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Why timber frame makes sense for self builders

Chris Bates explains the pros and cons of this speedy structural system, and why it could be a good fit for your project

Timber frame is hugely popular among self builders, offering a raft of benefits that can help you achieve an efficient, attractive dream home on time and on budget – but it’s not right for everyone. Here’s what you need to know.

What is timber frame?

Fundamentally, this system consists of storey-height timber panels. These are made up of a network of vertical studs and horizontal noggins, which are sheathed on either side with a sheet material (such as OSB – oriented strandboard) to create a strong walling element.

The space between the studs is packed with insulation, which is either added on site or in the factory, depending on whether you go for open or closed panels. On most projects, you’ll also buy the roof structure, intermediate floors and internal partitions from the same supplier – so you get a neat whole-house kit for your site team to erect.

What are the advantages?

The final decision on structural systems will come down to exactly how they match up to your project profile. Your design team will be well placed to help you make that call, but there are plenty of reasons to consider timber frame:

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About Build It

The July edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A modern eco home built for just £77,000 (page 44) • Top flooring options (page 65) • Solar PV & battery storage (page 68) • Sliding doors vs bifolds (page 73) • 10 top tips for self builders (page 101) • Design ideas for awkward plots (page 110) … and more!