Timber has been used in construction for centuries, and it is still one of the most popular materials today. There are many reasons for this: timber is strong, durable, and easy to work with. It also looks great and can be used in a variety of applications.
In this blog post, we will take a look at the history of using timber in construction and some of the benefits that come with using it.
Early Use of Timber in Construction
Timber has been used in construction for at least ten thousand years. The remains of the earliest timber home (found in Britain) date back to 10,000 years ago in the Mesolithic period (Stone Age). Humans started making tools more than half a million years ago, and this enabled them to shape materials like wood in order to construct with it.
During the Bronze and Copper Ages tools became more sophisticated and the invention of the metal saw made working with wood even easier. It was also during this period that walls were built using woven strips of wood and adhesive materials. Wood was used by the Egyptians at this time for levers and sledges when building the pyramids of Giza in 2560BC.
Timber was also used around 3000 BC in Egypt to build ships and other vessels and it continued to be used for shipbuilding throughout the centuries.
In the Iron Age wood was used to create moulds in which mud-bricks were formed and the use of steel enabled even more sophisticated tools to be made. The first hand plane was created during this period, and the Roman Empire began using timber cranes. This enabled them to lift much heavier objects much higher than was previously possible, allowing them to construct more impressive structures.
Timber framing, a technique we still use today, was first used by the Romans in 50AD. The Chinese similarly built temples with a timber frame on top of a stone base as early as 782AD.
Use of Timber in the Middle Ages
The use of timber in construction became the norm in the Middle Ages. Most buildings were constructed using wood and as a result skilled carpenters and woodworkers were very much in demand.
The invention of the water mill in the Renaissance Period also made a big difference to woodworkers, as it could be used to saw timber. This allowed them to make planks out of timber and was a huge step forward.
Modern Use of Timber in Construction
Although timber is one of the oldest construction materials, it is still very popular today. Timber framing is still regularly used today in construction, and timber is a common material in walls, floors and roofing.
Timber has proved itself to be a reliable building material and can also be a very sustainable choice, which is becoming ever more important.
Benefits of Using Timber in Construction
There are many benefits to using timber in construction which include:
Timber is strong and durable
Timber is a popular construction material due to its strength and durability. Timber typically has a high strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for use in scaffolding and other construction applications. Certain types of timber are more durable than others, with hardwoods being much stronger than softwoods.
Timber is light and easy to work with
Some types of timber are also light in weight, which makes them easy to transport and manipulate on site. This also makes timber relatively easy to work with, and so it is suitable for a wide range of construction projects.
Timber looks great
As well as being strong and easy to work with, timber also has a very attractive appearance. This makes it a popular choice for use in internal and external features such as flooring, cladding and decking.
Timber is still a popular choice for creating both functional and aesthetic spaces. When used in construction, timber can create a warm and inviting space. As a material, it has a visual appeal that can add character and charm to any building.
Timber is a good insulator
Timber is also a good insulator, helping to keep rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. This makes it suitable for use in a wide range of climates. The material also has a natural ability to absorb sound, making it ideal for use in areas where noise levels need to be kept to a minimum.
Timber can be used in a variety of applications
Timber is a versatile construction material and can be used in a wide range of applications both indoors and outdoors. Timber can be used for structural purposes such as framing, or it can be used for aesthetic purposes such as cladding and flooring. Timber can also be used outdoors for decking, pergolas and other garden structures.
Hardwoods and softwoods are each suited to different applications, so choosing the right wood for the job at hand is important.
Timber is renewable and sustainable
Another big advantage of using timber is that it is a sustainable construction material. Timber can be sourced from managed forests and is therefore a renewable resource.
Because timber is a renewable resource, i.e. it can be replanted and harvested on a continual basis, it is an environmentally friendly choice for use in construction. In addition, timber frame buildings have a lower carbon footprint than those made from concrete or steel. When used responsibly in construction, timber can help to reduce the carbon footprint of a building project overall.
As demand for sustainable building materials continues to grow, timber is an increasingly popular choice for use in construction.
As you can see, there are many reasons why timber has been used in construction for thousands of years, and its popularity shows no signs of waning.
At Birketts we know first hand how useful and environmentally friendly timber is. Our timber mats are manufactured from either European or tropical hardwood timber species, both of which are extremely hard wearing, durable and long lasting, and which are invaluable in the construction industry.