There are many myths surrounding timber frame houses with regards to whether you can raise a mortgage to whether your insurance premium will be higher.
A timber frame house differs from a masonry house as a modern masonry built house is normally made of an inner supporting wall of concrete blocks and an outer supporting wall of brick. A modern timber frame house replaces the inner wall with a timber frame strong enough to carry all loads in the house. This is usually then covered with plasterboard internally and with a brick external finish.
Timber is an extremely strong and durable product – and it is natural. The oldest building in the UK is an 11th century stave church in Essex. There are examples of open panel timber frame homes in Britain which date back to the 1800's. The oldest building in the world is a Japanese temple built from cypress. This really all speaks for the durability of wood framed properties.
So far, all good news. Now what about the downside? Well, there are surprisingly few problems to consider. Modern timber frames are treated to provide protection against damp and pests – the two biggest enemies a timber frame property will encounter. A study carried out by the BRE on 120 timber frame houses built between 1920 and 1975 found their performance to be 'similar to traditionally built dwellings of the same age, and given proper maintenance, likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.' Your timber frame property will also last as well as any other type of new build.
You are not more at risk from fire in a timber frame house. Timber frame structures have to meet all the required Building Regulations and there is an excellent performance record for this.
More good news is that you will not have to pay more insurance for a timber framed home. The Association of British Insurers says "Insurance companies generally draw no distinction between modern timber frame and brick and block construction, provided the external roof covering is also of tiles, natural or mineral slates or concrete." However, you need to speak with your insurance provider and make certain you have declared the fabric of the house – and many on line providers fail to ask the relevant and pertinent questions. So make sure you take professional advice and listen to the guidance provided.
So if the second little pig in the tale of the Three Little Pigs had only built his house of wood instead of twigs, he could have staved off the Big Bad Wolf. Fair to say he was on the right track though.........