Despite the many benefits of timber frame houses, there are still some diehard block builders who will refuse to accept that timber frame construction is the way forward. In light of the immense response to timber frame following Part L and now nZEB (Near Zero Energy Building), we’re here to bust the myths!

Does a Timber Frame House Look Different?

Timber frame houses when finished are indistinguishable to a home built using any other method of construction. As timber frame is typically cladded in a 100mm leaf of external block, your home can be plastered and painted as usual with no differentiating factor – besides energy efficiency of course!

Can I Get Planning Permission?

Timber frame houses are actually of benefit when applying for planning permission as they take significantly less time to build. The speed at which a timber frame house can be constructed means for less disruption to neighbours in terms of noise and a dangerous, unsightly work site. As a result of efficiency and quality controlled off site manufacturing, on site waste is reduced to a minimum.

Can I Get a Mortgage on a Timber Frame House?

Timber frame is the most widely used method of construction in the world, accounting for over 70% of all new builds. We can assure you that you will face no difficulty whatsoever obtaining a mortgage for a timber frame house in comparison to any other method of construction.

As Steve Birt of Zurich pointed out; “Insurance companies draw no distinction between modern timber frame and brick or block construction.” In addition, Patrick Sawdon of Halifax stressed that “Timber frame housing is equally as good as housing constructed from brick or block. We make no differentiation on the lending terms offered on either form of construction.”

Will a Timber Frame House Last as Long?

A timber frame house will last as long as a home constructed using any other method including standard masonry/block construction. The materials, systems and methods applied today are supported by rigorous regulation and certification. These are all put in place to ensure that buildings conform to best practice standards, including their expected longevity. We can assure you that a timber frame house not only conforms to but exceeds these standards.

Is Fire Safety a Concern?

No, most definitely not. All materials are tested and certified to ensure compliance with European standards including the timber. Our insulation and plaster boarding is rated A1 for fire resistance and our timber is CE stamped, C16 graded and stress tested. It’s also thicker than that supplied by most other timber frame manufacturers.

In fact – when timber burns, the outer parts char and become charcoal. Charcoal insulates against heat and does not burn which means that the structural centre of the timber is actually protected from any potential damage.

In addition, fire break sleeves are added to the cavity of each intersection as standard. This prevents spread through the cavity in the event of a fire. 

Consider this – a large number of homes in Ireland are constructed using a timber frame structure on the upper floor. Every roof is also timber so there is most certainly no cause for concern, we can assure you of that.

Will the Floors Creak?

Timber frame houses have come a long way since the old methods of timber joist construction.

Our timber is certified, graded and kiln dried. We can supply and fit either solid floor joists or open webbed metal joists (also known as ‘posi joists’). On top, we lay 18mm WPB external grade ply rather than the OSB laid by most companies. This ensures added strength and durability underfoot of the passing trades during construction. In order to further eliminate any chance of the floors creaking, we securely glue and nail the WPB ply to the floor joists.

More and more of our clients are choosing metal webbed joists over traditional solid timber joists. Although slightly more expensive, they significantly reduce the labour costs electricians and plumbers as they can all work within the joists rather than cutting and drilling through solid joists or blockwork.

What About Acoustics?

Sound from outside is no different to that of a block built home and in terms of vibration and sound travel inside the home, improved products make this a thing of the past. With thicker framework, quality acoustic insulation and engineered products such as posi joists, soundproofing in a timber frame house is no longer an issue. 

We supply and fit Knauf Acoustic Earthwool Roll insulation which is available in a variety of lengths, widths and thicknesses. Typically clients choose 50-150mm acoustic insulation to their internal walls and 100-200mm at first floor level which can be tailored to suit the depth of your chosen framework. If you’re really concerned, we can also supply and fit the latest technology in soundproofing known as an AM soundproofing board.

Can I Lay a Concrete Floor for Underfloor Heating?

One of the most common misconceptions about timber frame houses is that concrete cannot be laid at first floor level. As above, we supply and install metal webbed posi joists along with traditional solid timber floor joists. Although you could choose to lay an underfloor heating mat, these posi joists are engineered to support concrete screed at first floor level without any problems.

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