Assuming global warming is happening what are the potential downsides to
timber frame houses here in the UK? From what I read, global warming is
going to give us wetter more humid Summers and allow lots more creepy
crawlies from the Med to start living here (termite type things?).
Obviously I am bored this morning :-)
French properties seem to be prone to woodworm -- is this due to the
AFAIK a woodworm check is mandatory when purchasing property in
France.[Source: one of those "Place in the Sun" TV programmes]
Another point: will global warming make leylandii grow even faster?
In Germany and most of the Continent, timber frames are not treated, and
they still give guarantees of 20-30 years. Attention to detail keeps the
timber fine for 100s of years. Crawlies can be deterred quite easily.
Timber is great for the environment if home grown. The UK imports 87% of its
timber at the cost of approx' £5 billion a year. Grow it ourselves instead
of leaving the land and paying farmers to keep it idle, and the trade
balance would be greatly reduced. Forests also look nicer than boring
English fields. They could be opened up to the public too.
Growing trees in planned forests absorb far more CO2 than mature trees,so
help clean up the place. Masonry absorbs enormous amounts of energy to make.
Using cellulous insulation that protects the timbers using borax, keeps
crawlies away and gives high R values and makes the structure air-tight.
The insulation makes the house warm in winter and cool in summer.
SIP panels can have a house up in a few days. Thermal mass can be added to
timber homes by having the odd internal dense concrete block wall and a
concrete slab. on the ground floor. A sand/cement screed on TJI "I" beams
can add mass and sound insulation to the first floor.
Timber is the way forward. It is eco friendly, fast to construct, easy to
pick up skills, etc, etc.
Not much. Timber we use in the UK is fairly bug-resistant. Our
problem is fungal rots, and a climate that gets wetter might make this
We don't have a lot of trouble with wood borers in timber framing.
Those that do attack it just don't make enough damage to really weaken
things - a powder-post beetle attack in a chair leg is one thing, but
in a roof timber it's just an irrelevance. The big-hole borers (like
Death Watch beetle) are far less common.
An increase in winter temperature will probably increase the range of
one house longhorn beetle sub-species that's already found in the far
SE and Kent. There are several widespread UK wood-boring longhorn
species, but they don't attack dry timber, except for this one
species. Having that range further afield could be a problem, as these
beasties leave 1/4" holes.
The UK climate would have to shift a _lot_ before we saw termites.
The main problem with termite attack, compared to beetle larvae, is
that termites are eating timber for food, beetles for living space.
Termites will hollow a timber out completely from the inside, but most
beetle species will actually leave a gap between adjacent tunnels.
Although they do weaken things to some extent, it's nothing like the
total collapse that termites bring.
Amazingly IMM, for once I agree with you, more or less anyway. However
perhaps you would like to have a word in the ear of your cronies in
government and get them to change the law. It is quite legal for farmers to
plant trees, and indeed there are even grants for such, but we're often not
allowed to harvest them as we can't get logging permits !!!!!