have been building things, more or less, they’ve been building them with timber. It’s a materials that can be immensely strong, easy to work with, and, to use a modern phrase, sustainable.
For these reasons, timber is a popular building material today – not just for the aesthetic details, but for the actual frame of the building. Let’s take a closer look at timber-frame construction, and try to establish whether it’s a good fit for your property.
What are the pros of timber frame construction?
Let’s take a closer look at those advantages.
Depending on the kind of timber you’re sourcing, timber-frame methods can be carbon neutral. Whenever you use a tree’s worth of wood, you ensure that a replacement tree is planted on your behalf. This is something that’s overseen by the Forest Stewardship Council, whose logo can be found attached to sustainable timber products.
Ease of use
Timber frames tend to be easier to work with than steel ones, too. A single worker can easily cut the material to length, and, since it’s much lighter than steel, they can move it from place to place. This helps to drive down the overall cost of any given project.
Timber-frames buildings can even be built offsite and transported as required, since they’re light enough for the purpose. Simply take out the panels, slot them together, and before long you have a complete structure.
Timber products come in a variety of different types to suit a range of different budgets. Treated timber tends to be used in framing, thanks to its ability to resist moisture and harmful microbes. While this might present some practical complications (since treated timber is more difficult to work with), the benefits are often considerable.
If the timber is going to be on display, then it will often make a better choice. This naturally depends on the tastes of the person who owns the building, however. In most modern British homes, the structural elements are concealed, making this a consideration only in a minority of cases.
What are the downsides?
For all of the many upsides of this method, there’s a reason that the alternatives exist. Timber frame will tend to be more costly per square metre of final build than other methods, which is part of what makes it less often used in large public buildings. This disadvantage is, however, often offset by the speed of construction facilitated by the material.
In some cases, a pre-constructed timber panel might have to be craned into place onsite. In sites where access is difficult, this requirement may be prohibitive. Thus, it’s vital that a full survey of the site is conducted before decisions about materials are made.