Achieving thermal comfort within a timber frame building

Timber housing has long been an iconic feature of cold environments. The Nordic nations, Canada and Switzerland are just some of the countries best-known for their beautiful and snug timber architecture. But timber frames also absorb less heat than masonry counterparts, so they also help keep you cool all summer.

According to the NBS, the timber frame building market in the UK is growing, particularly when it comes to housing.

This is because timber offers a fantastic range of options when it comes to insulating structures, and can ensure that your building achieves zero CO2 emissions status. That is going to be key in a few years’ time when carbon neutral building will become compulsory.

So how do you achieve perfect thermal comfort with a timber frame?


Using timber can help keep your walls thin while keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One way to make maximum use of your timber walls is to use 140mm external wall studs. In addition to insulating the cavity between the studs, you should also place insulating materials between two timber wall leaves.

Quality insulation materials

Technologically-advanced breather membranes have been developed to block out infrared radiation and regulate temperature, and are a great way to ensure zero heat loss.

Ensuring membranes are airtight as well as using reflective vapour control levels are also useful techniques, again, according to the NBS You can then clad your frame using bricks, but choosing timber or brick slips here will achieve even thinner walls, helping you save space. .

Novel insulation products, reflective vapour control layers and airtight membranes also help deliver better insulation results.

Note: just as you can insulate your walls, you can also insulate wooden subfloors. Be sure to use highly fire retardant materials.

Share the warmth

If you can’t achieve effective insulation with air tightness alone, one option is to install a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system (MVHR). This will extract air from areas of a building that are usually warmer, such as kitchens, bathrooms and smaller spaces, and conduct it through an exchanger. The result is fresh, incoming air that is warmed, using very little energy.

Environmental benefits

Apart from helping you save on your energy bills and CO2 emissions, timber frame buildings rely on strong production lines. Using timber won’t just be efficient to organise and reduce construction site waste; it is also sustainable when responsibly sourced.

With new building regulations coming up, and the enviable quality you can achieve in timber structures, timber frame buildings are set to continue growing in popularity in Great Britain.

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