Timber or frame: which is better for the home?

Everyone dreams of their own home. More often than not, we are talking about a house, rather than an apartment. But when the funds are collected and it is already possible to start construction, then the person is faced with a difficult choice – to build a house from a bar or a frame. This is an important point, because the materials have quite serious differences.. Let’s try to make a small comparison, understand the difference and figure out which material is better to use..

Which house is warmer?

To understand the question of which house is warmer – a log house or which is based on a frame, you should look at the thermal insulation characteristics of these materials. Energy efficiency indicators are high in both cases, but the issue of heat preservation is still relevant given the high cost of utilities.

Wood in itself is a warm material, which means that a building from a bar will keep warm well. But the thickness of the walls should be taken into account, the indicator of which is calculated, taking into account the climatic zone of the location of the future building.

In addition, if glued laminated timber is used to create a house, then in areas with severe winters, it will need to be additionally insulated with something..

A frame house can be warm and energy efficient with the correct selection of insulation, which is carried out taking into account the climate. Usually mineral wool is used for insulation.. With a density of 50-80 kg / m3 and a thickness of 20 centimeters, it will have a heat transfer resistance of 4.4 m2 ° C / W. Pine timber with a similar thickness – 1.6 m² · ° С / W. That is, a frame insulated with mineral wool is more protected from the cold than a timber. This is given that some of the internal volume of the frame will be wooden.

The indicator of resistance to heat transfer of timber walls does not fit into either the thermal efficiency standards or the sanitary standards for buildings belonging to the category of residential. And the structure based on the frame provides for insulation performed using various materials.

For permanent residence with an eye on energy efficiency, it is better to build a house using a frame.

Which is cheaper?

The second important indicator by which you want to compare the mentioned materials is the price. And this factor is very often decisive. But the catch is that in general it is extremely problematic to estimate the cost of any building. After all, each specific case is unique due to the uniqueness of the project, layout, amount of required materials, labor and time costs. Let’s try to compare the options under consideration, taking into account only the creation of the walls and their decoration..

To create a building from a bar you will need:

  • timber in an amount equal to the volume of the walls;
  • varnish;
  • insulation that will be used for the space between the crowns.

For a house on a frame basis you need:

  • the beams from which the frame is formed – their volume should be 10-15 percent of the total volume of the walls;
  • insulation – its volume will be 90 percent of the above indicator;
  • vapor barrier membrane;
  • material called OSB-3, which will be used for sheathing the resulting structure from the outside;
  • materials for external finishing – facade paint and putty;
  • hinged facade or plaster, which has a reinforcing mesh;
  • materials for interior cladding and for finishing the building.

A frame building requires less wood, but a lot of other materials..

By the way, some are not much more expensive than a bar. From the lists given, you can roughly understand how much time and effort it will take to make the frame house completely ready. It will be more expensive not only in terms of the cost of materials, but also in terms of the effort and time spent on its construction..

How other materials differ?

To make the comparison as complete as possible, it is necessary to compare the pros and cons of these materials and according to the following criteria:

  • environmental friendliness;
  • fire safety;
  • complexity and time of installation;
  • durability.

Complexity and time of installation

Installing a log house is an easier process than assembling a good frame. To do this, you do not need to have any special skills and abilities, and you only need the simplest tools at hand, which are in almost every home.

Chopped walls are also rarely sheathed, because the timber itself allows you to form the interior and exterior without any auxiliary elements. Naturally, this significantly reduces the creation time and labor intensity of the process..

The frame is a more complex structure, which cannot be done efficiently without carrying out the most accurate calculations and creating a project for a country or residential house. The assembly must also be carried out very carefully, and each action must be thought out. The fit of all parts must be made with high quality, and the attachment points must fix them as tightly as possible so that over time the structure does not begin to weaken and collapse.

Creating a wireframe is only part of the job. It is also necessary to install decorative and structural cladding, lay a vapor barrier and insulation. This significantly increases the complexity of construction, requires not only more tools, but also certain skills. You can’t do without the involvement of specialists..

If, when choosing, the main criterion is the ease of construction, then the timber has undeniable advantages.

