Building a timber frame home is a journey of discovery, great stress and hopefully greater joy. Before you decide to build a timber frame you will hopefully have all the information you need to make an informed decision. All too often though you won't. Lets remedy that.
But first what is a timber frame? And are they really as good as they appear?
A timber frame home is essentially a house that is primarily made from timber. In America, Canada and Northern Europe this usually means that the inside walls are made from timber studding and the outside skin is made from some kind of timber cladding, either some type of log finish, or timber boards. Timber frame construction is almost universal in these areas for residential construction.
In the UK and Ireland a timber frame building is normally constructed with the internal walls made from timber studding and only the very outside skin of the cavity constructed in either brick or block.
So no problems so far. The wooden internal walls are filled with insulation which means that the timber frame is warmer and more comfortable to live in than a block house and certainly in the long run is much cheaper to run. And that means that sq ft for sq ft a timber frame house has much less impact on the environment than a block house.
So what could possibly be the problem with a Timber Frame Home? Well there are a few problems you should know about.
The first problem with timber frame homes that you should be aware of is this; most of the people who are making your kit are overcharging you for the service. Especially on the erection side. Why should you pay more for a product that should cost you less? Perception? Perhaps. But more realistically they are squeezing that last few pennies from your already overused wallet.
So what can you do about this? Well the first thing you need to do is to talk to someone who can explain to you the difference between several companies offering and which quote actually gives you value for money. Your architect or engineer should be able to offer independent and technically relevant information on timber frame construction. They should be able to give you the insight you require into the technical aspects of timber frame construction, which will allow you to make informed and financially beneficial decisions.
The second problem and perhaps the most serious one is that many builders either do not know or do not care to learn how to finish a timber frame project successfully. The trades simply are not used to working with timber frame construction and because they are ignorant of the finer points of timber frame construction you end up with a house full of small defects.
This simply should not be the case. Timber frame is an incredible construction method. It surpasses block building by a country mile in both comfort, sustainability and it also has a much smaller carbon footprint. Always good for the environment.
Timber frame manufacturers have the knowledge required to ensure that a self build project be completed to a very high standard. All too often they don't pass this information on except by request. And even then the information is just what is required. Additional information is simply not passed on to the client unless some financial gain can be made.
So when you are getting ready to build your dream home, don't be afraid to build in Timber, just make sure you ask all the relevant questions and be certain you understand the answers. As the old saying goes “Knowledge is the key to success".
Ed Gordon is a Timber Frame specialist with a keen interest in Energy Efficiency and reducing the construction Carbon Footprint. Ed does not manufacture timber framed kits but he does help his clients by preparing planning permissions on a NO Win No Fee basis and ensuring that they make an informed decision between timber frame and masonry construction and helping clients to find the best value manufacturer or contractor to perform any work. For more information go to http://www.gts-timber-frame.com