Types of wooden private houses


Timber nowadays is becoming such a very modern building material. It is ecological, natural, durable and time-tested. Despite that people perceive a private house as just a dense stone building, more and more demanding are wooden frame, wooden panel and beam houses. Does they have pluses and minuses?

Tiber is a prolonged, durable, nature friendly material.

Wood is one of the oldest building materials, which is used not only for building houses, but also other constructions – bridges, water supply, canalization. Yet building materials such as cement, concrete and bricks let us think that the wood life cycle is temporary. But the wood has been proved its long lasting life cycle. In the North Russia there has been found 600-700 years old preserved wooden house; also in the North America, Canada and Scandinavia

Foto: dezeen.com

there were found old wooden built frame houses, so it proves, that modernized building materials, modern tendencies and resolutions give an opportunity to find the marble-equivalent substitute.

High quality wood has a special sign. The wood is a good thermal insulation, because it has a porous structure and relatively low weight, hence the thermal expansion is so small that it has no effect on the constructions.

The wood is an excellent building material, which provides a fantastic opportunity for living quality. It is natural, nature friendly raw material, it is durable against the heat and frost. Humidity is the only factor, which has to be controlled, that’s why the most important aspect in building of wooden frame houses is a smart processing of the wood.



By the way, the environment do not influences the heating in the wooden house. Wooden beam houses save accumulated heat through the day, and, at the end of the day, accumulated humidity evaporates by itself, that’s why the heat-to-humidity ratio is maintained. As a proof of wooden horizontal beam houses’ long lasting, there are old houses. Smartly processed and impregnated timber is able to endure several centuries.

How to choose the right timber?

Main factors: simplicity, warm, long lasting. Despite that wooden frame and wooden panel house is possible to build quickly and relatively cheap, a huge percent of people still prefers to choose beam house, which is nature friendly, because for its building it is used high quality, pure, natural wood, not, for example, pressed wood chips.

Foto: dezeen.com
Non traditional use of classical horizontal beams



What kind of timber is necessary for the building? Usually it is chosen pine tree or fir wood. Do you have questions about that, when is the best time to saw for raw materials’ building? Winter driftwood is sleepy, so it do not becomes blue so fast, do not changes the color. If horizontal beam building is made from the dry material, then before the building process the humidity of the material has to be until 20 percent.

Wet timber is not applicable for the building in comparison to the ready wood, because in the process of dying it can deform. If the ventilation is bad, it can change the color, become blue or even black, start to rot, the mold may occur or even change the size. So dried up timber has two times less chance to “become smaller”, it is able to endure much more load and shows more aesthetic view.



What kind of timber is necessary for the building?  The thickness of the structure of horizontal beams’ walls usually is 15-35 cm. Horizontal beams can be  rounded up (popular in the North America at the moment) or squared. Wooden beams can be naturally rounded, unpeeled, rounded, peeled, heated up on the longitudinal sides or in four parts.

Actually, it has more aesthetic purpose, because, for example, squared beams automatically give more thicker wall. At the same time, specialists say, that the more important thing in the building of the horizontal beam houses is the quality of the horizontal beams and making connections.


Good architects say, that the most important element of the house building are its foundations. Sometimes it is written, that the horizontal beam house can be an exception, that, probably it needs foundations, but it is possible to omit them, for sure. Rounded trees are so close to each other, that frost and wind or other natural phenomena, which are common in our climate, cannot move them: the tree is a live organism, it can spoil, change the color of the form, but it will not crack and will not go out of the overall design of the house. Also, if the structure of the horizontal beams is made on foundations, which “walks”, when it is cold, then walls will be not hermetical and they will have cracks. For the good placing of walls, foundations also have to be stable. Since the beams are lighter than the masonry, they can be built on pile foundations.

An important issue of these types of houses is saving of the humidity. That is the reason, why do we feel

“Twisted House” overturns the myth of a log house as an array and heavy build. Photo: dezeen.com

good into structure of the horizontal beams even, when it is only 17 ° C. But this process can be also reverse, if there is not enough humidity in the air, then walls will give it.

