After centuries of wood shortage and natural disasters, wooden houses have become a sustainable alternative to brick houses. Should you go for a wooden house if you are given the opportunity?
Buying a timber framed house in the UK can be a good idea, contrary to the public perception. These houses are cheaper, more sustainable, and even better looking. However, they may have durability issues, especially if they’re old. Make sure you know all potential issues before making a purchase.
If you want to know more, read the rest of this article. I will explain several advantages and disadvantages of timber-framed houses and factors to consider if you decide to buy one.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Timber Framed House in the UK
For centuries, the general opinion regarding timber-framed houses in the UK has mainly been sceptical or downright dismissive. Considering the vulnerability to natural disasters in the past, it is understandable that most people would prefer the alternatives. However, timber-framed houses are coming back as a cheaper and more sustainable option.
As a result, you may be considering it as a possible option when buying your own home. To make an informed decision, you should take into account all the pros and cons of buying a timber-framed house in the UK. “It’s also important to know how you will finance the purchase of these types of homes,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of Property Auctions News.
Pros of Buying a Timber Framed House in the UK
There are several advantages that make timber-framed houses a good choice:
Sustainability and smaller carbon footprint
Timber-framed houses are known to have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than brick or block houses because they require less energy to construct, but they are also made of wood, which traps carbon dioxide.
Therefore, timber-framed houses can receive certain green certifications that would make them more valuable in the market. Sustainability and environmental friendliness are becoming increasingly important due to climate issues, which means that a low carbon footprint can become one of the most important qualities people look for in a house.
Less Costly and Easier To Work With
Compared to alternatives, wood is a cheap material nowadays because it is widely available and has certain vulnerabilities. Moreover, this material is light and easy to work with, so it takes less time and effort to use it for construction.
As a result, timber-framed houses cost less to build since they are less labour-intensive, take less time to be completed, and the material itself is cheap. Understandably, the price of a timber frame house on the market is also lower compared to brick or block alternatives.
The recent popularity of timber-framed houses can also be explained by the fact that they are cheap and fast alternatives in the middle of a housing crisis. The green aspect is a major advantage, but the low price makes a real difference for many people.
Timber-framed houses offer a variety of options when it comes to design and aesthetics. Many builders opt to expose wooden frames to create a more rustic look, which is quite popular with buyers. Moreover, the texture and colour of the timber frame can give the house a warmer and more natural look, which is one of the main trends in design nowadays.
While durability and general maintenance are crucial aspects, the overall appearance and feel of the house are still incredibly important to the buyer. Timber frame houses offer warmth and comfort that is not easily matched by brick and block houses.
Cons of Buying a Timber Framed House in the UK
Naturally, there are several reasons why buying a timber-framed house in the UK might not be a good idea.
The main reason people shy away from timber-framed houses is that timber is inherently more vulnerable than bricks or blocks. Wood is affected significantly by water, heat, and pests. As a result, timber-framed houses can have additional issues that a homeowner needs to consider before making a decision.
If you’re considering buying an older timber-framed house, you should keep in mind that the structure might be significantly weaker. Wood decays with time, especially the wood used in construction decades ago, which was not treated with chemicals to become more resistant.
However, the level of wear depends on other factors as well; there are timber-framed houses that are still up after centuries with minimal damage.
While in the past, insurance companies could even refuse to cover timber framed houses because of the durability problems mentioned above, it’s easy to get coverage nowadays. However, insurance may not cover all the inherent issues that you might face.
For instance, insurance may cover damage by floods or fires, but it may not cover rot or damage by termites. Additionally, changes to the structure or insufficient maintenance could cause you to lose your insurance policy. Make sure you talk to different companies and see the extent of damage each can cover before considering making a purchase.
Speak to our insurance broker to find out more information about insuring a timber framed house.
Not Easy To Resell
Although the general opinion is slowly changing, people in the UK are still quite sceptical of timber-framed houses because they view them as weak. If you intend to sell your home in the future, you need to think about the options that you will have.
Timber-framed houses are not as weak as they used to be or as they appear, but it’s hard to change the public perception, so selling your home could be a challenge. However, considering the importance of sustainability and trends toward green buildings, the situation might change in the coming decades.
More Expensive Surveying Procedures
Before buying a house, you need to hire a home surveyor, who will observe the house and will be able to tell you more about its condition and any necessary repairs that need to be done. In the UK, timber frame houses are still relatively rare, so they are considered non-standard constructions.
As non-standard constructions, timber-framed houses require a more comprehensive property survey than most standard homes. They require a Building Survey, a process that includes a detailed analysis of all the elements in the house and all kinds of maintenance and repair options. Naturally, this type of report is more expensive than the Homebuyer Report used for standard houses.
What To Keep in Mind When Buying a Timber-Framed House
If you decide to look for a timber-framed house, you need to consider certain aspects that you should pay attention to in particular. This way, you’re prepared to ask the most relevant questions and make the necessary observations when you visit a potential home.
- Insulation. Timber-framed houses typically offer good thermal insulation, which ensures that the heat cannot escape easily during winter. The better the insulation, the more energy efficient your home will be, which is better for your energy bill.
- Age. As mentioned above, old timber-framed houses can present issues down the line, especially if they are made of wood that has not been chemically treated to resist dry rot.
- Need for expansion or improvement. Buying a timber-framed house to expand or improve it can be a mistake sometimes; newer houses with ready-made timber frames can be costly and time-consuming to expand and modify.
Timber-framed houses are becoming increasingly popular as they are cheaper and more sustainable. Even though there is scepticism toward timber-framed structures in the UK, it can be a good idea to buy one if you pay attention to the right details.
However, you should remember that timber-framed houses may be damaged more easily by rot and pests; moreover, they are vulnerable to fires and floods. Nowadays, these houses are sturdy and can withstand significant amounts of damage, but the general perception remains the same, which could harm your chances of reselling them.
- SAM Conveyancing: Should I Buy a Timber Frame House?
- PPO: Timber Framed Houses – Are they Right for You?
- Eco Home Essentials: Timber Frame Home Design – Advantages and Disadvantages
- Insurance Choice: Are timber-framed house more to insure?
- Romans.co: Difference between a Building Survey and HomeBuyer Report
- Romans.co: RICS Building Surveyors
- Knauf Insulation: Insulation for Timber Frame Walls
- Nicco.com: Aesthetics Of Timber – How To Make Your Space More Inviting
- Ukdiss.com: Popularity of Timber Frame Construction
- Sustainable Build: Do Timber Framed Houses Reduce Carbon Emissions?
- KYOS: What is a green certificate?
- Just Do Property: Why Today’s Commercial Property Developers Are Focused on Sustainability