Constructing homes with the use of timber framing and supports has been done for centuries, and while some modern architects may find using such support and framing daunting, there are those who understand that they have their real merits as well. Oak wood is indeed an optimum choice because of many reasons, primarily because of its durability and strength, but oak is not as widely used today as steel for framing and support simply because it takes a longer time to harvest oak wood than, say, widely available steel. But if you have oak beams that have been around for decades or even hundreds of years, you should definitely be proud of this particular element and should make an effort to preserve it if you can. But why is oak wood a great addition to any structure, and why does it add value to any property? Here’s everything you should know about the structural strength of oak wood.
- An immense strength-to-weight ratio
In various stress tests, it has been shown that steel is about three times stronger compared to green oak. But you also have to remember that steel is a lot heavier – in fact, it is ten times as heavy as dried oak. Since this is the case, oak gives you a much lighter structure or building, and this is especially good for foundations that do not have the best – or have weak – ground conditions.
- Grading for oak strength
Oak is additionally graded for its strength, and this can be done in two ways: visually or with a machine. But each oak tree will be different from the next, so how can you classify timber? There are actually various properties that can determine the grade of the timber, such as stiffness, density, and strength. These various properties can be derived from the knots of the wood and its grain as well as its origin and species. It can be said that oak wood has a high grading, particularly when it comes to safety and stability.
- Perfect for open-plan designs
Since oak is secure, stable, and strong, the frame can carry a load in an effortless manner, and it doesn’t need various walls that can bear the load. With this, you can have a beautiful open-plan design for your space, and these often come with vaulted ceilings (or high) ceilings as well, as evidenced by older homes and buildings with oak beams that have undergone beam renovation to restore their original look and character. Oak frames may be a classic and traditional design and support element, but they are still being used today in modern open-plan spaces since they are also energy-efficient and sustainable.
- An energy-efficient appeal
When you compare oak framing to other construction methods for framing, oak beams and frames pair well with roof as well as wall panel insulation. When the oak beams and frames are already installed inside the structure, you can easily apply panels to enhance thermal insulation (like SIPS), which can fit on the frame’s outside, and this can then create a really energy-efficient, uninterrupted space. On top of this, you can place a waterproof membrane as well as external cladding, and on the interior, oak frames or beams can be exposed but still incorporate a void and an interior wall cover.