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Timber framed house - pros and cons?

PepPep Posts: 501
edited November 2017 in The cake stop
A house we are interested in buying, here in northern Germany, is constructed with a timber frame, "scandinavian style" as the agent put it.

From the look, outside or inside, you can't tell is not bricks and mortar.
I am rather disturbed by the facts that 1) neither the vendor nor the agent mentioned it, I learnt it by pure chance from a common friend, and 2) although the house is only 1yr old they want to sell already (the owner occupier is a pro musician, and they complain about a buzz in the house, it appeared very silent when we viewed it on a Sat afternoon).

After a little of Google research, I now wonder about 1) the future resale value, 2) and the natural danger like rot and termites.
I am not scared by the risk of fire.

Any of you has real knowledge about the pros and cons of wooden house compared to bricks and mortar?
Thanks,

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Are there any big bad wolves in the area ?
  • webboowebboo Posts: 4,262
    Having owned an old stone cottage that had a new timber framed annex and what I discovered about its construction. I would want to now who built it and to what specification.
    Also if it's only a year old should it not have some sort of guarantee or be covered by building regulations.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 22,320
    Pep wrote:
    A house we are interested in buying, here in northern Germany, is constructed with a timber frame, "scandinavian style" as the agent put it.

    From the look, outside or inside, you can't tell is not bricks and mortar.
    I am rather disturbed by the facts that 1) neither the vendor nor the agent mentioned it, I learnt it by pure chance from a common friend, and 2) although the house is only 1yr old they want to sell already (the owner occupier is a pro musician, and they complain about a buzz in the house, it appeared very silent when we viewed it on a Sat afternoon).

    After a little of Google research, I now wonder about 1) the future resale value, 2) and the natural danger like rot and termites.
    I am not scared by the risk of fire.

    Any of you has real knowledge about the pros and cons of wooden house compared to bricks and mortar?
    Thanks,

    Bricks and mortar houses have an awful lot of timber in them anyway in the floors, internal walls and roof. A lot of new-build houses in the UK are also fully timber-framed with just an external cladding of brick. There's no inherent reason why a properly constructed timber framed house is more at risk from decay than one with masonry walls. Timber construction is lighter than masonry, so will have a different acoustic quality, but if that's not an issue then nothing to worry about. Also check for cheap light fittings - fluorescent or anything with a transformer - as these can buzz. If it is only a year old, the vendor should be able to provide full documentation from the original developer.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,544
    Timber frame construction is a legitimate method of building a house. Do all the checks you'd do for a bricks and mortar house.
    Ben

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  • robert88robert88 Posts: 2,696
    Once lived in a timber framed house in E. Anglia. It looked like a lot of of US timber-framed houses in New England (clapboard houses) and was built in 1828. We didn't have any problems with it.
  • ProssPross Posts: 31,636
    I wouldn't have an issue with a one year old timber framed house. Modern timber construction materials in a country like Germany should be high quality and if it's manufactured off site the quality control should be very good. Many UK new builds are timber framed, as you've said you wouldn't notice in most cases. I'd assumed they were common place in Germany which may be the reason no-one bothered mentioning it.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,032
    Pep wrote:
    A house we are interested in buying, here in northern Germany, is constructed with a timber frame, "scandinavian style" as the agent put it.

    From the look, outside or inside, you can't tell is not bricks and mortar.
    I am rather disturbed by the facts that 1) neither the vendor nor the agent mentioned it, I learnt it by pure chance from a common friend, and 2) although the house is only 1yr old they want to sell already (the owner occupier is a pro musician, and they complain about a buzz in the house, it appeared very silent when we viewed it on a Sat afternoon).
    After a little of Google research, I now wonder about 1) the future resale value, 2) and the natural danger like rot and termites.
    I am not scared by the risk of fire.
    Any of you has real knowledge about the pros and cons of wooden house compared to bricks and mortar?
    Thanks,

    Tinnitus? :lol:

    German house construction regs should be way higher than ours, you need local advice.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    When my colleague was having his house extended / rebuilt near Düsseldorf his British architect said the difference between UK and Germany was that in the UK we design houses to last 50 years and then expect them to last 100, while in Germany they design them to last 100 years then rebuild them after 50. Having spent a lot of time in Germany I suspect that’s a pretty good description. I’d be confident that something built recently to German standards would be a safe enough bet. You won’t be getting termites in northern Germany either.
    Vast swathes of the USA have housing constructed almost entirely out of timber, and also to a very high standard
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,934
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Timber frame construction is a legitimate method of building a house. Do all the checks you'd do for a bricks and mortar house.

    This. 75% of new houses in Scotland are timber framed these days, it's not that unusual. I'd imagine the figure for europe is about that level or higher.

    My first thought on the buzz aspect, if he is a professional musician then he could easily be picking up 'buzz' whilst recording that isn't noticeable at all normally, it might be a hum on the track from electrical things elsewhere in the house which are less inhibited by the timber
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Timber frame construction is a legitimate method of building a house. Do all the checks you'd do for a bricks and mortar house.


    Sorry I was wrong in writing. It's not just the frame that it's timber, it's the whole house that is wood, there are NO bricks. There is drywall, tough. You can see only plaster, inside or out.
    HaydenM wrote:
    if he is a professional musician then he could easily be picking up 'buzz' whilst recording that isn't noticeable at all normally

    That's exactly how the agent put it.
    Maybe the noise comes from the timber moving/settling. Apparently timber moves a lot, especially at the beginning, eventually it kind of settles.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    This one seems to be lasting OK.

    timber-frame-building-with-traditional-lime-wash-built-circa-1529-AE5Y6C.jpg
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Pep wrote:
    Ben6899 wrote:
    Timber frame construction is a legitimate method of building a house. Do all the checks you'd do for a bricks and mortar house.


