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Timber frame Houses
We’re looking at moving house, and the one we’re looking at is timber framed and 3 years old. We’ve been reading some horror stories about this sort of build (rot, damp, noisy and so on). One site suggested that modern timber frames only have a life expectancy of 25-30 years!
Does anyone have any experience of these or is there anything we should be aware of, or be looking for.
The house is in Scotland and the home report didn’t reveal anything.5labFull Member
I lived in one growing up. Didn’t notice it being too noisy, but there’s definitely a weird feeling that the external facing walls aren’t solid (as in, there’s no inner breezeblock layer, or wasn’t on the one we had – just plasterboard).
might struggle to get a mortgage, might struggle to sell (neither would be impossible). A bit like having a house above a shop in that regards
A huge number of houses are timber frame. It’s a standard, accepted and proven way of building. From Tudor to today, cavity and solid. Very prevalent in Scotland as it’s easier to build warmer.
As with all houses, age and who it was built by is the issue, not the system used.
I had one, my uncle a builder reckoned it would fall down in a strong gale. It was rock solid, no problems at all. In fact, the noise insulation was far superior.
The only problem is the one opposite had a fire and it got into the void so spread really quickly into the roof space.km79Free Member
The house is in Scotland and the home report didn’t reveal anything.
Most houses built in Scotland are timber framed. They are perfectly fine.
That’s a worry, we set fire to our chimney and our kitchen in this house…hopefully got it out of our system now 🙂
No mortgage involved but it would be nice to think it would be saleable in the future.
Thanks for the advice, pretty much what I suspected.honeybadgerxFull Member
Standard practice for builds in Scotland. As noted above, finish comes down to the builder. What they don’t give you is much scope for major alterations as there is very little spare structural capacity in them. They are generally very efficient though.metalheartFree Member
I reckon som of these timber frame houses are a scandal in the making. Some are only designed to last 30 years and with shoddy workmanship even less.
If done properly they’re fine though. Find out who designed and built it. Certain builders I’d steer well clear of!ernie_lynchFree Member
One site suggested that modern timber frames only have a life expectancy of 25-30 years!
That is so clearly nonsense that even a layperson should be able to dismiss it as such.
And there is little risk of fire spreading in a modern timber framed dwelling with fire blocking, fire socks, intumescent mastic, etc.
That is so clearly nonsense that even a layperson should be able to dismiss it as such
That was my first thought when I read it, but these things can put doubt into your mind, especially with such a big decision.
Hmm, one wonders how they have managed in the USA and Europe for so long. Sounds like the kind of crap a builder spouts tbh.
Ours was built by higgs and hill, survey on purchase and sale ok no worries. I know 2 people still there and no problems at all. Our house before was block construction and the noise insulation was awful, we had to put stud walls up alongside adjoining walls, helped massively.
In fact the timber framed one was v warm too.projectFree Member
Google timber frame houses on fire , or timber frame flats on fire, or detention centre on fire, and see how fast a fire spreads and reduces your house to burnt splinters.
All flats must have very thick and heavy fire doors, to stop fire spread.MurrFree Member
Regardless whether your house is traditional built or a timber kit , a fire will still spread just the same as most are still built in the same way , joists , flooring , partitions it a burns the same , have been working on kit houses for years with no problems in any .dantsw13Full Member
How long do you reckon a modern developer-built estate house will last? Some of the oldest standing houses in the U.K are timber framed and they seem to be lasting ok.SquirrelFull Member
The greatest risk of fire is during construction, before the plasterboard is installed. I do think (as a building surveyor) that timber frame buildings are likely to deteriorate quicker and more seriously if there’s any damp penetration, because of the danger of rot or corrosion of metal fastenings. And that depends upon the quality of the original workmanship and ongoing maintenance. Old timber framed buildings will have been constructed very differently from modern ones and from very different timber.tjagainFull Member
Personally I would never buy timber framed. But then the newest house I have lived in was 80 years old
You get problems in all types of house construction but badly built timber frames ( and its hard to tell a good from a bad one) will be no end of troublecaptainsasquatchFree Member
You get problems in all types of house construction but badly buil;d timber frames ( and its hard to tell a good from a bad one) will be no end of trouble
Unlike new build bricks and mortar where it a doddle to see the difference between qualities. Unless it’s a certified passivhaus, of course.
