For centuries, oak has been admired for its strength and endurance. The decades-old oak-frame barns bear witness to the durable and stable properties of this material, and may explain why oak framing is enjoying a steady renaissance.
As a nation, we have evolved to become more eco-conscious, being mindful of how the environment is affected by the lifestyle choices we make. The building and construction industry is being particularly proactive for raising awareness of the more sustainable solutions on offer.
In construction, Green oak has the lowest embodied energy of any primary building material. But it’s not the oak alone that carries significant eco-benefits. Oak framed buildings themselves are dry builds and therefore save gallons of water normally used on a building site. What’s more, the natural insulation properties of Green oak reduce the need for additional heating during colder months.
Aside from oak’s inherent environmental benefits, the appearance of this material is stunning. Even as time goes by, the oak structure develops a beautiful silver patina that then blends seamlessly into its natural surroundings.
Oak frames have many advantages from a design point of view. For example, as a structural frame it doesn’t require load-bearing walls, allowing for large open spaces. The frame loses its moisture over time and the dried wood shrinks the joints to support and stabilise the strength of the overall structure, meaning the build has an unparalleled lifespan compared to brick or steel – it can be erected substantially quicker too.
Building with oak essentially contributes to the rising popularity of off-site construction. There is an added level of quality and assurance that comes with this method of manufacturing. If you’re choosing your project from a pre-determined design, then you will have peace of mind of the result. The accuracy and consistency of wet build techniques – and the tradesmen behind them - come with a certain level of risk. Further still, on-site building works are disruptive and the build’s timeline is often determined by the weather. When building oak frames off-site, the components are manufactured in a carefully controlled environment, delivered to site when stated and are ready to be assembled in a matter of days.
Darren Hook has been in the Oak Framed Building industry for over 30 years. He took over the business from his father and has been the driving force behind acquiring Trada Q-Mark certification. He has a lifelong love for traditional and sustainable building methods.