Timber Frame Buildings

11 October 2023 – 3 Minute Read

What is a timber framed building?

A timber-framed building is one whose walls are built around timber frames, rather than brick walls. The timber is nailed together and plaster or plasterboard, as well as other materials, are added over the top.

Are timber frame houses cheaper to build?

Among the biggest advantages of building a home using timber frames is they are cheaper to build. Rather than building an internal wall brick-by-brick, you are instead nailing together a wooden frame, to which plasterboard can be attached. Not only does this vastly reduce the material costs, it also reduces the amount of time and skill necessary to construct the walls. With a brick wall, you need to trowel and mortar, and place bricks one-by-one, which is not the case with a timber-frame wall. With all of that said, timber-frame houses tend to be perceived as less substantial, which might affect their resale value in years to come.

Can I build a timber frame extension without planning permission?

The same planning permission rules apply to timber frame extensions as brick-built extensions. This means that you will need planning permission unless the structure in question is a ‘permitted development’. In practice, the side extensions should be one storey high, which is no taller than 4 metres. If the structure is within 2 metres of the boundary, the eaves should be no taller than 3 metres. Moreover, the extension cannot be taller than the building to which it is attached as that would constitute a fairly major change in the skyline.

What size timber is used to build a stud wall?

The timber used in a stud wall is usually around 5 centimetres thick. It can be either 75mm or 100mm wide. Chunkier beams are usually used vertically, with horizontal ones to join them together.

Do timber frames insulate sound?

The heavier the wall, generally speaking, the more sound insulation it will provide. If your walls are made from concrete blocks, they will provide greater insulation than the equivalent timber-frame wall. Of course, packing insulating material between the beams can vastly improve the sound insulation of a given wall. If you live within earshot of a busy road or you are the owner of a dog that is always barking, this might be something to consider.

How long do timber frame buildings last?

Most manufacturers of timber frames provide a ‘guarantee’ as to how long a timber frame building will last.  This could range from 10 years to 40 years. However, it is considered that 25-30 years is a reasonable expected life span for a building made from a softwood timber frame. Whilst timber frame buildings have been around a very long time – the majority of historical Tudor houses were built using hardwood timber, such as oak – the timber used for modern timber frame buildings is treated with preservatives to prevent it from decaying over time, and thus the longevity should be over several decades. One major factor to consider is the level of ambient moisture in the property. Damp will disproportionately affect timber structures, particularly if the treated timbers have not been left with cut, untreated ends or drill holes. Wet and dry rot are problems, as are attacks by pests, such as woodworm.