Everyone fantasizes of living in their dream home. While there are a lot of challenges to building a custom home, the capacity of having control over details like the location of your gas fires Stockport stove or whether to choose an open plan outweighs them all. You can even choose what hardwood to use for structural frames.
Understanding the Importance of Structural Beams
Structural beams are one of the most crucial elements in your home. These beams, along with columns, are responsible for carrying and maintaining the home’s structure. They are able to do this by resisting or counteracting bending, which is the force pushed into the material as a result of its own weight, span, and external loads.
Think of structural beams as being similar to the bones in our bodies. Without them, a wall could collapse or sustain critical damage. The right kind of beam can also add to the beauty of the home. This is why a lot of homeowners opt to use trade oak frames.
Why You Should Choose Oak Beams
There are a lot of reasons why homeowners and builders love to work with oak beams.
- It provides a classic and timeless look. Oak has been used in buildings and homes for centuries, solidifying its reputation for being timeless. But there’s a scientific basis to this as well. As oak seasons, little splits known as “shakes” appear on the wood, giving it a worn-in patina that diffuses light and gives the room a warm and soft glow.
- It goes well with various design styles. Oak’s flexibility provides builders with numerous options. Homeowners can go with thick, untreated timbers for a rustic look while reclaimed structural beams can be used in a modern setting.
- Oak beams are strong. This wood is a great building material because it becomes stronger and harder as it ages. It has a high density but remains light. Plus, centuries of use means that oak is a known element among builders, who can predict how the wood will move or bend.
Different Types of Oak Beams
There are three different types of oak beams found in the market today:
Green oak are typically used in the wood industry as they are preferred by craftsmen. And contrary to its name, this oak is not green. Instead, it refers to the moisture that’s still contained in its cells. This oak shrinks as it dries, resulting in tighter joints. Over time, the wood also cracks and changes color, giving it an elegant look.
These are straight beams that have been dried out in a special way – by exposure to air. This natural drying method takes a longer time but result in a beam of higher quality. Air-dried oak beams are more solid and can be cut into specific sizes. It also retains all its natural characteristics, like knots, whorls and splits.
These are beams of hard oak that have been saved from buildings and repurposed. Some of these beams have unique characteristics, as they have been removed from old houses, barns, and even castles. Reclaimed oak is known for its incredible durability and strength.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Oak Beam
Oak might be an amazing hardwood, but there are certain factors to consider before choosing to use it in your construction.
- Type: It should be emphasized that air-dried and green oak are not interchangeable. While air-dried oak can be used in certain applications instead of green oak, there are particular projects when builders should stick to the former.
- Size: This does matter in terms of construction and design. Larger, air-dried oak beams are better used for structural frames. Aside from its strength, the unsightly cracks in these timbers could be offputting. Meanwhile, smaller timbers are more aesthetically pleasing and are suited to interiors.
- Grade: An oak wood’s grade signifies its quality. A QP1 grade means the oak is of the highest quality while QP2 grades offer the same strength but have more cracks and knots.
Location is Key
It’s important that you consider where you will use an oak beam. Green oak beams should never be used in the kitchen, especially above or near a gas fires Burnley stove. The heat will cause the wood to twist, shrink and bend.
Last Words on the Matter
Structural oak beams provide a lot of benefits. They ensure that buildings are stable and secure. They also add a certain panache and beauty to the home. It’s best to know more about what type of oak is best for your home before making a decision.