29 Apr 2020

Why self-builders are opting to use oak frames for new projects

There are so many benefits that come with building with oak. Here, English Heritage Buildings has outlined eight reasons why self-builders can benefit from building with oak for a timeless and beautiful building.


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Oak is one of the most versatile and adaptable building materials in the construction industry and is popularly used by both experienced carpenters and beginner DIYers. Oak frames support the structure of your chosen building and come with several benefits, namely their durability, cost-effectiveness, character-defining features and in some cases, they can be primed for easy assembly for self-builders.

We have outlined eight great reasons why self-builders are opting to use oak frames over other materials and the benefits of doing so.

1. Oak frames are versatile

Self-builders are more likely to experiment with oak frames because of their versatility. They may have had some experience working on smaller oak-based projects, such as furniture, decking and even small sheds. Oak is a strong building option for these reasons, and you will find that many buildings can be constructed using oak frames.

2. They offer timeless aesthetics

Oak has long-remained one of the most aesthetically-pleasing building materials in the construction industry. It’s able to merge seamlessly with almost any existing property design, and you have the option to paint and decorate the timber if preferred. Over time, oak may change colour depending on the seasons, but this offers a truly authentic and natural appearance. Additionally, many oak-framed extensions are designed to be aesthetically-compatible with the rest of your property.

3. They are durable and long-lasting

Oak adapts to its environment, so while you may think the splitting and warping could be a sign of deterioration, it’s simply changing to suit its environment.

Oak is also water-resistant and requires little to no maintenance or upkeep as the seasons change. In fact some of England’s most historic buildings are made from oak, and they still stand today.

4. Oak frames can be used in kits for easy building

One of the most popular reasons oak is a preferred building material for carpenters and novice DIYers is down to its accessibility. Oak-framed kits do not require the tools or labour-intensive requirements commonly used in brick, concrete and UPVC construction. Most kits come with easy-to-follow instructions and are often suitable for any skill level (though, this depends on the type of kit you purchase).

5. Building with oak is environmentally-friendly

An obvious benefit but an important one nonetheless, oak is of course environmentally-friendly. According to the UK Timber Frame Association, timber has the lowest embodied CO2 of any commercially available building material, while delivering up to a 33% reduction in energy consumption for large detached houses.

If you are a self-builder looking to build your own oak-framed building, consider researching companies that source their timber sustainably to ensure you’re doing your bit to help the environment.

6. The frames are quick to construct

This technically depends on your skill level and the type of oak frame building you’re building. However, it is widely understood that building with oak is much faster than with other materials. As soon as you have chosen your design, the kits are typically packaged and sent to you for assembly.

An experienced carpenter could have a timber porch built in a day, and a standard two-bay garage frame would take between two to four days. Construction, of course, depends on your skill level and the pace you choose to build it.

7. Building with oak may save you money

Self-builders on a budget will be pleased to know that building with oak frames is a very cost-effective construction route for many reasons. As mentioned previously, oak requires little to no maintenance in order to remain in a healthy condition and won’t suffer the same ‘wear and tear’ that will likely affect brick, concrete and UPVC builds.

Additionally, wood can also save you money on your energy bills. Oak is a breathable material that’s able to absorb moisture and dry out in the summer. It’s also able to retain heat and improves the thermal performance of your walls and roof (if you’re building a garden building, extension or any closed-wall build).

8. And building with oak is, of course, sustainable

It’s common knowledge that oak is a sustainable material but what some may not know is that it requires virtually no upkeep or maintenance.

You can, of course, stain, paint and decorate your oak-framed building, but you will have to apply top-up coats to ensure its appearance remains the same. Other building materials do not have the adaptability properties of oak, and if damages do occur (to a UPVC porch, for example), then it will require a professional carpenter or builder to repair it, which costs money and time.

Oak is a fantastic building material and is very popular among self-builders. We’d recommend doing your research before building using oak frames to ensure you’re buying from a sustainable source.

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