Frequently Asked questions
What are the main features of an oak frame?
Although oak is an immensely strong and durable timber, one of the clearest and most common features of a green oak frame is that as it dries, it moves and changes shape across the width of the beam. This changing of the wood actually strengthens the frame as well as adding charm and individuality to the building. Splits are expected to appear but do not cause any structural issues.
How long does an oak framed building last?
In the UK we are lucky enough to be familiar with oak framed buildings that date back many centuries. As craftsmen, there is a particular magic in creating a structure that will still be standing for many generations to come. Oak is one of the few materials that give us that opportunity.
What are the environmental benefits to using oak ?
An oak frame is one of the greenest building techniques available. Compared to materials such as metal or plastic, timber requires only a fraction of the energy in its production. For example, a steel beam requires 10 times the production energy of the equivalent timber beam. Our suppliers provide us timber from a source that promotes and aids sustainable forestry, through a formal chain of custody.
The vast majority of the high-grade oak we use for framing is sourced in France where correct forestry management has been in practise for hundreds of years. Encouraging straight and relatively defect-free quality oak trees. The trees are thinned, cropped and re-planted on a long-term cycle providing vast areas of sustainable forest.
We have in the past been asked to supply frames in home grown timber and where possible we try to achieve this but it is heavily dependent on the quality of timber available. However, with the relatively recent growth in the oak framing industry there has been a small increase in the number of managed oak plantations in the UK.
Other species of home grown timber are available to us in sufficient quality for framing such as Douglas Fir, Larch and Elm.
You only get one opportunity to get the groundworks right, so ensuring this is done well is essential.
Ensure to enlist a professional to undertake the groundworks. In some cases we can provide details of suitable contractors and can provide details of the foundations required for your particular oak frame.
How expensive is an oak frame?
There are certainly cheaper ways of building a house or an extension than using an oak frame. However, much of the cost of the final build is not to do with the frame itself, but other factors such as lighting to underfloor heating, doors etc.
Building and extending with oak have become very fashionable of late and there are many companies who will undertake part or all of the process for you. Using a ‘turnkey’ supplier is probably the most expensive route and this is not something Alba offer as we focus our expertise on the frame itself.
What is true, is that however you plan to undertake your oak frame building project, it is worthwhile becomming familar with the process. Building in oak is something that will add value to your property in a way that other materials simply cannot do.
Every project is different. A carport will be a different cost to a garden room or an entire house. We can help guide you through the process and give a reasonable indicator of your likely costs at an early stage of the project.
The frame is produced in the workshop as agreed in the specification. i.e. usually with a planed finish. Subsequent cosmetic marks acquired during delivery and installation are inevitable.
There are a variety of options for finishing the surface of the timbers of your oak frame:
- A bandsawn finish
- A planed finish
- An oiled finish
- A lime wash finish
We are happy to show examples of each and the logistics at our workshops.
if you are considering an oak frame