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Latest Questions

If you dont find the answers you are looking for, please feel free to 'Ask a Question'.  If we think its relevant, we'll write a page and put it on the site.  Please note that if you are looking for specific advice about a problem, the Knowledge Base has a facility to allow you to purchase an hour of our time to discuss your issues in detail.

The Book to have

Written by a Conservation professional who has been there, done that.  Carole is a former Conservation Officer, with a wonderfully dry wit, which comes out in this book.  She tackles every one of the issues we deal with on this website from an academic and practical viewpoint.  I can't recommend it too highly - if you are buying an old house, you need this book.  You will read it, read it again - bookmark bits of it, come back and bookmark something else.  It's superb.  Carole is a livewire - still very active in Conservation, it's written from the heart by someone who loves old buildings and the industry she works in.

Buy it - you will NOT be disappointed..!

Brilliant book on Oak Framing

This is a must have if you are looking to build a timber frame - or live with one. Even we use this as a reference...

Brunskill - the Definitive Books on old timber framed houses.

This is a MUST for anyone who owns an oak framed house - it should be on your shelf, referred to regularly!

Timber Framed Buildings

repaired and rebuilt timber frame

Timber framed houses - a leap of faith!!!

Timber framing is one of the oldest surviving methods of construction.  Working with ancient buildings is not only a pleasure, it's a privilege.  Owning a timber framed home is a worthy dream which all too often turns into a nightmare.  As with most things in traditional building, it comes down to the great God of Breathability.  If your timber frame has anything on it, in it or near it that traps water, it will rot.  Modern materials, modern paints, tar - anything that doesnt breathe is death to a timber frame.  The following pages will help explore some aspects of framing and give you the background information you need to make informed decisions about how to look after a timber framed house, and if you are thinking of buying one, the things to look for before you buy.

If you are considering buying one, it will almost certainly pay you to get us to survey it first. I always cringe when I see the brochure that says '..... recently undergone extensive modernisation and renovation".  At that point I know it's going to be a nightmare of cement and gypsum plonked on top of a structure stripped of any character or features barring a few blasted, deeply scored oak beams in the lounge..  We see a succession of nightmarish houses - beautiful chocolate boxes which are rotting beautifully under layers of gloss black paint, cement render and gypsum plaster internally.  Concrete smothers the sill beams and rots them. It is the source of more legal challenges to surveyors and insurers than I care to think about.

It need not be a nightmare - you just need to know what is happening, and to make informed decisions about what may need doing - if you have a budget that is appropriate, and access to the right skills, it can become a journey of discovery, of historical delights, and results in a beautiful home to treasure.

Apart from showing you some of the different aspect of framing, these pages also offer a timber frame maintenance kit - caulking materials to help keep your frame warm and dry.   

Cement filling joint in timber frame

Cement filling joint in oak timber frame and causing rot to the member.

Wattle and daub infills in an oak framed cottage

Wattle and daub infills found when surveying an oak framed cottage - lime render covers the daub, which is over woven hazel twigs.