12 reasons why more Australian home designers, builders and owners choose timber framing
There are many advantages that choosing timber framing brings to a project, from a single home to mid-rise apartments - this article explores 12.
1: Timber Framing is Proven and Popular
Lightweight timber framing is the popular choice for Australian homes. Decades of experience have ensured that the system is safe, reliable, cost-effective and well understood by designers, professional builders and even experienced DIY’ers. Owners and occupants can be assured that they are gaining the advantages of a proven building method.
2: Timber Framing is Fire Predictable
A home’s timber framing is usually protected by cladding, often brick on the exterior and plasterboard on the interior. Timber maintains its structural integrity for a long time as it chars at a predictable rate.
3: Timber Framing is Durable and Termite Treated
In designated termite areas, it is important to install a termite barrier system to build termites out. This is because, regardless of the material used for the frame, termites can still eat through other items such as flooring, joinery and plasterboard if they have access. They can also cause damage to electrical cabling. Today, in areas subject to termite attack, timber framing is made from wood safely treated to resist termites, so that is no longer a worry. In fact, many Australian timber framed houses are well over 100 years old which shows the longevity of wood.
4: Timber Framing is Strong, Stable and Quiet
Since the properties of timber are so well understood, a timber-framed house won’t be noisy, as it doesn’t expand and contract during temperature changes and risk premature cracking in plaster linings.
5: Timber Framing Gives You Low-cost Flexibility
Today, most framing systems are prefabricated or built offsite. However, any last-minute changes or variations are easily made onsite by carpenters equipped with all the tools they need. Of course, if they need extra timber, it’s as close as the nearest hardware store.
6: Timber Framing is Fast to Assemble
Prefabrication, flexibility and builders’ knowledge of how timber frames are assembled, (joints, connections, tie-downs and bracing) combine to deliver fast, efficient buildings to lock up stage.
7: Timber Framing is Easy to Renovate
When a family outgrows their home, more space is needed, or you buy a home requiring renovation, timber framing is simple and easy to work with. Whether it’s removing existing framing, adding more timber framing or both, the ready availability of designers, materials and tradespeople familiar with the material make it an easier process.
8: It's Simple to Install Services in Timber Framing
Timber frames can be easily drilled to install plumbing and electric cables, unlike some materials that require cushioning grommets to protect cable insulation during installation and limit longer term damage to plumbing due to expansion and contraction or corrosion.
9: Timber Framing is a Good Insulator
Timber framing helps insulate your home as it has a higher R-value than many other materials. This means that it doesn’t act as a ‘thermal bridge’, conducting energy (heat) from one side of a wall to the other.
10: Timber Framing is Renewably and Responsibly Sourced
Most Australian-sourced timber is covered by either one or both certification systems, Australia’s Responsible Wood, which is endorsed by the world’s largest certification system the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), or the Forest Stewardship Council. This means that the wood you use has been produced in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner.
11: The Environmental Advantages of Timber Framing: Low Embodied Energy
Wood has the lowest embodied energy of all common building materials. This is a measure of the energy (usually produced by greenhouse gas-emitting generators) that is used to convert the wood in trees to framing timber.
12: Environmental advantages of Timber Framing: Stores Carbon from the Atmosphere
Choosing wood removes greenhouse gasses from the air. Approximately half the dry weight of wood is carbon, absorbed from the atmosphere by a growing tree. Using timber in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building exists or the timber is reused or recycled.