advice please on timer house

  sunnystaines 20:56 18 Apr 2011
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as part of our ongoing ups and downs in house hunting

going to look at a nice bungalow on a nice location but its a 1920's timber built bungalow.

do i need to be weary about anything if we put an offer in? any drawbacks with this sort of build other than getting a full survey.

  Bingalau 20:59 18 Apr 2011

Look out for woodlice as I imagine they would indicate lots of dampness. Get a full survey.

  lotvic 21:43 18 Apr 2011

Lots of drawbacks. apart from it's age 91 years Have you considered the problems of Insulation? more info on this problem from people who live in them ClickHere

  Woolwell 22:13 18 Apr 2011

When it was built it was probably not expected to last as long as it has. Wet rot could be the main enemy.

I don't think any cavity wall insulation is wise with timber frame. There are other methods of insulation.

Have you thought of the long term maintenance? Frequent painting, etc.

On the other hand I know of a timber bungalow in a high, exposed location which is really sound and nice.

  Forum Editor 22:43 18 Apr 2011

Some of the oldest buildings in Britain are timber-framed, and millions of American and Scandanavian homes are too. Timber is an inherently sound building material.

The problems are wet and dry rot - of which dry rot is by far the most frightening. Dry rot is the exact opposite of dry in fact - to grow it needs a constant supply of moisture and a lack of ventilation. Put timber in those conditions and eventually you'll have dry rot.

If you expose timber to the air it can be repeatedly soaked without too much harm coming to it, as long as it dries out between soakings. Obviously some timbers - like some pinewoods - are more prone to decay than others. Oak is extremely durable, and when used for timber house framing it can last for centuries. My son lives in a timber-framed house that is (in parts) over 500 years old, and the exposed oak is perfectly sound.

Your bungalow will have been constructed from well-seasoned timber, but there may not have been enough attention given to protecting the framing at its most vulnerable points - where the framing meets the foundation. Get that checked by an expert, because remedial work can be extremely expensive.

Otherwise, insulation will be a issue, as mentioned by others. Thermal movement in houses of this type can result in constant cracking on internal decorative surfaces, and it's also important to check the structure where floor joists meet the walls. Movement in the structure can result in joists being insufficiently well supported by the framing, although this can be remedied fairly easily. A good surveyor will be your closest ally with this type of building - if your offer is accepted you shouldn't dream of proceeding to exchange without a full survey.

  woodchip 22:53 18 Apr 2011

From a Ex Joiner, Do not be afraid of timber buildings. They are returning to the system but in a modern Way. Timber is a Better insulation Not for Smokers, if its Cedar it will last virtually forever, Rot and Insect proof

Copy Paste this link into your browser address bar, as Web page is not fully loading to the Link icon http://www.logandcedarhomes.co.uk/

  woodchip 22:59 18 Apr 2011

Also check out this Google Web Page link text

  Forum Editor 23:12 18 Apr 2011

Listen to woodchip

With a name like that his advice has got to be good.

Cedar isn't actually rot-proof, it's rot resistant; give it the wrong conditions and it will rot just like any other timber. In America, where it's widely used for roofing and cladding there have been many instances of bad construction methods leading to Western Red Cedar (by far the most common construction type) rotting through in as few as 6 years.

Cedar isn't used for main structural timbers in any case - it's limited to roofing shingles and external wall cladding. It looks great, weathers beautifully, and is very easy to work with. You won't find it in a 1920s English bungalow however. The timber used to construct that will almost certainly have come from Scandanavia.

  spuds 00:31 19 Apr 2011

Is the property in a conservation area or a 'listed' building. If so, or you are not sure, then check with the local council for further advice.

  sunnystaines 07:52 19 Apr 2011

thanks for all the advice, not been to the house yet going later today, got plenty of questions to ask, if you have any more advice please continue to post.

i always wondered why in the tornado areas of america they build house's of wood instead of brick then wonder why they get shreded, can helping thinking about the 3 pigs when i see the devestation on the news, perhaps there is good reason i am not aware of.

  sunnystaines 14:48 19 Apr 2011
Answer

house was a none starter despite good pictures it was delapadated.

but been a good learning curve, thanks again to all that posted.

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