Frequently Asked Questions
Common questions about bespoke oak buildings
Below are some commonly asked questions which we receive about oak framed buildings – and our specialist answers. If you do not see the question you want to ask then please call us. We look forward to talking to you.
How do you ensure that the oak frame building is watertight and wind tight, when oak can shrink?
Shrinkage in oak simply has to be planned for and managed – there are oak buildings which are hundreds of years old, showing that this can be achieved without a problem. In many respects, timber is no different from any other building material: all building materials expand and contract to some degree. In fact, with a change of heat, timber expands and contracts less than steel. So, the fact that oak can shrink doesn’t matter, as long as you know how it is going to shrink and that you accommodate this – it’s all in the detailing (whether that’s in the interface detailing or the joints). It’s not a problem to accommodate shrinkage so that the structure and aesthetics of the frame is maintained over time.
Does it take a long time to build an oak frame, especially since you work by hand?
Most of our oak frames are constructed off site, so, the construction of an oak frame on site is very fast – often just a few days.
How long will the oak frame building last?
This is a question which no one can answer, any more than they could with other building materials. What we do know is that oak frames houses have a proven history of lasting, in very good condition, for hundreds of years. If an oak frame is looked after, there is no reason why this shouldn’t be the case – the only reason an oak frame can be compromised is if it gets damp and is allowed to remain so.
How ecologically friendly is my building?
Very. A green oak frame (and frames made from other wood) takes less ‘embodied energy’ (the amount of energy used to extract, process, fabricate and build something) than most other building materials, so using oak is a very sound ecological choice. Of course, there is the concern that we are using a finite resource – but, at Nationwide Oak Developments, we plant up to ten trees for every one used. The typical age of the trees we fell is around forty to fifty years – since trees make their largest contribution to the environment in their first twenty years, there is no environmental advantage to felling older trees. All of our oak comes from sustainable sources.
What about the fire risk?
Oak frames perform extraordinarily well during a fire and don’t represent a specific fire risk. The reason for this is that once large section timber chars, the rate at which it can burn reduces massively. Even if an oak framed building has been burned significantly, it is usually the oak frame which survives! Also, oak retains much of its structural strength during a fire, whereas materials such as steel twist and buckle. After a fire, it’s not unusual for an oak framed building to be restored, where a steel-framed building may have to be scrapped. Unlike steel, large section timber does not need to be fire-engineered or fire-protected to survive a fire. For these reasons, timber is often the building material of choice in areas of the world where there is a greater fire risk.
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Nationwide Oak Developments
Enville Hall Gardens
Landline - 01384 877747
Fax - 01384 878704
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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