Wooden house: From a tree to a home

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A simple wooden house can be one of the most cost-effective ways to build your home. Additionally, it can be designed and built to your specifications, for the maximum amount of comfort and coziness. We all dream of having a log cabin somewhere next to a lake, in a forest or on the beach. Now is your chance to do it. You can construct a home built solely from wood.

This week, we are looking at all the elements in a home that can be built with wood.

What are the benefits of a timber home?

Timber homes are cost-effective and relatively easy to build. A timber home can be built quicker than most other traditional homes. They are environmentally friendly and ideal for most climates due to their insulating abilities.

The insulation will protect against heat and cold. Therefore, in the long run, you can save a lot of money on temperature control as the wood is perfect at keeping the heat inside when it is cold outside and vice versa.

Wooden House

Furthermore, timber is an excellent sound absorber. A house built with wood is quiet, cozy, and creates a relaxing environment.

How much does it cost to build a wooden house in South Africa?

Costing of a timber home or woodhouse in South Africa varies considerably depending on the wood type that you use, the size of your home, and the area it is constructed in.

 According to Derek Herbert of Kwazulu-Natal-based BC Timber Homes, timber homes can be more cost-effective than traditional brick and mortar buildings due to the fact that it is less labour intensive.

 “As opposed to a conventional house, a timber home can be erected in less time and using fewer workers, which means that supervision and labour costs should be substantially lower.”

Let’s look at how different aspects of your wooden home can impact the cost.

Wood Type

When we talk about wood type, we mean hardwood or softwood. These are general terms in which we categorize different types of woods based on their density. Softwoods are less dense than hardwood. Therefore, it can scratch and dent a little bit easier than traditional hardwood

Softwoods can be used for the framing of your walls, cladding, and various mouldings that will not come into contact with abrasive movements on a day to day basis (like moving furniture). Additionally, softwood is more affordable, compared to hardwoods, and can be strengthened by applying excellent sealants that are readily available on the market.

Most common Softwood timber in South Africa: Pine

Most common Hardwood timber in South Africa: Eucalyptus (gum tree)

Always ensure that you make use of S5 Construction Grade Timber when building a home. Using sub-par wood for the construction will lead to structural problems.

Size of Wooden House

The size of your home will affect the total price of construction. When buying bulk timber from a single supplier, you can most likely get a discounted price on your timber which will bring the cost per square meter to build down. Furthermore, the interior design of your home can also affect the price.

Wide open-plan living spaces will mean that you will need less timber for the interior walls of your home. This can reduce the cost of your woodhouse, while also reducing labour costs.

Location of Wooden House Construction Project

Where you are located plays a big role in costing. If you are in an urban area, close to your timber supplier for your woodhouse, delivery costs can be kept to a minimum. However, if you are required to buy timber across borders, it can become costly.

Always speak to a reputable Timber merchant and quantity surveyor in your area for an accurate quotation on what you require.  This can save you thousands of rands on timber off-cuts and mistakes.

How long do wooden houses last?

The longevity of your timber home depends on a few things:

The weather conditions of the area in which it is built

Harsh weather conditions can affect how long your timber home lasts. When you are in an area that frequently has snowstorms, hurricanes, and other natural phenomena, your timber might not last as long as in a peaceful urban environment with no harsh weather conditions.

However, there are precautions that you can take to protect wood against harsh weather conditions.

There are multiple high-quality sealers and waxes that will preserve your wood and prevent it from getting damaged.

Weather should not deter you from building your dream timber home. That is why there are many solutions on the market that will ensure your timber home withstands different weather conditions in different areas.

The type of wood used

The type of timber you use also plays a significant role in the longevity of your wooden house. When you are investing in building a home, it is beneficial to use hardwood for some of the main areas like hardwood timber flooring, decking support beams, and other load-bearing beams.

CCA Tanalith pressure treated gum poles are ideal for this application. They are available in a wide range of sizes and lengths which makes it perfect for any size wooden home.

The quality of timber used

When you are building a home, you want it to last. Therefore, it is imperative that you buy the highest quality Construction grade timber available to you for your timber frame and support beams. It is also recommended to invest in CCA Tanalised pressure treated timber to prevent any unwanted complications like rotting, decay, and pests (termites). It is important that you make sure you are buying the right CCA Treatment class for your application. Any reputable CCA Tanalised treatment facility would be able to assist you with the correct treatment class for your application.

Are wooden houses safe?

Wooden houses are 100% safe and will not rot when you are using the correct materials.

As the owner/builder of the house, it is your responsibility to ensure that the timber you are buying is the correct quality, size, and treatment class. You also need to maintain your wooden house on a regular basis to ensure that your home stays in pristine condition for years to come.

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