Oak Frame Buildings – A Guide
Oak framed buildings combine the latest technology with traditional carpentry to provide a finish that some think cannot be rivalled. Their exposed beams offer a look that is ideal for open plan living areas, while their robust and sturdy nature can withstand all weather conditions. Whereas the majority of contemporary buildings will use either concrete or steel as the primary materials, wooden framed buildings will use a variety of timbers, including; pine, chestnut, fir and of course oak. Oak is arguably the most functional and attractive of these options, and will be used to create a building frame that stands above the rest. While these frames are often seen on large buildings or barn conversions, they can be incorporated into extensions, garages and outbuildings. In fact, the same can be said for just about any construction that uses a frame.
The Four Types of Frames
The term “frame” is the expression used to describe the structure of the building. In construction there are four main types available, all of which will be briefly looked at here:
“Stick” Frames - these frames are rarely used in the UK, as large sections are created on site resulting in an inaccurate end product. However, they are cheaper and often quicker to create than other frames.
“Panellised” Frames – these frames use prefabricated panels, which are attached to the buildings’ structure to provide additional support. Typically, they will be made of low grade timber, but they do create solid, durable and quickly formed building frames. However, these are not usually associated with high end craftsmanship as they have been designed for the mass market.
“Volumetric” Frames - these are rarely used in the construction industry as they often create a “boxy” finish which is only really useful for temporary structures.
“Post and Beam” Frames - post and beam frames differ dramatically from those varieties listed above. They can be described as a large structural skeleton visible in the interior of a property, and are typically seen in barn conversions. This type of frame is instantly recognisable as it reduces the need for additional materials and produces what many would describe as a beautiful finish. The majority of oak framed buildings use this frame.
Even though all these frames have been used in construction, only the post and beam frames will be used for a wooden structure. This is because the beams of the building will be visible, and so ideally a high-quality wood (like oak) will need to be used, mostly because it is the most aesthetically pleasing wood, but also because it has great functionality. It is the high-quality finish that oak provides that attracts people to a wooden framed building in the first place. As already mentioned, the elegant appearance that an oak framed building creates is not strictly limited to larger buildings and barn conversions. It is now more commonly seen in small extensions and garages.
One advantage of a wooden framed garage is that they may not need planning permission if they can meet requirements. These requirements include a surface area that measures less than 30m2, and an external ridge height that is less than 4 meters. It is always a good idea to double check this with your local council, but this is just one of many reasons why more people are being drawn to these garages. Another advantage is the fact that they are often built with a second storey. This is a great way to create additional space, while having the ability to be used as another room. Alternatively, a garage can be made with a number of bays so that more than one car can park there. Regardless of the reason, this is something to consider as oak framed garages will typically be created to meet bespoke requirements, as will houses and most developments that use oak structures.
Although oak provides excellent attributes like durability, density and a low permeability, it is mainly used for the exceptional appearance. Unfortunately, as it’s a relatively rare and quite expensive, it is not commonly used in construction. However, it can be seen on some unique bespoke creations that really stand out.
Structures for Oak Framed Buildings
Typically, oak is used for houses and garages, but there are other structures that can be created. For example:
Home offices - like garages, timber-framed home offices may not always need planning permission. They will have to meet certain requirements like being elevated from the ground through the use of Staddle stones, but this can avoid arduous planning permission proceedings. In addition to this, an oak framed home office can add a significant amount of value to your property.
Smoking shelters - since the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007, many pubs, clubs, and restaurants has decided to use these shelters to cater for those who smoke. Having an elegantly created oak smoking shelter will not only be able to meet customers’ needs, but it will also complement the existing premises.
Stables - for most horse owners, providing the right accommodation for their animal is an absolute must. Bespoke oak designs will not only look appealing, but they can be created in “U” shaped designs that accommodate everything from emergency exits to additional hay storage.
Indoor swimming pools – this type of swimming pool will need an enclosure to protect it from the elements. Oak framed enclosures will not damage when exposed to water vapour or moisture.
As we can see there is more to oak framed structures than just houses and extensions. Any of the constructions above will be able to incorporate an oak frame easily. However, regardless of the role that this structure will play, all oak framed developments will usually be formed in the same way. This will involve the use of computer aided design (CAD) to create an accurate plan, which will then be followed by traditional carpentry techniques. This blends modern technology with tried and tested building methods to create a structure, but above all, it creates a breath-taking effect.