Choosing Wood For A Timber Framed Property.

13 December 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

When planning the construction of a new build, there are many decisions to be made. Often overwhelming, the choice of design, materials and methods can be extensive. However, with a sound comprehension of the relevant factors, a well informed decision is easily achieved.  When considering options for a timber framed residential property, there are a number of aspects to incorporate into the process. Most importantly, is the distinction between the different categories of timber required for individual specifications.

Types/Categories Of Timber.

Standard softwood or naturally cut timber.

Standard softwood lumber is extremely popular in construction trades as it offers a large degree of familiarity and the initial cost is quite low. However, naturally cut wood can increase labour and prove more expensive over time if adjustments are needed after installation (due to shrinkage, warping etc.) Standard softwood and naturally cut timber can be divided into three subsections each with their own characteristics.

~Light Structural Timber.

Light structural timber is the most common option for residential framing. It is usually milled from spruce, fir and pine, and is sawn and planed into standard dimensions. It is advantageous as it does not undergo much change during manufacturing/processing and is renewable. 

~Heavy Timber.

Heavy timber is the term used for larger dimensions of naturally cut wood and is extremely fire resistant. Used for the more sizeable components of a timber frame.

~End Jointed Timber.

End jointed timber is a wood that has been manufactured by connecting smaller, dry pieces of wood to form a larger product. The process reduces waste and is economically beneficial. End products also tend to be sturdier.

Composite or Engineered Wood.

Composite wood or engineered wood is a timber that has been extensively manufactured and processed. A variety of smaller wood fibres are bonded together to form a larger, composite end product that has many desirable qualities. Engineered wood typically does not shrink, warp or twist and can be manufactured to uniform dimensions, as opposed to naturally sawn timber that will have organic flaws and discrepancies. Although significantly more expensive, engineered wood can prove ultimately more cost effective, as effort and cost of labour are significantly reduced. Also environmentally friendly, engineered wood makes use of smaller pieces of timber, in an era where finding trees for larger naturally occurring wood sections, can be difficult.

Selecting A Wood Species.

There are endless species of wood to choose from. Spruce, pine, fir, larch and oak are all popular choices. However, consideration must be given to region (some species are more readily available than others and long distance transportation of timber can be costly), and individual specifications of a timber frame (some species lend themselves more to one characteristic than another). It is also worth factoring in, the desired aesthetic appearance and the surrounding local norms. A residential carpenter will be able to provide further advice.

The Benefits Of Employing A Residential Carpenter.

A residential carpenter will ultimately be responsible for the safe construction of a timber framed property. However, it is important to employ the use of a tradesman specialising in resisential carpentry from the outset, even in the early stages of planning. These skill tradesmen are well versed in all aspects relating to timber framed properties and there construction, and as such, will be able to determine the woods best suited to different components of a timber frame. A residential carpenter will be able to work with an architect/designer to evaluate all necessary specifications and arrive at a decision that best suits the individual needs of the property and reduce long term expenditure. Allowing a residential carpenter to provide input into the design of a timber frame property is the best way to provide cohesion throughout, ensuring any new build is executed as easily and smoothly as possible.