Timber Frame House Construction
Modern house construction usually takes one of two methods of building. Masonry, bricks and block, or Timber frame.
From the outside of the finished house it is impossible to tell between which is the central construction, masonry or timber framed, because the outer skin, or finish of the walls is the same in both cases.
That is usually brick, rendered blockwork, timber, stone or cladding in wood or plastic, the same finish covers either build.
The build begins with digging foundations in the traditional way, although most timber frame houses present less weight and therefore can be erected on marginally shallower foundations upon a raft of concrete.
They require an accurate level base, as the exacting design and build will not have the tolerance to adjustment that block and brickwork can accommodate.
Unlike laying blocks and seeing a steady rising build, the timber frames have been designed and built in a factory. They are transported to site, and the basic soft wood frame can be constructed within a few days.
In the course of construction the frame is generally made up storey by storey, seen as platform framing. The exterior wall panels are nailed together, and once in place, a breather membrane is nailed to the external face.
This membrane makes the walls water proof from the elements and allows moist internal air to gradually pass through to the outside.
An advantage with the timber frame design is the speed with which the structure becomes weather-proof. Internal walls are then clad with dry plasterboard.
Prior to plaster boarding, thermal insulation and sound suppressing materials are added to the wall cavities.
The trades, which in masonry build may have wait several weeks to reach this stage, can begin their first fixing works internally within days.
Should a brick outer skin be required, it can be commenced as soon as the frame is weather-tight.
Roofs are designed and factory built in the same way and can be delivered as “A” frames to site, and with the use of lifting machinery, be in place and completed within days.
Some manufacturers of timber frame housing are beginning to take their prefabrication a step or two further.
Pre-insulated panelling is being provided more often, but some are now designing panels including doors and glazed windows.
Although the overall construction of the timber frame house will probably be more than the masonry equivalent, the costs from initial design to completion can be anticipated fairly accurately, whereas bricks and mortar can have a number of variables as the build goes on.