Timber has been known throughout human history for various purposes. One of its essential purposes is for construction. Timber structures are structures that use timber from different types of trees in order to construct houses, bridges……etc. Timber can be used to either construct the whole structure or just part of it as a frame. Timber framing and “post-and-beam” construction are traditional methods of building with heavy timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs. If the structural frame of load-bearing timber is left exposed on the exterior of the building it may be referred to as half-timbered, and in many cases the infill between timbers will be used for decorative effect.
There are several types of timber structures.
- Timber Frame: in this structure, lightweight walls are constituted by frames of element in timber, with uprights and crosspieces, which may differ in size. These frames are closed on both sides with panels of various types of materials. The space between the elements of the frame is filled with insulation that is made of natural materials.
- Timber skeleton structures: in this structure, the supporting structure is composed of beams and pillars, placed at determined distances. This allows a freer configuration of the facades and walls of partition. The elements of the supporting structure are generally left exposed to highlight the wood-frame structure. The walls can be made of prefabricated elements made of wood or glass (even a combination of materials).
- Solid Timber Construction: The structures in solid timber are divided into two categories: those with walls made of solid wood beams, circular section and those with walls of solid wood panels nailed or glued. The walls are usually insulated on the one hand, and closed with a panel. The exterior walls can be protected from the external by plastering or covering them with a brick façade.
There are different types of wood we can use for timber construction. The most common ones are:- oak, douglas fir, larch, sweet chestnut, pine, and glulam. In trying to choose which types of wood to use there are a number of factors we need to consider like the look and feel of the timber, the cost, and availability, and it’s structural properties.