Our house is half masonry half timber frame.
The timber bit is well made, warm, dry and solid. Changing Windows last year allowed me to check cavities, they are clear and dry.
The old 1970’s masonry is ok, if full of snot in cavities and too many holes in inner leaf under floor.
The new 2000 masonry is damp, inner and outer leaf, with breached dpc and iffy drainage, with even iffier roof that lacks ventilation.
Building standards and detailing let down any construction method.harrytooFree Member
Timber frame construction is actually more expensive to the developer than a traditional bricks and mortar house.
The reason they do it is to ensure better quality by having the structural frame built in a controlled environment, removing the variables of site workmanship and materials, while getting the plot in the dry quicker, meaning less damp inside the house during construction.Plots tend to perform better thermally and are more air tight than masonry.
As above the biggest risk of fire is during construction before the frame is sealed behind plasterboard.
That New Home Buyers site is awful….. seems to recommend that the only safe way to buy a new home is to employ the services of an independent snagger, which should never be required.BurnBobFree Member
I think there must be some confusion with some regarding what a timber frame house is. It’s generally the inner skin being timber then clad in Concrete blocks. This means the timber portion can be made to a better standard off site removing variables.
As has been said before, the vast majority of houses in Scotland if not U.K. are built in this manner. As more mortgages etc there will be no issues whatsoever. Fire stops are built into the timber part too so no more dangerous for fire.
Bob I don’t recognise you name so you must be new here. You and your facts, what next, an informed debate?brFree Member
Pretty much all the new build here is timber framed, and not clad outside with brick/block – that incidentally was how my 2nd house was built +30 years ago.
It’s the standard build here and efficient in both cost and insulation as the outer layer of brick/block/stone is just a waste.
We’ve recently renovated an old building and while we had to keep to existing stone walls the extension is timber framed.aPFree Member
Timber frame in the UK has had its issues but is fairly well understood now and U.K. specific detailing has been developed. About 10-15 years ago the limits of storey heights were being pushed and there’ve been some relatively high profile failures during construction but the regs have changed to reflect these.
I wouldn’t have a problem with going timber frame, but then I can’t afford a house round here.
SIPS are another system (broadly) that has some benefits as well.
Thanks all, it seems the message here is to do your research about the builder, where you can, and to treat some websites/opinions with a degree of circumspection. Use some common sense in other words.slackaliceFree Member
We can choose to build dwellings from a sustainable resource, or not.
Trees are good, concrete, bricks and mortar are not. Simples.
Unfortunately, 1666 didn’t help the cause for timber construction, however lessons have been learnt and understanding and development of materials help to reduce the risks associated with timber construction massively.
Timber framed dwellings are quicker, easier and therefore cheaper to build than bricks and blocks and kinder to our planet. Furthermore, anyone who paints their masonry is a fool.andykirkFree Member
What utter tosh about fire risks and lack of structural stability. I’m an architect, and generally you have nothing to worry about in those respects.
Having lived in old (Victorian) houses and timber frame, the biggest problem is noise. If you go to see a house get someone to walk around upstairs while you are downstairs, or go into the adjoining room and make some noise and see if you can hear them. Also the doors can be dreadful quality allowing a huge amount of sound through. If you can put up with this then fine. It’s really quite depressing to see what we used to build and how we build now, but hey ho thats Government policies and money controlling everything for you. New houses are a tradesman’s dream, they just aren’t made to last. Old houses are generally built to a far higher quality and win every time I’m afraid, despite these having their own set of problems.
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