Why should you care about how your house is built?

Building a house is never easy! You have to think about how many bedrooms it will have, how many bathrooms, how big the garage should be? Will the living area be an open plan layout? With so many questions in mind, we often forget about the fundamentals, what will my house be built out of?

With other things to think about, home owners will often leave it up to the builder to decide on the material to build their home. There are so many building materials to choose from, such as concrete, steel, brick or timber and at the end of the project, the house may look the same, but those structural materials make a big difference in a world that has a serious climate change problem.

Out of all the building materials available, timber is one of the few that is renewable, recyclable, waste efficient, biodegradable, carbon positive and sourced from locally grown plantation pine. Being a natural resource, timber is not toxic and safe to handle. It also ages naturally and does not break down into environmentally-damaging materials. Keep reading to find out why timber is the best option when it comes to choosing a material to build your home with.

Safe for people and the environment

Since timber is a natural element, it is non-toxic and safe to handle. Even as it ages, it does not cause damage to the environment.

Termite resistant

Termites are a real threat to the Australian landscape. They will attack non-treated wood structures so it’s important to remember to always build with termite treated timber. Certified termite treated timber such as T2 Blue and T2 Red have a 25-year guarantee.

Keep in mind that homes built with other materials such as steel use untreated wood panels for bracing, resulting in termite issues for the home owner.

Natural insulator

Timber is a naturally insulating material, creating a barrier between heat and cold. The secret can be found in the many air pockets within the cellular structure of timber products, meaning that lightweight timber is a better insulator as thermal conductivity increases with density.

Construction design with a focus on energy efficiency through lightweight timber can greatly contribute to maximising comfort and minimising non-renewable energy use.

A natural and renewable material

Timber is one of the few natural and renewable building materials. Unlike other products, trees grow throughout a 30-year cycle and once harvested, up to 10 trees are re-planted in its place, allowing for the renewable cycle to begin again. The process involved in harvesting and re-planting forests for production ensures that timber will continue to be available.

Low in production energy

The process of manufacturing timber uses substantially less fossil fuel energy than steel, concrete, or aluminium. This means that timber leaves a very low carbon footprint.

It stores carbon

Timber contributes to the long-term reduction of carbon emissions; positively addressing climate change.

Carbon is an elemental building block of all living things on earth. As a forest grows, the trees absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and store it in their leaves, branches and trunks. Approximately half the dry weight of a living tree is carbon, stored for the life of the tree, and retained throughout the timber manufacturing process.

Structural Performance

Wood is very strong structurally. A comparison with steel and concrete shows that structural pine has a strength-to-weight ratio 20% higher than steel and is four to five times better than non-reinforced concrete in compression.

Fire Performance

Timber is a good insulator and doesn’t allow for heat to easily pass through it. This results in the timber burning in a predictable and constant temperature.

During the event of a fire, a charcoal layer will be formed on the surface of the timber and this layer will contribute to the fire resistance of the material. The protective charcoal layer created during a fire will also reduce the overall combustion rate of the timber. This enables firefighters to have a higher reaction time when it comes to responding to a fire emergency. Other materials such as steel won’t burn but will reach higher temperatures faster, resulting in the beams melting and collapsing the structure.

Building with timber helps protect the environment for future generations

The Forest and Wood Products Australia Mid-Rise Advisory Program estimates more than one million hectares of Australian softwood farms grow a combined total of between 30 and 40m3 of timber per minute. Once turned into structural wood products, it equates to between 11 and 15m3 produced every 60 seconds. This means that a house built of timber (12m3) is grown in 20 seconds! It’s also important to know that for each 1m3 of concrete replaced by 1m3 of timber, 907kg of CO2 emissions is saved from the environment.

When you are thinking about building, re-building or renovating your home, do it right. Do it with Hyne.