Are You Using the Right Timber on Your Building Project?

Are you using timber to support your new property? Timber wall frames and other structural timber elements are an essential part of many homes. Structural timber provides a solid basis for any property. It is surprisingly economical to work with and will not rot if it is treated correctly. Structural timber also has advantages in terms of architectural design. Long timber beams can produce plenty of open space inside a building without requiring columns or additional support to maintain the structure of the building.

Where can you find structural timber? 

Structural timber can normally be found at your local timber merchant. However, not all timber that you find there will be structural timber. You cannot walk into the timber yard and select any timber that appears to be the right size for the job. Look for timber that you know is strong enough to bear all the weight that will be applied to it without snapping or even bending under the pressure. To find out whether you are looking at structural timber or a lesser piece of wood, you must look for timber that has been stamped with a grading level.

How is structural timber tested? 

All structural timber is checked and approved before it is stamped. The stamp will indicate how much weight the timber can bear. Sometimes, the timber will have been visually inspected, and sometimes it will have been physically passed through a grading machine to check whether it can bear the weight. In either case, the timber will be marked, so you can use it with confidence, knowing that it is safe for your building project.

Is all structural timber hardwood?

Some people have the idea that because strength is required, all structural timber must be hardwood. Certainly, there are times when a particularly long timber beam must be hardwood, but there are plenty of times that softwood structural timber would be a better choice. Softwood can be graded as structural timber, yet it is far easier to work with than hardwood, and that will make your project cheaper and quicker to complete. Another alternative to hardwood is laminate. Laminate is timber where natural imperfections, such as knots and blemishes, have been removed, creating a stronger, more durable product.

To find out which timber products are best for your building project, talk to your timber merchant. Structural timber should be easy to identify, but if you have any concerns, ask questions before you purchase. Any mistakes made with the structure of your home could be difficult and expensive to fix. The mistakes could also prove to be deadly if they aren't quickly remedied.