A-Z about wooden homes!

Sucheta Mehra Sucheta Mehra
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Building a new house? Then why not think out of the box. Why not build a wooden house? It is cheaper than those conventional houses you find at every nook and corner. You don’t even need to have a mortgaged loan burdened for thirty years of your life. Moreover, these unconventional structures can be used for various other purposes like home office, pool house, gym, guest house, summer living house and so on. Determining the usage of such a structure will help you choose the best design. Though it is easy to build a timbered house, a lot of planning and heavy lifting goes behind it. Engineering a timber home is going to be the toughest part of all but once the layout is ready, you can start building it yourself with the help of a few people or get a professional crew on board who will help you in your venture. With this ideabook, let's help you choose the best design for your home. 

Formalities and costs

Every town and region has its own set of building laws and we cannot do away with them. Based on the location of your property, you might or might not have to get a permit and submit the layout’s blueprint for approval. You might also need to get your property surveyed. These municipal ordinances might set limitations on the size of your house which includes the height as well as the square footage. When all the formalities are taken care of, it’s time to think how much your timber home will cost. A hybrid of concrete and timber structure will cost 15% more than the conventional timber structure. If you are planning to employ labour in the construction process, you will have to pay a wage to them as per the local rate.

Specificities

If you are interested to build a timbered house, there are many things that you will need to keep in mind. The studs of a timber home are generally fixed to the base or to the lower plate as well as the upper plate. The upper plate bears the weight of the next floor’s beam.The windows and doors  are generally set into the external facade that is composed of wooden panels. The ceiling or the roof frame is made from either trusses or cut timber. The walls of a timber home should be made of expanded polystyrene, OSB board, Knauf ECOSE mineral wool, vapor barrier, timber battens and plaster board. The flooring of such structures can be made either from concrete or from groove timber floorboards.

New building or renovation

If you are building a new timbered house, you will need to keep a few things in mind which will help you in your project. Think about the use of your timber home and build it accordingly. But in case you plan to renovate your timber home for usage of some other purpose, you can increase the ceiling height to as much as 55%. If you do not want to sacrifice too much of wall space, do consider giving a 2’*2’ skylight which is a nice way to get sunlight inside the home. Renovating timber shed frames is less expensive and less tedious as compared to renovating a concrete brick and mud house.

Maintenance

It is recommended that while you are building a timber house, high quality timber wood should be used because it saves one from regular maintenance and replacement that increases the overall overhead cost. Even during the construction process, proper care should be taken so that it doesn’t get damaged by moisture or heat. Sodium silicate protects timber from insects. It also has properties that are flame retardant. Timber gets destroyed fast if exposed to water or rain. There are treatments available which prevent water and moisture from getting soaked in the wood during the rainy season. Regular maintenance and constant treatment will help prolong the life of your timber home and will also save you from replacing the wood every now and then. The beautiful wood house shown in the picture above has been designed by Ecospace espana, Architects from Barcelona, Spain. 

Advantages

There are numerous benefits of having a timber frame structure. We all know that materials change size and volume when temperature changes. Steel expands and contracts as a result of heat. On the contrary, wood does not expand due to heat, in fact contracts and gains strength. Wood prevents echoing of sound as it absorbs sound. Though wood posses’ oxidation capabilities to some extent, in some way its oxidation capacity is much less than that of metal which results in rusting of metals and not of wood. A brick built house acts as an excellent insulator but a wood built house surpasses it all. Constructing a timber structure is 25 to 30 times cheaper than that of conventional houses. Moreover it’s easy to maintain and repair wood. Timber houses look hundred times better that concrete houses. You can enjoy all the luxuries of a concrete house in a timber house at a comparatively lower cost. Isn’t it cool?

Disadvantages of wood

There are two basic reasons which cause degradation of wood: biotic and abiotic. Biotic agents like fungi, bacteria and insects. Abiotic agents are sun, wind, water, fire and certain chemicals. Wood consists of hygroscopic elements which tend to absorb moisture from the air. Moisture is not good for the sustainability of wood. Wood is composed of 50% of carbon elements which becomes a suitable nutrient for fungus and insects. Insects like termites, marine borers, carpenter ants and powder post beetles are few that feed on wood. Proper care and maintenance does reduce the impact of these demerits but it increases the overhead cost. Careful selection of wood right at the beginning of the construction is one way to reduce insect and fungal infestation on your timber built. Other than that drying up of wood for a considerable period of time, coating it with preservatives and applying various treatments reduce insect attacks on wood. 

We hope this ideabook gave you some more information so you can make a more informed decision for your next timber house. Here's an architecture ideabook that is sure to enlighten your day - A home that lights up the sky

So, how did you like the concept of having a wooden house? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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