Structure of the horizontal beams has another plus. An example is like this – place your hand onto a stone wall (even good isolated) and you will feel the change of the temperature. When heating a brick room, cold walls interact with warm air causing moisture condensation. But in the structure of the horizontal beams this process is happening slowly, because the timber has the same volume of high of the heat capacity. Because of this characteristic the inside of the beam maintains the temperature of the room reducing the possibility of moisture condensation.

Possibility of formation of cracks

It is important to avoid cracks between formations and the first crown. Lower trees have to be impregnated, it is desirable that the lower woods could be covered with the rot resistant foam and water-resistant layer in the foundation. Also it is necessary to have a wide chore for the roof and to be sure, that foundations are not out of the wall.

It is preferable to make inside walls from rounded trees. Fixed structures, bricks or plasterboard walls can cause horizontal beam creep or crack cracks.

Pluses and minuses of the horizontal beams


  • Good sound isolation (because walls are thick and suffered)
  • Good environment (humid atmosphere, less static dust)
  • Long lasting (more than three times higher ratio than wooden frame or panel houses).


  • Timber needs suitable process, because it can start to rot or bend.
  • It is necessary to do maintaining of the timber – often impregnation.
  • The tendency of the house to “sit” found complications, when interior decoration is made.


Look, how it happens to one Canadian men Sean James, making horizontal beam house by himself in the forest:


Quick ti build and economical. Panel houses is the type of the wooden frame houses. In any case of building wooden frame house you can get an identical object. The only difference – processing technology: the panels of the house are specially processed in the factory, after that they get to the swinging area. At first, it is necessary only to make all the foundations and installations.

Panel house is made of panels, which are produced in a panel producing factory. In dependence on complicity, 150m2.

“SIP Panel House”(archit.-Alejandro Soffia, Gabriel Rudolphy) Foto: dezeen.com

Four bedroom house producing can be last 3-5 weeks. Also it is important, does there will be produced only structural elements (walls, ceiling, roof) or extra exterior finish, which is with doors, windows, wiring etc.

This is a relatively fast building – the job at the swinging area will last 3-7 days, in dependence on the qualification of workers. When the elements of the house are in the swinging area with a partial exterior finish, there are some little things left to do. Building process shortens the fact, that it is not necessary to wait until the house will be dry and it is possible to start exterior finish already. Also, until the house elements are producing at the factory, it is possible to do other works. Like making foundations connect communications and other exercises for saving time.

Eco houses is an especially economical and nature-friendly resolution because constructions are from renewable materials, their mounting is fast without a harm to nature, they are durable.

Weather conditions – wind, frost or rain do not influence panel houses’ building, that is why producing houses such like this is happening all the year, even in winter. As far as the process of building this house is relatively fast, it is easy to adjust to weather conditions, do not affect wooden houses’ building.

Another important aspect is the cost of building works. As far as it is not necessary to transport building materials and search, where to keep them, it is possible to save money. Proper planning of transportation of house elements (panels) to the assembly site and the coordination of the assembly work schedule eliminates the need for landing panels at the construction site since they are removed from the transport and mounted directly on the bases. The cost will be higher if you decide to have your own project.

Disadvantages: a special attention on bases and limited layout

One of the most important aspects in panel houses’ building is appropriate bases installation and waterproofing. It is especially important for our climate, where in the winter the temperature lowers until -20 ° C or even lower. It means, that foundations of the house should be more durable than soil frost level. For example, in Latvia, the soil frosts 1-1,50 m depth (independence to middle winter temperature), but in Lithuania 1-1,2 m depth. So foundations should be deeper than this level of frost, or, when it will become warmer, the soil can “get out” these foundations. Unlike ordinary wood frame houses, the panel houses are less flexible: joined mass plates can be broken or even split into halves when the bases start to expand or their installation has been inadequate.

