Wooden houses are standard in many countries worldwide, including the United States, but for some reason, they have not gained the same popularity in the United Kingdom. A wooden house may seem appealing for people who are about to build their own house; is it possible to build one in the UK?
You can build a house out of wood in the UK, even though it has not been a popular choice until recently. A wooden house is cheaper and can be finished faster, which is helpful during a housing shortage. However, remember that a wooden house is vulnerable to damage from fires, floods, and pests.
In the rest of this article, I will compare wooden houses to standard brick ones and explain why the former is less popular than one would have thought in the UK. I will also provide more information on what building a house out of wood entails.
Wood vs. Brick Houses in the UK: Which Is Better?
When building a new home, people take into account multiple factors to help them decide one way or another. While most houses are made of bricks and blocks in the UK, wooden houses are also gaining popularity. For those considering timber for construction, exploring sustainable options like rubberwood can be a wise choice due to its durability and environmental friendliness. Both types have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to consider every aspect before deciding.
Wood houses are especially popular in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. The main reason these houses are standard in so many countries is that wood is plentiful and readily available pretty much anywhere. Still, there are also a lot of advantages to timber-framed houses.
The main advantage is that wood is available everywhere, which means that it is cheaper than brick, stone, or other materials you may be considering. Considering the rapidly increasing price of homes in the UK and everywhere in the world, being able to save a considerable amount of money is a significant factor when deciding what to build your house with.
Moreover, wood is easy to work with. Construction workers find it easier to lift wood planks and work with them compared to heavier and sturdier materials like brick. As a result, wooden houses can be finished much faster.
On the other hand, wooden houses are more vulnerable than brick houses in several different ways. Wood is quite sturdy, but it cannot handle significant damage from natural or manmade disasters like fires and floods. Moreover, wood can be affected by pests like termites, which are not a problem for brick houses.
However, the multiple advantages I have just mentioned have changed the general perception of wooden houses by the UK public, leading to a significant increase in wooden constructions lately.
Around eighty percent of houses and buildings in the United Kingdom are made of bricks or blocks. These materials are quite appealing to people because they offer a sense of safety and protection from potential damage while also providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
Like all other materials, bricks have their advantages and disadvantages that might convince people to choose alternatives for building their homes. The main advantage that most people think about when considering brick houses is, of course, the sturdiness. Brick houses are more robust and better at providing thermal and acoustic insulation. They are not as vulnerable to fire or water as wooden houses.
However, brick houses can cost much more than wooden houses. The material itself is more expensive, but most importantly, building a house out of brick requires more effort. As a result, the process will not only cost more overall but also take more time. It’s understandable that these are significant disadvantages during a housing crisis.
As you can see, both types of houses have their advantages and disadvantages. When building a new house, it’s reasonable to consider all the options available and make an informed choice based on what you’re looking for and also where you live. Nevertheless, despite both kinds of houses being excellent options, brick houses are much more widespread than wood houses in the UK.
Why Are Wooden Houses Not As Popular in the UK?
The traditional house in the United Kingdom is made of bricks, blocks, or stone. As mentioned above, these houses are generally considered safer and sturdier than the alternative but also more expensive and labour-intensive. Despite these houses being the standard, lately, the focus has shifted to timber-framed houses.
As the United Kingdom faces a crippling housing shortage, wooden houses have emerged as a possible solution. Given the fact that they are relatively cheap to build and require less time and effort, a lot of new homeowners consider them as a suitable alternative.
Wooden houses used to be quite common in the past, but their vulnerabilities were exposed during major disasters, which made people turn to sturdier materials like bricks and stone. For instance, after the Great Fire of 1666 in London, all houses were rebuilt using bricks instead of wood to avoid catastrophic damage by potential future disasters.
Furthermore, in the past, the wood shortage was a major issue since wood was used not only for house construction but also for boats and ships. Moreover, whole forest areas were cut down to make sheep pastures. Even without the vulnerability issue, there just wasn’t enough wood to keep building these houses.
Considering the lack of safety and prevention measures as well as the wood shortage, it is understandable that people in the past would choose the safer and more readily available material to build their house rather than vulnerable wood. As a result, the majority of buildings nowadays in the UK are made of bricks and blocks.
Building a Sustainable Wooden House in the UK
Nowadays, as people face new problems and circumstances, their stances have changed. Wooden houses are not as unsafe, and concrete or bricks are not as sturdy as people once thought. Technology and prevention measures make wooden houses safer, while people start worrying about costs and the environmental impact of their homes.
A lot of people are building timber framed houses in the UK because they are cheaper and easier to build, but also because they are more sustainable and environmentally friendly than the alternative. Wood is a good insulator, so wooden houses can hold heat pretty well, consuming less energy.
Nowadays, there are standards in wood construction that require the wood to be sourced using environmentally-friendly tree logging companies. These companies make sure that they plant as many trees as they cut down to operate sustainably. Consequently, you can be sure that your house is not contributing to deforestation.
Additionally, the overall process of building a wooden house is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than alternatives. Considering the fact that wood is easier to handle and work with, wood construction requires less energy and other resources. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide, so building wooden houses has an inherently smaller carbon footprint.
While wooden houses are not as popular in the UK as alternatives, they have been gaining ground in the last few years. Wooden houses are generally regarded as less safe from fire or floods, but they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Moreover, they take less time and effort to build.
Considering all the safety measures taken nowadays to prevent catastrophic damage from natural disasters, wooden houses can be regarded as pretty safe while being cheap, sustainable, and easy to build. They can provide a quick solution to housing shortages.
- Super Foil: Important Aspects to Consider when Building a Timber Frame House
- PBC Today: Timber: The smart, affordable way to build new UK homes
- The Post: Wooden homes: is it time to go back to the future?
- Insurance Choice: The pitfalls of building a home out of timber
- Angi: Wood vs. Brick Houses: Which Is Best for You?
- TFQ Architects: Timber vs Brick Builds
- Active Sustainability: Sustainable construction: wooden house
- Think Wood: Benefits of Using Wood in Construction
- RICS: Why termites remain a risk
- Architecture Today: Know your bricks
- Just Do Property: Why Today’s Commercial Property Developers Are Focused on Sustainability
- Investors’ Chronicle: Can the UK solve its housing crisis with global lessons?
- Historic UK: Great Fire of London 1666
- Naturally wood: Wood’s thermal performance | Building Performance
- Quarry View Building Group: How Timber Frame Homes Are Environmentally Friendly