What is Timber Frame Construction?

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What is Timber Frame Construction?
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Throughout the UK, there are many different types of property that potential homeowners can choose from. Not only does each property type come with various pros and cons, but the building method used can also greatly contribute to the final appearance of the property.

Timber frame construction is not considered a ‘traditional’ method of building a house, but is still just as viable, and can be seen in many properties throughout the UK. The popularity of timber frame houses is rumoured to be increasing in recent years – and this makes it important to know the ins and outs of this topic.

Read on for a guide about what timber frame construction exactly is.

What is Timber Frame Construction?

Timber frame construction is when a property is constructed using timber frames. When this type of construction is completed, the timber frame is visible on the inside of the property – which is an aesthetic feature that some homeowners find appealing.

Timber frame construction is considered ‘non-traditional’ in the modern day, but that does not make it any less effective. Indeed, timber frame construction is quite common throughout Scotland (more so than other countries in the UK).

There are generally two types of timber frame house: timber framing and post-and-beam. A timber frame house is constructed by securing the frame’s joinery with wooden pegs. On the other hand, a post-and-beam property uses metal fasteners, which are either hidden behind timbers, or face the interior.

How long does a timber frame house last for?

Even though timber frame construction takes place throughout the UK, it is generally agreed that these types of properties last for slightly less time than more ‘traditional’ methods of construction. This is because timber is slightly more vulnerable to damage than other house types.

When a manufacturer constructs a timber frame house, they will usually ‘guarantee’ it for somewhere between 10 – 40 years. In most cases, it will take approximately 30 years before degradation becomes apparent on the property.

Why is a timber frame house more susceptible to damage?

There are several reasons why a timber frame construction is more susceptible to damage.

Firstly, there are certain vermin and insects which are attracted to the timber that these properties are made from. Woodworm is a common example. These pests can often cause damage to the house over many years.

Secondly, timber is known to ‘warp’ over time. This can be avoided when the property is first being constructed – and the best experts will have insight on how to do this. However, warping may be problematic for any bathrooms, where cracked tiles can result in water leaking directly onto the timber frame.

Finally, older timber frame houses are usually more vulnerable to wet and dry rot if there is a high moisture content and they are not properly heated.

Advantages and disadvantages of timber frame construction

There are several advantages to having a timber frame house. Firstly, the interior aesthetic of the timber frames being visible is something which appeals to many homeowners.

Secondly, timber frame construction typically takes less time to complete than a ‘traditional’ building method. This means that potential homeowners can move into their property much quicker. Timber frame construction is also more flexible with regards to design.

Timber frame construction is generally considered to be less damaging for the environment. Timber has the lowest embodied C02 of any building material, as well as being organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable.

Many of the drawbacks of having a timber frame house have been listed in the section above. Your property generally degrades slightly quicker than it will through ‘traditional’ building methods. You are also more likely to attract pests and vermin into your house, because they are attracted to the timber frame.

Another drawback of timber frame construction is that, when the time comes to sell the house, most buyers will prefer a property which has been constructed in the traditional ‘brick and block’ way. For the most part, this is because not all UK lenders will offer a mortgage on a timber frame house. The only exception to this may be in Scotland, where a lot more houses are timber frame properties.

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