Misconceptions about Timber Housing

Timber frame housing is becoming increasingly popular but some people still have reservations about building a home with wood. Here are some common reasons people give for being doubtful about timber housing which are common misconceptions.

Ineffective Noise and Sound Insulation

When you think of sound insulation you would think dense and heavy materials would be best for deadening all types of sound. While masonry construction does have an advantage over more lightweight timber but a high level of sound reduction can be achieved with timber frame. The solution is to build two walls incorporating a structural break between them. The gap is then partly filled with sound absorbent quilting, such as mineral wool. Similar material can be placed in flooring, Plasterboard can also be replaced with a heavier board or used in a double layer. For a timber frame construction company, visit http://www.qtfhomes.co.uk/

Rot and Beetles

People often assume that timber will be vulnerable to infestations and rotting. In fact, it is very rare for a modern timber frame to suffer from rot. External timber, such as cladding and fascia boards are prone to rot if not well maintained, but the actual frame itself is well-protected. Wet rot is the most common form of fungal attack although the other form, dry rot, is the one that provokes the most fear. For either of these to survive there must be a very high moisture content to the timber, usually at least 20%. In a modern heated house the moisture content will usually settle down at about 12%. If it is denied the requirements of warmth and dampness, rot will never be able to become established.

Misconceptions about Timber Housing

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Infestation by insects is also highly unlikely. Many of the potentially damaging species only affect hardwood, or newly-felled timber. Provided the moisture content of the timber is below 20%, a timber frame will not be attacked. Woodworm can infest drier timber, but is put off by the well-ventilated, warm dry timber found in modern timber construction. 

Fire

Yes, timber can burn while masonry and steel don’t. This can lead to the conclusion that timber homes are unsafe. The actual situation is not that straightforward. The progress of most house fires and the likelihood of death or injury are mainly determined by factors such as whether there are smoke alarms fitted, the behaviour of the occupants, and the flammability of the contents of the house. As far as the risks to people are concerned the crucial factor in survival is how quickly people can escape. If anyone is trapped, how long the construction of the house will protect them from flames and smoke until they can be rescued becomes important.

This is where timber gets interesting – When a timber beam is set on fire, the outside starts to burn immediately, as you would expect but after the outer parts of the beam have been burnt, they turn into charcoal, which does not burn and insulates against heat. Because of this charring effect, the centre of the beam is protected from damage for a long time before the beam fails and collapses. Steel will eventually melt and collapse. The frame is clad in material that resists heat and flames, usually plasterboard and there are barriers built into cavities in the building to block flames from spreading.

Misconceptions about Timber Housing2

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