Are timber frame houses warmer?

In timber-framed buildings, the low thermal mass of the structure drastically reduces the amount of heat absorbed. The house will heat up in a much shorter space. The house will heat up in a much shorter space of time and will stay warm for longer. There will also be no need to continuously heat the house, since the heat will not escape through the walls.

In summer, this has the opposite effect of keeping the house cooler, since the structure will not transfer heat from the outside to the house. This reduces the need for air conditioners or fans, which increases energy consumption. Wooden houses have long been an iconic feature of cold environments. The Nordic nations, Canada and Switzerland are just some of the countries best known for their beautiful and comfortable wooden architecture.

But wooden frames also absorb less heat than their masonry counterparts, so they also help keep you cool all summer long. The walls built with thick blocks are delightfully cool in summer. Timber frame houses are substantially lighter, more reactive to heating systems powered by standard radiators, but are said to cool more quickly than the thermal mass of purely masonry examples. Under normal circumstances, timber-framed houses are as solid and robust as houses built in more traditional blocks.

This is largely because houses have to be built to meet certain minimum standards from the perspective of building regulations. This is perhaps confirmed by the fact that you can get a 10-year warranty from Homebond with a half-timbered house that is the same as the block-built house. Timber frame structures can generally achieve better thermal performance than masonry structures with a thinner construction. Their low thermal mass allows spaces enclosed by wooden frames to heat up more quickly than masonry construction, but they also tend to cool faster.

There are a few different types of timber framing systems, however, the most common is the “Platform Frame” type. According to the NBS, the market for timber frame construction in the UK is growing, especially when it comes to housing. Timber frame structures are strong and robust as long as they are designed and built correctly. Timber frames may be the most suitable option if structural roofing is required quickly, if terrain conditions are particularly poor, or if the design does not include very large structural spans.

The elements of a wooden structure can be carefully designed for cost-effectiveness, to use the optimal amount of material for the required strength. Without the heat and moisture that rot needs to take hold, timber-framed buildings are highly unlikely to suffer the problem. With this type, wooden frames consist of large prefabricated frames or cassettes (usually 2.4 m high x 3.6 m wide). Once the building is weatherproof, the moisture content of the wooden frames should be allowed to stabilize if it is to be clad with dry plasterboard.

Fire hazard may increase if wooden frames are not properly assembled and during construction before installing fire protection. The wood used in most modern properties is soft wood that would be susceptible to beetle infestation and rot. If you are interested in building a prefabricated system, Cygnum, based in Lissarda in Cork, is currently the only Irish timber framing company with a closed panel construction system certified by Germany's Passivhaus Institute. People just don't like them, there are people who will never like wooden structures and, if that's the case, I'll never be able to change their minds.

A conventionally constructed stick-type frame cabinet (or SIP cabinet) provides the structure of the house where there is no wooden frame. It is not generally used to refer to wooden post and beam structures or to wooden engineering structural frames. .

Serena Uccello
Serena Uccello

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