    Sorry I was wrong in writing. It's not just the frame that it's timber, it's the whole house that is wood, there are NO bricks. There is drywall, tough. You can see only plaster, inside or out.
    HaydenM wrote:
    if he is a professional musician then he could easily be picking up 'buzz' whilst recording that isn't noticeable at all normally

    That's exactly how the agent put it.
    Maybe the noise comes from the timber moving/settling. Apparently timber moves a lot, especially at the beginning, eventually it kind of settles.

    I wouldn't be at all concerned about the musician's "buzz". I used to live in a very quiet area out in the sticks a bit, and bought a *very* expensive turntable. Got it home, and immediately noticed a hum from the motor - could hear it from across the room. Took it straight back, and in the shop again (even in an acoustically insulated room) could not hear a damned thing wrong. It was only noticeable in the absolute silence out in the boonies...

    If your prospective house is in a similar quiet area, you will notice background noises you never imagined were there. Critters, creaking stuff, spooky things.... :D

    Conversely, I've moved from a noisy house to a dead quiet one and couldn't sleep for weeks till I got used to the lack of background white noise going on...
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • I work in construction, primarily residential. We build both traditional and timber framed properties.

    I'd have no hesitation in buying a timber framed house, they perform extremely well in terms of insulation, sound proofing and longevity. If I were building a new house for myself I would go timber framed all day long

    As above if you look at North America and Northern Europe/Scandinavia 90% of the housing stock is timber frame.
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  • Lol, Rolf F was going to post the same, plenty of Tudor buildings in the UK, that would be built circa 1550-1600 and still standing
    Conversely my 1930 brick built house had chronic woodworm in the ground floor when we moved in
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Lol, Rolf F was going to post the same, plenty of Tudor buildings in the UK, that would be built circa 1550-1600 and still standing
    Conversely my 1930 brick built house had chronic woodworm in the ground floor when we moved in

    To be fair, there'll be plenty of woodworm in the ancient houses of Clare. And I still get the odd bit of it in my 1930s house - but that's probably because it gets a bit cold in winter. A modern timber frame house should be pretty much immune from woodworm due to efficient heating and insulation. Woodworm doesn't like it warm and dry.

    My objection to a modern house wouldn't be so much the materials but the likely build quality!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • PepPep Posts: 501
    Rolf F wrote:
    My objection to a modern house wouldn't be so much the materials but the likely build quality!

    Fair point, which others also made.
    But how to judge the quality? None of the wood visible, only the plaster can be seen. Even if I hire a surveyor, I imagine without seen the hidden wood he won't be able to say much...
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Pep wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    My objection to a modern house wouldn't be so much the materials but the likely build quality!

    Fair point, which others also made.
    But how to judge the quality? None of the wood visible, only the plaster can be seen. Even if I hire a surveyor, I imagine without seen the hidden wood he won't be able to say much...

    Presumably the builder will have an online reputation?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 9,544
    Pep wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    My objection to a modern house wouldn't be so much the materials but the likely build quality!

    Fair point, which others also made.
    But how to judge the quality? None of the wood visible, only the plaster can be seen. Even if I hire a surveyor, I imagine without seen the hidden wood he won't be able to say much...

    It was built in Germany. It'll be fine.
    Ben

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  • Pep wrote:
    But how to judge the quality? None of the wood visible, only the plaster can be seen. Even if I hire a surveyor, I imagine without seen the hidden wood he won't be able to say much...

    You could say exactly the same about a masonry built construction. You can't see if they have used the correct grade of lintel, have they used padstones, is the insulation placed properly in the cavity, have they used the correct type and quantity of wall ties? Joists/trusses are they stress graded, treated have they used correct hangers? Has the plumber drilled loads of holes in them and compromised the integrity? etc etc

    You have to rely on Building Control (or whatever the german equivalent is) to have checked that it is built to the required standard
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  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 22,320
    Rolf F wrote:
    Lol, Rolf F was going to post the same, plenty of Tudor buildings in the UK, that would be built circa 1550-1600 and still standing
    Conversely my 1930 brick built house had chronic woodworm in the ground floor when we moved in

    To be fair, there'll be plenty of woodworm in the ancient houses of Clare. And I still get the odd bit of it in my 1930s house - but that's probably because it gets a bit cold in winter. A modern timber frame house should be pretty much immune from woodworm due to efficient heating and insulation. Woodworm doesn't like it warm and dry.

    My objection to a modern house wouldn't be so much the materials but the likely build quality!

    Hah. Having spent the past 16 years picking apart old buildings I can confirm that censored build quality is a long and distinguished tradition. A form of natural selection has just removed the really bad old buildings.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • Houses here (USA) are rarely without timber/lumber in construction. It is a common requirement for a termite inspection with an "all clear" letter prior to a sale/purchase. It is rare to see a home here that is not treated or using "termite traps" as well as the owner having periodic inspections. My current home has cedar siding as well as lumber/timber framing...the siding requires a great deal more upkeep than my previous homes with brick facade...that in my view is the downside to an all wood construction. This house, however, has a lower utility bill than the others despite being quite a bit larger (that may be due to the insulation package).
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    If you don't like the wooden frame then just take it out.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
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