Oak framed houses are often perceived as luxury items but they aren’t necessarily out of reach for those with modest budgets. By incorporating some softwood framing in areas not on show, like side entrances and utility areas, costs can be kept down.
Costs will vary depending on the procurement route you choose (turnkey or self manage) but a guideline is to budget for 20 – 25% of your total build cost.
When it comes to oak framed houses prices, it is important to find a supplier who can provide you with the design that you want and can deliver a finished product that will be up to scratch. This may require looking at things like whether they use machine cutting or traditional handmade methods. This will have a slight impact on the look of the finished oak.
Choosing the right project team can also help to keep costs down. An experienced team will likely be able to identify issues more quickly and easily, so they can be resolved promptly, saving you money in the long run. It is also worth remembering that if you are using timber frames, it’s important to factor in the cost of insulation and energy efficiency upgrades. These will not only save you money on heating bills but also help to protect the structural integrity of your home.
While oak is a premium building material it can be used to achieve different aesthetics and provide flexibility in layout and room division. It is ideal for creating interesting architectural shapes, especially with vaulted ceilings and large glazed areas. It is also great for creating open-plan living spaces.
Oak frames are not just suitable for new builds but can be used to create extensions or conversions too. For instance, you might choose to build a single-storey extension in oak, which can add significant value to your property. This is a popular way to rework an existing property into a modern and efficient family home.
It’s important to keep in mind that while the square footage of a house is the same for both types of construction, what is counted as ‘livable space’ will differ from builder to builder. You can avoid this confusion by understanding exactly what is included in the price you are quoted.
Generally, it’s worth noting that whilst oak frame homes are a more expensive option than brick and block structures, the initial outlay can be balanced against the longer term savings on heating bills and the resale value of your property. The type of insulation you use will also make a difference, with sheep’s wool insulation providing a more natural and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic options.
Oak frame buildings can be built in a wide range of styles. From the traditional, Tudor-style farmhouses and cottages to stunningly contemporary homes with lots of built-in glazing. Many suppliers specialise, others are happy to work in any style. They also vary in how they deal with the frame – whether using machine cutting or staying with traditional handmade work.
Most suppliers will have in-house architects and designers who can help you come up with a design to suit your vision. This will take into account the structure, calculating structural loads as well as the size of bays and spans. They will also help you decide on the level of detail and any ‘wow factor’ features you want to include – these could be anything from galleried landings to a picture window or wow staircase.
When working to a budget it is important to consider the impact of any design changes you may have to make to achieve your dream home. It is also important to think about the type of insulation you will use. While the minimum requirements will be dictated by building control it is worth looking at alternatives such as sheep’s wool which has a much lower environmental footprint and can reduce humidity levels in the building which helps with condensation and mould growth.
As you go through the planning process it is a good idea to speak to other customers and visit completed builds. This will give you a good insight into what to expect and can also be a useful source of inspiration. Then, when the time comes to order the frame it is a good idea to ask your supplier for a breakdown of the cost and what is included in each stage. This will help you keep track of your costs as the build progresses.
It is recommended that you budget somewhere in the region of PS2000 – PS3000 per m2 (including VAT for an extension) for your overall build cost when building with an oak frame. This will include the foundation system if required and all other materials including plumbing, electrics etc. If you are doing a self build you may be able to get this price down a little as the cost of the oak frame will be considerably less than if you were constructing a house with bricks and mortar.
The site where an oak frame house will be built can have a significant impact on overall costs. For example, a sloping plot will require more concrete foundations than an even ground site. It can also affect the internal fit out if the design includes features that will need to be accommodated around the exposed oak. A specialist oak firm will be able to advise on what is feasible and cost-effective.
The type of oak used is another factor that can increase or decrease build costs. Some suppliers will only use green oak – freshly felled timber that hasn’t yet dried and become hard. This is cheaper to work with and requires less processing energy than other types of wood. It also works well with modern insulation materials, making it possible to achieve passive house standards.
A good supplier will visit the site as part of the design process, to understand the landscape and any planning constraints. This will help them to create a bespoke design that will suit the building site and its surroundings. They can then progress the build to the dry shell stage and leave it for a site-based builder to complete.
There are many different ways that an oak frame can be used, depending on the style of house and budget. For example, a large oak porch can be a real selling point for a self-build project, adding value and creating a welcoming entrance. However, a smaller oak porch could be equally as appealing in a more contemporary style home.
If an oak framed house is being built to a modern design, it will need to meet stringent building regulations and be fitted with insulation that will help to keep the temperature inside the property stable. This will add to the initial cost of the house but can be offset by savings made elsewhere in the build, such as with the use of softwood for secondary joists.
Oak framed houses are becoming increasingly popular with self builders across the country, thanks to their unique look and high-quality construction. By sourcing the right timber and having a reputable oak frame company involved in the design, you can create a beautiful new home that will last for centuries.
Oak frame is a bespoke building option and not as widely understood by generalist builders as brick and block. It’s a complex construction method which needs experienced designers to understand it and produce a set of detailed drawings for the build, suitable for submitting to a local authority planning inspector. An architect or RIBA registered design professional with experience of oak framing will be the best option. The main oak frame suppliers including Oakwrights, Border Oak and Welsh Oak Frame (opens in new tab) have their own in-house design services and can work alongside architects and designers, or you could employ your own designer to produce a bespoke set of plans and elevations, ready for the build stage.
Getting the design right will help keep your costs down. Choosing a design that makes the most of the frame’s visual impact and incorporating it into key areas such as staircases, entrance halls and living spaces is recommended. For ancillary spaces such as utility rooms, cloakrooms and bedrooms, structural softwood can be used instead of oak to reduce overall costs.
The layout of your home will also have an impact on the cost, so it’s important to work with a builder that understands how an oak frame can be incorporated into contemporary or traditional design. The positioning of windows and doors can affect how much oak is required, and the layout of internal walls may require extra steelwork to support the frame or create a vaulted ceiling.
An oak framed extension can add that wow factor to an existing property, and you may be surprised at how affordable it is to build one. Adding an oak frame to a sloping plot is possible and can be particularly effective, but it will require additional foundations and underpinning to ensure sufficient stability. There are also additional costs for the supply and installation of electrics, plumbing and heating and insulation. These are all things to discuss with your contractor during the design process, so they can be included in your initial budget.