An introduction to timber frame construction

Timber dwellings formed some of the earliest man-made housing in the UK. The oldest timber houses built here were constructed in the Bronze Age; a very well-preserved example in Cambridgeshire is circular in shape and has been dated to around 1000 to 800 BC. Timber homes are still well-loved today and have experienced a particular surge in popularity in recent years.

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The process of building or extending a timber frame house is very different from other methods of construction, and this article serves as a brief introduction.

Advantages of timber frame construction

Timber frames offer many advantages over other methods:
– Offsite construction can be used to deliver a finished structure to a site, offering considerable time savings
– Routes are readily available for wiring and plumbing
– The structure of the frame provides preexisting openings, making it very easy to position and fit windows and doors
– There’s a simpler critical path for a project without brickwork
– Building site delays due to bad weather are significantly reduced

Overview of the construction process

A timber frame is built up a storey at a time in accordance with the building plans. Wall panels are then fixed on, and a waterproof layer is affixed to cover external timber. A void is created between the wall panels and frame to accommodate insulation and additional polyethylene water-proofing. Roofing is then attached to the frame before internal works can begin on the house.

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More detailed information on this construction technique can be obtained from a wide variety of architects or timber frame construction company such as timber frame homes from QTFHOMES. There is also a wealth of information available online, such as this interesting guide from the Forestry Comission: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Timber-frame-buildings-a-guide-to-the-construction-process_D496.pdf/$FILE/Timber-frame-buildings-a-guide-to-the-construction-process_D496.pdf.

The cost of building a timber frame house

The cost of building a timber frame house is comparable to a more traditional construction.  However, timber frames are usually quicker to build, which can lead to savings.

Extending your timber frame house

Adding an extension to a timber house can be complex as the structural stability of the timber frame house can be compromised by adding an extra section. This means that additional work may be needed at the design stage, and extra work may be added to the build itself to shore up the new structure.

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