Finally you have decided to build a wooden house but one more dilemma is waiting: should you build a timber frame construction or a log home? Feeling confused about the difference? Do not worry, we will try to explain the main differences between the two.
Interior finishing: wood versus flush white walls
The first question that you must ask is: what would you like to see in the interior: white, flush plasterboard walls, or wood?
Walls build-up differences
Now let’s talk about the technical part: how are these houses built up. The main difference is the walls construction.
Timber frame house walls are built from vertical timber beams at 400 – 600 mm separation. The spaces between beams are filled with insulation material, plus a few layers of membranes to stop wind and humidity.
Log house main are built from laminated wooden logs. The thickness of logs can vary between 80-200 mm, the common thickness is 120 mm. Nowadays houses have high requirements for thermal performance, for this reason on the exterior of logs we add extra insulation layers with membranes.
What is the difference from the exterior?
If you want to see wood from the exterior, then you will not see any difference between a timber frame house and a log house. The exterior finishing can be identical, and you will see the difference only when you are inside.
If you prefer to see stone or render finishing from the exterior or mix it with wooden elements – then you should go for a timber frame construction.
How does your house design influence your choice?
Timber frame houses give you more flexibility to realise ambitious designs than log houses. If you want one facade to be built from glass, or if you have big spans without any support – a timber frame system is more suitable.
Log houses are built from laminated wood, which is known to be a very strong material. It is possible to design impressive homes, but with some design compromises.
Of course the best approach would be to consult with a professional about the design compatibility with the building technique. It is always possible to find a compromise, for example if you really love to see wood there is one more quite new technique – CLT wood (cross laminated timber).
Is a timber frame house cheaper than a log house?
There are many factors which influence the price, but we can say that in the end for the same quality materials you pay the same. For example, log houses have a very good thermal stability during the hot season and your house will stay cool during summer days. Whereas if you want to have same good properties in a timber frame house, you should use wood fiber insulation instead of glass wool. Wood fiber insulation is slightly more expensive than glass wool, so we come at the same cost level for a wall.
Which construction type will last longer?
Very often people think that wooden houses will not last long. With nowadays technologies, timber frame or log houses are built for a few generations. They have high building standards for wind, snow loads, earthquakes, or fire resistance.
The main rule is – never look for the cheapest offer or materials. For example, if you build house from 40 mm tiny logs instead of 120 mm logs, it will have consequences for the house stability. Also do not save costs on paints for the exterior, this is the main key for a longer wood lifetime.