As for wooden frame house, for panel house it is also important if water will split into, then a wood construction can start to rot. Therefore, between the panels and the base, there must be a high-quality waterproof membrane, because the wet bases freeze up faster, moreover, moisture can begin to go up the entire wall and roof.

Panel house benefits:

  • Ability to build even in winter.
  • Fast built house
  • Mounted with a partly finished exterior.
  • Perfect panel house performance indicators (energy efficient, nature-friendly).
  • The building technology lets make flat floor, wall and ceiling surface, what easier to make exterior


  • Have to be especially careful with mounting works for hermetical safety.
  • Foundations should be deeper than the soil can be frost at winter (Independence to the concrete country, not less than 1-1,2 m). Inappropriate limit of foundation can let walls have cracks.
  • Limited possibilities to choose house projects. Individual projects cost more expensive.



Building in different climate zones

Typical wooden frame house project “Amber” // www.northouse.lv

Wooden frame houses is an economy, rational and high-level building technology.

Wooden frame houses technology origins are to be found in Canada. The climate of North America is similar to our, but the frame house design is suitable for different climatic zones and geological conditions: if changing different parameters of materials of isolation, then it is possible to adjust the house – build it in warmer or colder zone. The huge plus is that the wooden prefabricated house is possible to mount even when it is cold outside.

The experts in the field of building in Canada say, that these houses if have been renovated, can serve 150-200 years. The stability of the wooden frame house is connected to its flexibility thus, it is seismically durable and can withstand earthquakes (for example, in Japan 75 % of livers use this type of houses, placing a high buffer pole in the middle of which the rest of the house is being constructed – the walls move around it, but remain intact). On the other hand, wooden frame houses cannot cope with strong hurricanes, what is very specific for the North America region. But in Lithuania for several decades the are built garden houses from the wood constructions, while in private houses’ sphere it comes slowly, but becomes more popular.

The efficiency of warmth

The average thickness of the walls of the wood frame houses is 20 cm, but, even in cold time without heating, the temperature lowers only form 2-3 ° С in a day. It is not hard to heat wood frame houses and maintain the necessary temperature. The loss of warm depends on the house impermeability. That is why the factor such as this is so important.

For example, in Lithuania traditionally in use are brick and concrete flat houses, which gave us uncertain apprehension – if a house has thin walls, it does not save warm for a long time.

Impermeability of the air is the most important factor of thin walls

The warmth in the premises rises upwards from the heating devices, creating pressure on the existing parts – ceilings, walls, and windows. In the smallest gaps the warm air exits out while air at the same time as the ground is drawn and through the floor, window or door openings, cold air enters the interior and the room must be heated again.

Heat loss can be reduced by increasing the thermal resistance of the bulkheads. IN the USA company “Architectural Energy Corporation” was made a research: calculated the heat loss, using non-insulated building constructions. Later the same constructions were was covered with waterproof and warm insulation material. The research has shown, that on the basis of the thermal energy savings is tightness.

Foto: hebrideanhomes.com

By increasing the heat resistance of the sealed insulating material layer by more than 100% (increasing the layer from 10 cm to 20 cm), heat savings only reached 3%, proving that these investments were ineffective. According to the research results, it can be concluded that it is more efficient to invest in the construction of the house as a whole since even a completely thin layer of airtight insulating material retains the leakage of the warm air stream.

Steam should be controlled by the insulation material, which goes up from the humidity construction, this doesn’t let to rot, mold or dry out too much. Steam and air should be evenly going through the insulation material. Since the drying process of building materials is relatively slow, the air resistance of such a durable insulation material may be small, but it can be provided with airtight materials.

Choosing enough insulated airtight materials, it is possible to lower the circulation of the air in the partitions, this way decreasing heating (winter time) and cooling (summer time) costs.

