Masonry walls have long been the favoured method of construction in the UK, with approximately 70% of all new self-builds using this technique. However, timber frames are becoming more popular with almost 22% of new homes being built using this method - mainly in Scotland. There are pros and cons for both construction methods but which is better for you?
Timber frames are made to measure off-site and once brought on-site can go up in a matter of days. This process is much quicker than building masonry walls on-site as you have to allow for the time of construction and drying period. Bad weather can also cause delays in masonry building as bricks can’t be laid in heavy rain or below freezing temperatures. However, although it is faster to put up timber frames there is a long lead time associated with the design before it is brought on-site - this should be considered.
The construction cost is slightly more expensive using timber as there are less experienced architects and builders in this field and therefore they are able to increase their prices. Another factor to consider is the price of suppliers; pre-designed timber kits are relatively expensive in comparison with buying bricks. Conversely, this can be redeemed as it is thought the time saved putting up timber frames and cutting the length of the development overall can bring the overhead and finance costs. Overall there isn’t much difference in cost between the two materials.
A top advantage building with masonry is that the material is so common you will be able to find the items you require in your local builder’s merchant. All building workers will be familiar with masonry techniques. The only area where you might find it reasonably easy to source timber and find experienced builders of this material is in Scotland where it’s used more often.
Heavy, dense material, like masonry, is good for shielding against sound. But in detached housing most of the noise transpires through the floors and most masonry homes have intermediate timber flooring, in this case there is not much difference.
FSC sourced timber is very eco-friendly – it’s renewable, organic, non-toxic and carbon neutral.
In summary, there isn’t much difference in price between the two methods. Furthermore, if you are concerned about saving time and cost during the build you may want to consider timber frames. However, it is easier to source masonry materials and find experienced, building professionals in this field. If you are aiming to create an eco-friendly house, FSC timber might be the best choice for you.