When you buy timber for a house frame, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to pick green timber or dried timber. Essentially, green timber is wood that has been cut recently and given no opportunity to age, while dried timber has been left to season, toughening up and losing some of its moisture content in the process.
Many people assume that dried timber is preferable for house frames, but this is not often the case, and here are just a few reasons why.
Easier to Cut
You’d imagine that the best framing material would be the one that’s toughest, but such thinking neglects to consider the actual building phase. Your timber will need to be cut and shaped precisely, and green oak is a lot easier to work with than seasoned timber. As such, workmanship isn’t as taxing, and labour often costs significantly less than with dried timber.
It isn’t just labour costs that are going to fall when you use green timber. The cost of the timber itself should be lower because it hasn’t been seasoned. That seasoning process takes time, and the wood needs to be looked after throughout to prevent warping. Since that takes up time and resources, dried timber needs to be priced a little higher.
Is dried timber stronger than green timber? Yes. Does dried timber create stronger frames than green timber? No. That might sound odd, but what you need to learn is that green oak will shrink slightly as it ages. Designers and contractors take this into account, making sure shrinkage will draw the frame together more tightly. At the end of the day, a timber frame that has gone from green to dried will be tougher than one that started dry. In fact, seasoned oak often suffers from fissures while it is being worked because it isn’t as flexible.
If any part of the frame is going to be exposed, you’ll be more pleased than ever that you went with green timber. You’ll be able to see your timber age from fresh and brilliant to seasoned and dark, a process that adds perceptibly to the property’s personality.