Timber frame house vs. Traditional Block Build – Which one should you go for? This is among the common questions that are asked by potential home owners in the UK. With the home considered one of the most expensive investments a person will ever make in life, it’s crucial to get everything right from the word go. The last thing you can think of is having to re-build or repair your home because it started cracking, the foundation is sinking, or is costing you too much in terms of heating and cooling due to poor insulation. Some people are in support of timber frame while others prefer traditional block build. So, which is the better option?
Looking At Timber Frame House
Timber frame homes are preferred by many people for the following reasons:
– Speed: Constructing a home from timber frame is easier and faster than using block build. This is credited to the lighter weight, large coverage, and instant curing and hardening.
– Energy- Efficiency: Timber frame homes are known to be more energy-efficient than block work. These findings are also supported by UKFTA. You will therefore spend less on heating and cooling when using timber frame compared to traditional blocks.
– Easy to construct: Blocks are not only smaller than timber planks, but also may be a bit heavier. It will take several blocks and some mortar to cover a space occupied by a single wooden plank. Mortar also takes sometime to cure and harden unlike timber.
– Low-Impact Construction: Due to its lower weight to length ratio, timber frame houses have low impact on the surfaces compared to block build.
– Good insulation: Timber is naturally an insulator and when joined properly, it doesn’t need additional cladding or insulation material. It keeps a home cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather.
The Downside of Timber Frame House
-Not very durable: Although hardwood can last for a long time, most timber types can’t outdo the traditional blocks. Timber can rot, crack, split or warp due to changes in temperature, and may be attacked by pets and bacteria.
– Higher maintenance: Timber is prone to rotting due to lots of moisture, fading because of high heat, or cracking because of contraction/shrinking and expansion. To stop this, the home will need regular maintenance to combat the elements.
– A Bit Noisy: Timber frame homes are known to be a bit noisy since sound moves through it better than block. As a home owner, you may be required to add some cladding (siding) to absorb the noise and make the home more sound-proof.
– Environmental impact: To get the timber, trees have to be felled and this contributes to environmental destruction in form of deforestation.
Looking at Traditional Block Build Homes
The following are reasons that make block build a better option:
– Strong: You most-likely have come across a block-built home that is more than half a century old and still looks great. This material is loved for its strength and can withstand the elements better than timber.
-Durable: Due to its strength, resistance to the elements and solid nature, homes made from blocks will last for way longer than timber. They also don’t require regular maintenance or repair like timber.
– Low Noise Level: People prefer block homes because they create a quiet environment. This building material doesn’t conduct sound or vibrations very well and provides a low-noise environment.
– Easy Maintenance: Bricks don’t suffer from fading, are less-likely to crack, and don’t warp. The material also doesn’t rot and won’t lose its appeal even in extreme weather or climates.
– Hold value for longer: Compare the value of timber and brick homes, and its no surprise that the latter has better value. This is credited to its strength, durability, and easy maintenance.
Shortcomings of Traditional Block Build
– Labour Intensive: Constructing home from traditional blocks require more effort and time. The blocks are small, require joining with mortar and also need more time for curing.
– Takes Time: The time taken to build a home from blocks is more than if using timber frames. The different stages also need careful monitoring before moving to the next stage.
– High-impact on construction: Concrete homes are heavier than timber and will exert more pressure on the surface.
– Not Very Energy Efficient: Blocks tend to conduct heat and cold more than timber. In cold days you will turn-on the heater sooner or for longer compared to timber. This also applies in warm days and this will increase the cooling and heating bills.
Homes in the UK will come in traditional block build or timber frame. And as clearly stated above, each type will come with its advantages and disadvantages. It’s also important to note that while a certain material may be cheap in a region of England or Wales, it maybe a bit costly in Wales or Northern Ireland. This may be attributed to scarcity of the materials, changing trends, and topography. To avoid making costly mistakes or coming up with a not-so suitable home, you should always engage a reputable, professional and certified builder. Cornwall Builders is a well-known firm that engages in building traditional block, timber frame and other types of homes. We have been in this industry for many years and are also a member of the Federation of Master Builder (FMB) UK. We boast of a team of skilled professionals who will ensure you get your dream home. Talk to us for all your building needs.