Top 4 Advantages of Timber Frame Construction

Top 4 Advantages of Timber Frame Construction

, by Vlad Alex, 6 min reading time

There is a growing demand for high-quality, cost-effective homes to be built quickly. Building with timber has become an ideal solution, with more and more timber frame buildings popping up everywhere.

Why? Off-site timber frame construction delivers numerous benefits over traditional building methods. There’s less waste produced, less reliance on traditional trades, and homes can be completed in less time, mainly because frames are made in factories where bad weather isn’t an issue and the work never stops.

Alongside the demand for more homes is the need for more sustainable building methods. Again, timber has several advantages over brick-and-block as it’s a lightweight, strong, renewable material sourced from responsibly managed forests that help protect the environment.

Building with timber has become so popular that, according to research, the global timber construction industry generated $857.1 million in 2021 and is forecast to generate $1,542.2 million by 2031, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 6.0%.

What is Timber Frame Construction?

Timber frame construction includes oak frames, internal and external stud walls, roof trusses and floor joists. These elements combine to make a solid and complete structural frame that transfers horizontal and vertical loads to a building’s foundations. This method ensures structures can withstand severe weather conditions, such as gale-force winds, while remaining strong.

Such is the rise in popularity that around 75% of new housing in Scotland uses timber frame construction, with approximately 23% in England. The use of open and closed-panel timber frames has also seen significant growth in the construction industry, as has timber structural insulated panels (SIPS). One of the main reasons behind this is the speed of manufacture and construction which drastically cuts down the build time.

In addition to houses, timber frame construction is used in a variety of other buildings including schools, offices, hotels, apartment blocks, and public facilities due to its strength, quick assembly time and cost savings compared to brick and block structures.

There are many reasons for the surge in popularity of timber frame homes and construction. From those seeking sustainable and eco-friendly ways to build structures and homes, to others requiring quicker build times, timber frame construction is widespread throughout the building and construction industry.

Here are some of the key advantages it can provide:

1. Shorter build time

Anyone who has worked in brick-and-block construction knows how tough it can be in adverse weather conditions and on muddy building sites. There is the constant possibility of delays, longer build times, and greater labour costs. It is another reason why timber frame construction is becoming an increasingly popular method within the building industry.

Building with timber is far quicker than it is with traditional brick-and-block methods. This is because, unlike brick and block, timber frame construction can start off-site which speeds up the process.

Most timber frame construction uses prefabricated panels, making it easier to build elsewhere. These timber frame panels are factory produced and manufactured to exact tolerances and specifications, ensuring uniformity in performance across all products.

Once timber panels have been swiftly erected on site, a roof structure can be added to create a weatherproof frame using timber materials such as carcassing, OSB 3 boards, and tile battens. This allows other building work to carry on in dry and sheltered conditions while finishing touches are applied to the roof and exterior of the structure.

Not only does this process greatly reduce build time and costs, it allows work on interior stud walls using materials like CLS studwork to continue before decoration can take place.

2. Greater flexibility

Many architects and designers opt for timber frame construction over brick and block buildings because of the enhanced flexibility it offers.

Timber provides almost infinite options in both layout and design. Not only is it possible to create the home of your dreams, but it is guaranteed to be strong, durable, and superbly insulated. It can also be built to withstand adverse weather conditions, such as gale-force winds.

The beauty of a timber frame is just that – it is purely a frame that can be adapted to suit any structural design. Therefore, building around the frame structure gives you endless style and function opportunities to match your personal preferences. For example, when the timber frame structure is complete it can be clad in a variety of materials including brick, stone, wood panels, tiles, and fibre cement boards which not only decorate your home, but also provide excellent protection from the weather.

Another advantage of timber frame construction is that they weigh far less than brick buildings. As a result, timber builds can be constructed on difficult land conditions such as those with poor soil or close to water which would normally rule out other build options. Not only that, but it is easier to transport lightweight timber than brick, meaning building work can start sooner and take less time to complete.

3. Superior insulation and energy efficiency

Volatile energy bills and the general cost of living is forcing people to seek new ways to make their homes more energy efficient. As a natural insulator, timber is a highly effective material in this respect.

Any timber frame structure will benefit from the frame’s low thermal mass. This drastically reduces the amount of heat absorbed, meaning homes and buildings warm up faster and use less fuel and energy to get there. It also means less heat can escape through walls during the colder winter months, again saving energy.

If a timber frame keeps a home warmer in winter, it also makes the inside of the structure cooler in summer, as external heat is prevented from getting in. This is another way to save energy on fans and air conditioning to keep a building cool and comfortable.

Similarly, timber frame structures are also extremely airtight. Many brick builds lose heat and energy through gaps and cracks in walls, roofs, and elsewhere, often due to shoddy design or poorly performing materials. This can amount to a staggering 50% or more of all heat loss from a building. Therefore, an airtight timber frame home can deliver huge reductions in heat loss and prevent draughts as all gaps between surfaces are sealed so no air can escape. Not only does this prevent heat and energy loss, but it also reduces condensation and damp risk.

4. Enhanced sustainability

Timber has the lowest environmental impact of all materials used in construction and one of the most sustainable ways to build a house. Not only is timber a sustainable material, but it also has carbon-capture properties. For every cubic metre of wood grown, just under a tonne of carbon dioxide is taken from the atmosphere.

Most timber suppliers source the softwoods used in timber frames from responsibly managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and/or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. There is also far less wastage produced when using timber compared to other building methods like brick, concrete, and steel.

Timber provides excellent thermal insulation within a structure which means lower heating costs and less energy usage. Timber frame construction is a form of building that has minimal impact on the environment.

Need Help With Your Timber Frame Construction?

Our team of experts at Eva Timber are ready to answer any questions about the products you need for timber frame construction. Contact us today.

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