After all, such a house is easier to build, the construction speed is higher, finishing is not needed. Walls should only be covered with protective varnish after sanding. And the construction of a frame building involves the use of many additional materials and a whole range of auxiliary works.


To give a more or less unambiguous answer about the strength and durability of a particular building, one should take into account the complexity of its project. If it is structurally simple, without a large number of openings, then the option from a bar will be definitely stronger. Its service life with periodic processing of external walls can be up to 80 years. In addition, a simple log house is more resistant to wind blowing and natural factors..

If the building has a complex layout, there are many large windows, arched passages, then the advantages of the timber almost disappear. After all, the number of elements increases, which do not end with a cut of any type. And this causes a decrease in the strength of the timber walls..

A house on a frame basis can be of any complexity, which will not affect the bearing indicators and horizontal stiffness in any way.. But according to the norms of VSN 58-88 (p), any walls made of wood need to be overhauled every 30 years. Frame-based construction is no exception. According to the standards of STO 00044807-001-2006, the time of using the timber before overhaul is 50 years, and the frame – 20.

To summarize, a timber is preferable to a frame in terms of durability..

Environmental friendliness

According to this criterion, a construction from a bar will be preferable to a frame one. But only if we talk about a log house, and not about glued beams. But not because the frame itself is bad, but because a large number of different materials are used in such a building.. And the most unsafe from an environmental point of view will be OSB, which is used when sheathing a frame house. Plates of this material contain formaldehyde. It is also present in mineral wool, which is used as insulation material..

Of course, the impact of such materials at the current level of construction technology will be small.. It is also possible to reduce it through the use of detoxifying substances. But the overall indicator of environmental friendliness, when compared with a log house, it significantly reduces.

Fire safety

Fire safety is a complex indicator that is calculated on the basis of a number of characteristics and aspects.. Especially should be highlighted:

  • type of surface cladding;
  • flammability of the materials used and their fire retardant treatment;
  • features of the use of materials in structures of various types.

According to this criterion, the options for buildings under consideration belong to the category of potentially fire hazardous.

After all, they are created from wood, and it belongs to combustible materials. But frame-based buildings have a slight advantage.. Here you can use materials that will not only complicate the spread of fire over the area, but will also prevent the ignition itself.

We are talking about drywall and mineral wool. Plasterboard sheathing will protect the wood from the effects of fire, and mineral wool will help keep it from spreading along the walls, or at least significantly slow it down. The bar cannot boast of such protection, which is why the slightest contact with fire is fraught with serious danger..

That is, to a certain extent, small, but the frame house will have an advantage here..

Which is better to choose?

Summing up the comparison, we present the findings..

  • According to the criterion of simplicity and the pace of creation, a log house will be easier and faster to build, but it needs time to shrink. And the frame construction does not require it, but the creation process will be more costly.
  • A house from a bar looks preferable to a frame analogue in terms of durability and strength. But the operating costs of a log structure will be significantly higher.
  • According to the criterion of energy efficiency, a frame house is more preferable.
  • Fire safety for both options will be good, but in the case of a frame building, there are opportunities to increase fire resistance.
  • In architectural terms, a frame building gives a lot of freedom of action. But a timber structure is more environmentally friendly, and the financial costs for its construction will be less than for a frame house.

Summarizing all of the above, it should be noted that both technologies will be a good solution for creating a home for permanent residence or summer cottages..

And which option will be better – everyone will decide for themselves on their own, starting from their own capabilities, needs and tastes..

A prudent person will also take into account such factors:

  • estimated heating costs of the future building;
  • the size of the house and the heating technology that is planned to be used – that is, whether gas will be used for heating or firewood;
  • will a certain temperature level be maintained inside in winter all the time or will the house need to be quickly warmed up on weekends.

These factors can influence the choice of the type of building.. But in any case, no matter what type of house it was decided to build, it would be better to entrust the design and construction work to professionals with experience and many completed projects of varying complexity.. After all, the desire to save money on high-quality materials or experienced specialists will inevitably lead to a violation of the construction technology and the fact that no matter what the house is, it will not only last less, but also will not be warm, and also energy efficient.

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