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When discussing a timber frame house, UK residents can often disregard them in favour of the density and solidness of different materials such a concrete. This stems largely from five decades ago when timber wasn’t necessarily tied to the quality, trustworthy builds that blocks could offer. Fast-forward to today and you will see that timber frame homes have some appealing advantages to them.

There are several types of timber framing systems that can be used to build a house. The most prevalent option is the Platform Frame version. These frames comprise of large prefabricated frames that are typically 2.4m high and 3.6m wide.

In the interest of being fair, we’re going to look at the pros and the cons of a timber frame build for you to consider what is best for you in the future.

What Are The Pros Of A Timber Frame Home?

A small wooden house being held in a person’s hand

Environmentally-Friendly

It’s fair to say that concrete is among one of the lowest performers in terms of environmentally-friendly materials used in the construction of homes. Turn your attention to timber, though, and you’re looking at a material that’s far superior in the environmentally-friendly stakes.

In fact, out of all the building materials available in the commercial sector, it boasts the lowest CO2 cost. For every cubic metre of wood used in construction, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 is saved.

Swift Construction

Although there’s little in terms of the time it takes to build a block-built home and a timber frame home, the timber versions normally take the prize for being the quickest.

The main reason for this is that a timber frame can be partially pre-cut, modulated, and then built to the exact specifications. We at Martin Perry also design stick-built frames, which are put together on-site. This results in the build time becoming far quicker than that of a brick option.

Furthermore, there’s less debris to clean up so time is saved on that job too!

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to being energy efficient in production terms, timber is great. To compare, steel uses six times more energy to produce, while concrete uses five times as much.

Once built, the timber frame construction is able to provide as much energy efficiency as you want (this is the same with cavity versions too). The energy-efficiency relates to the U-value measurement, the transfer rate of heat through the structure, divided by the difference in temperature throughout the structure. You can specify your own U-value by opting for different thicknesses or categories of cavity size, insulation or wall section, for example.

Timber frame shines in this department because of its ability to achieve exceedingly low U-values but without the need to significantly increase wall width. This is made available because the insulation can be fitted inside the timber frame section of the wall.

What Are The Cons Of A Timber Frame Home?

A timber frame home being constructed

Potential Rotting

Unlike in the past, timber that’s used in today’s modern frame designs is all pressure treated with preservative before being used to construct a home. Therefore, unless, for some reason, the timber rests in water for a prolonged period, everything should be fine.

The risk of timber rotting is always going to be higher when compared to that of cavity construction. Nonetheless, as long as the frames are built appropriately the risk still remains minimal. In fact, if you have enough levels of water present to cause concern, problems with a cavity home will also exist.

Soundproofing

Timber-based frames don’t have the capacity to repel sound transmission to the level that a block build can. This is simply because a block home provides greater density. That said, it’s still possible to add more insulation or sound-deadening materials to accompany a timber frame as a way of lowering sound transmission.

They’re Too Lightweight

It’s regularly said that people don’t think that timber-framed homes feel as sturdy as a traditional cavity construction. The origin of this isn’t clearly known and much like other things in life, sometimes people just aren’t keen. Just as with block builds, there will always be those out there who’ll never be convinced that a timber frame is a viable option for them.

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If you are considering your options when it comes to the materials you use in a house build, our chartered surveyors, Cornwall are on hand to offer the best expert advice to help you get the best from your project.