Oak framed buildings are a tried and tested building technology. They are held together using traditional mortice and tenon, lap and dovetail joints.
Green oak frames are unseasoned, and this means that they will shrink throughout their first couple of years. However, this is a totally natural process and doesn’t weaken the timber.
Green oak frames are a time-tested, adaptable construction technology which has been used in this country for centuries. The timbers used for an oak frame house are crafted by skilled carpenters into a bespoke structure. The result is a high quality, beautiful home. There are a number of ways that an oak framed house can be made, from small eco-friendly barns and cottages to large family homes and extensions.
Using an oak frame can help to reduce build costs. However, it is important to be aware of the additional elements that will be required. It’s also important to choose your supplier carefully. Some offer a full turnkey ‘package’ including the supply and erection of the oak frame, whilst others will only provide the frame to a weathertight shell allowing you to project manage the groundworks and internal fit-out.
There are a number of different firms that specialise in the design and construction of an oak frame house. For example, Hereford-based firm Oakwrights can create a bespoke village house, barn or other oak structures in either a traditional or contemporary style. They can also help with pre-planning advice and assistance with obtaining planning permission.
Other companies that can create an oak framed house include Border Oak and Green Oak Frames. Both companies have been in business for over 200 years and have revived traditional green oak framing which had fallen out of favour over the last century. They design both traditional and contemporary oak framed houses, and have invented the Oak Frame Infill Panel which makes a green oak frame waterproof and thermal without compromising its aesthetics.
Another advantage of using an oak frame is its natural insulating properties. The wood is very dense and slow to lose moisture, making it a good insulator. This helps to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. It also means that an oak framed house will require less heating and air conditioning, helping to reduce the household bills.
It’s important to remember that an oak frame will need to be treated and maintained over the years to maintain its condition and structural integrity. This can include re-felting, treating, oiling and varnishing. In addition, regular inspections of the structure should be undertaken by a professional.
A green oak frame isn’t just a beautiful home, but it’s one of the most environmentally friendly ways to build. This is because the framing process can be 30% quicker than other modern construction methods, resulting in significant savings on time, money and emissions. Plus, as the oak is a natural material, no harmful chemicals are used to prepare it for building and no pollutants will be released into the surrounding environment.
Green oak is also a renewable resource, which can be harvested again and again in the same way that any other timber is. Oak is often sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests, where trees are replanted and harvested in a responsible manner.
Another great eco-friendly feature of oak is its resistance to water, pests and fungi. This makes it an ideal choice for structural support beams, and explains why so many older, listed oak buildings retain their original timbers. As the oak ages, it naturally becomes more resistant to moisture and will rarely need treating with chemical preservatives.
Oak is also a very breathable material. This means that it can absorb and release a large amount of moisture in response to the changing weather conditions. This helps to reduce the risk of damp and condensation within a building, and can contribute significantly to its energy efficiency.
In addition, the insulating properties of green oak can help to achieve passive house standards if required, further reducing the amount of energy that is needed for heating and cooling a building. Green oak can also work well with the most advanced insulation materials to create highly efficient building solutions.
When considering your green oak frame house, it’s important to choose an experienced and reputable company who can offer a full turnkey service and can provide you with a fully insulated, weathertight shell for you to complete internally. Hereford-based firm Oakwrights, for example, can provide concept design and pre-planning advice and help you obtain planning permission. They can then supply and erect the oak frame, as well as install the groundwork and external cladding to produce your new build home.
When you’re looking for a new home to buy, it’s important to consider the energy efficiency of the building. A green oak frame house is a great option for those seeking a home with a low carbon footprint. The timber used in the construction of a green oak house is sourced from sustainable sources. This means that it absorbs the CO2 produced by harvesting and planting trees, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere. In addition, timber framed homes are built using a process that is less resource-intensive than other types of building materials.
The use of green oak in the construction of a timber framed home also helps to increase the thermal performance of the building. As the timber dries, it shrinks, which tightens the joints between the components of the building. This creates a strong and secure connection between the structural members, which helps to reduce air leakage. This, in turn, helps to keep the home at a comfortable temperature and reduces the amount of energy required to heat or cool the property.
Another way that an oak framed home can improve its energy efficiency is through the use of insulated walls. These can be created by adding a layer of insulation between the external wall and the structure of the house. This helps to minimise the risk of thermal bridges, which can otherwise lead to a significant loss of energy.
In terms of the overall energy rating of a green oak frame house, it is important to have it professionally evaluated by a HERS rater prior to completion. This will help to ensure that the structure is as efficient as possible, which can lead to a significant saving on energy costs in the long run.
When choosing a company to provide an oak framing kit or bespoke oak frame home creation service, it is vital to look for one with experience in this type of work. It should be able to provide examples of previous projects and customer reviews that demonstrate their expertise. It’s also worth asking about what other services are available, such as planning permission guidance or groundwork and drainage design. This can help to streamline the build process and save you money by ensuring that your plans comply with local regulations.
Oak is a hard-wearing and natural material that is highly resistant to moisture. This is why so many green oak framed buildings have stood for hundreds of years, and will continue to do so for generations to come. The longevity of oak has even been attributed to its ability to repel pests such as fungus and worms. It is therefore no wonder that many people choose to build their dream homes with an oak frame rather than conventional bricks and mortar, a practice which is enjoying something of a revival in the UK.
Oak has the advantage over other materials such as larch and softwoods in that it dries very slowly, which means that the timber is much stronger once it is dry. Green Oak is also much easier to work with than kiln dried timber because it has a lower moisture content, which speeds up the erection process and helps to ensure that tight joints are formed.
As the wood dries it shrinks and this must be taken into account when designing your home. This is particularly important for door and window frames as it can cause them to stick or crack, which could lead to water leaks. However, if this is accounted for at the design stage and proper detailing is used, shrinkage should not be a problem.
One of the main challenges when building with an oak frame is ensuring that the timbers are kept dry and airtight in order to achieve a high level of energy efficiency. This can be achieved by using a good quality insulated shell with a water-based polyurethane foam insulation. By constructing the insulated shell before erecting the oak frame, it is possible to create a complete airtight and energy efficient house.
Hilltop House is a beautiful example of this, where the green oak frame provides structural integrity and design features while the insulated shell enables it to be built as a passive house. The combination of these two systems is what makes this property so successful, and proves that green oak and passive construction are not incompatible.