The building of a wooden frame house

Foto: hebrideanhomes.com

Traditionally, brick, wood or stone wall raw materials have to do different functions at the same time (structure providing, warmth, and sound insulation), which determines several concrete building conditions: the natural drying and shrinkage of the building, the wall thickness is sufficient and the bases are heavy, and the total construction time is long.

The building technology of the wooden frame house determines different material functions – bearing capacity, separation, insulation. Each element has its own function and possible opportunities: various materials have their own structure’s minimum thickness, its thermal energy efficiency, moisture resistance, and sound permeability.

Foundations can be the monolith or on the piers, but they shouldn’t be massive for being stable. It shortens the time of building and reduces costs.

Usually, wooden frame house is from one to two floors. Houses such like these are light and small, there’s no need for the huge number of the material for the exterior. This is one of the benefits in comparison to panel houses’ building – flexibility is the implementation of various architectural needs.

One of the possible disadvantages of this house could be acoustic characteristics. Through the building process, there are special seal settings, which can work as a sound insulation. The insulation of the sound determines the filling. Often there are problems with flaws: if the house is with two floors, then people, for example, can complain about too loud steps on the second floor. This problem can be resolved if we choose enough durable wooden overlay, on which later will pour the concrete floor. In a building, using wooden frames, it is possible to build the even five-floor house, but usually, they are used for one or two-floor houses.

Frames are produced from the dried calibrated wood. Because of the good characteristics, builders choose to use conifers’ wood. Fir wood is flexible; pine tree wood is fragile, but our modern technologies let us protect the wood from the adverse effects of the environment.

Black Cabin, Mexico // Foto: Revolution Architects, inhabitat.com                                                      The wood has a tendency to deform, but the deformation is possible to eliminate by using appropriate construction for the concrete material.




Partly finished house cost without foundations and painting works could be approx. 230 – 440 EUR for the m2 and more. It is possible to set up the frame in several weeks. An important requirement for building house such like this are good weather conditions for the frame house mounting, because, while mounting wooden constructions, humidity and frost can influence them.

If the decision is to build a wooden frame house, it is not recommended to stay the house for several years without windows and doors, because the wood will not withstand it. That’s why it is necessary to plan all the building works and have enough money to finish the work.

Then starts fixing of the frame (very suitable is calibrated wood), placing elements successively in 60 cm one from each other and fastening them with nails and screws.

In accordance to needs of the project, in corners and other places, it is used the thicker wood material.



Between the foundation and the lower beam, which goes through all the foundations, a rubber gasket is inserted, which eliminates the appearing of the humidity and later provides the impermeability of the air.


Later affixes the crown and sets up a ceiling. It high can differ between 1.95 till 2.45 m in accordance to the fact, will be used concrete floors and planned several partitions. If one-floor house is planned to be built, then it has to be considered the question about the building of the roof.

Despite that, in wooden frame houses, it is possible to use different panels (plywood, wood chip, wood fiber, gypsum, OSB), because it provides the strength and stability of walls.


  • Small weight of the construction (wooden frame house is 5-6 times lighter than the brick house)
  • Relatively short time of the building process
  • Availability of materials
  • Ability to carry out various architectural plans by constructing an individual design and interior planning house
  • In the process of building, there is used not a huge amount of building equipment
  • All the inner communications (canalization, water, heat) are built into the walls.

    Foto: inhabitat.com
  • Easy to modernize
  • Relatively not huge costs
  • An advantage of the eco house – nature-friendly and renewable materials
  • Is not durable against hurricanes
  • While mounting wooden constructions, humidity and frost can influence them
  • Is important to make house impermeable for the reasons of, when start to live, the heat couldn’t go away and to do not have problems with a bad insulation.


There are fulfilling heat insulation and insulation materials are chosen before the mounting of the panels. Firstly, inserting mineral wool and stone wool for thermal insulation, then a film that protects against water vapor. On this stage, there are mounting electrical installations. Walls are finishing with mentioned panels, at the same time combining in ordinals, which helps to save the heat.

At the end, the house interior and exterior works are accomplishing.