Brick and Block or Timber Frame?
this is most likely one of the first questions you will ask yourself when you start thinking about your Self Build. What is the best solution for me? Brick and Block or Timber Frame?
One answer might simply be your taste. Having said that, if you are after a specific internal look a brick and block construction can easily accommodate that. Ornamental – non structural – beams are easily integrated into the build and add a very charming extra.
But let us start with one of the basic questions:
What is the difference between timber frame and brick and block?
The main difference is how the load of the house is taken. A timber frame acts as a superstructure which supports the entire building with no need for internal load-bearing walls. With a masonry structure, the load of the house is distributed over the external and internal walls.
This difference is really important when it comes to how forgiving either construction method is in terms of measurement discrepancies. With a brick and block construction these can be easily rectified on site. Whereas a timber frame construction is far less forgiving; for instance any foundations that have not been very precisely measured and constructed will invariably cause delays and additional cost to the self builder.
Also, due to the fact that the load of the house is taken by the external frame only, it is not straightforward to alter or extend the frame of an existing house and will therefore be very costly. Be it prior to the erection of the frame or afterwards.
If you are looking at the robustness of build there should really not be a great deal of difference. Timber is a strong and durable material and any well built timber frame home should last for a very long time. However, if you are going to fix anything substantial such as shelves or cupboards to a timber stud wall, it is highly recommended to fix these into the frame and not the plasterboard.
When it comes to speed of construction then a prefabricated timber frame can be quicker than a masonry construction. However, this applies only to the time it takes to construct your house on your actual site. It does not take the 0ff-site factory time needed to prefabricate the frame into account. You might look at up to 3 months prefabrication time. With a brick and block build your home will take shape as soon as the constructor is on site.
Your costs will in both cases very much depend on your specification and requirements. However, it is always advisable to make sure you fully understand what is included in the price and that, when you are going out for more than one quote for you new home, you compare like with like.