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  Below, Owl Barns have compiled a list of the most asked questions regarding our timber framed buildings.

Please call us if you have a question that is not listed below.
Timber Framed Garages Farnham
Traditional Oak Timber Framed Buildings


  Do you need planning permission for an outbuilding?
Traditional oak-framed outbuildings can become part of an existing home or exist in their own right and can often add more value to the property than their construction costs suggest.

In gaining planning permission to build, the strength and durability of the materials used could prove a factor in the final decision, so Oak is often a wise option.

Anything over 30sq meters in base area or over four metres in height will probably require planning permission. Smaller buildings may require it if they are near a boundary or, for example, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

How long will an oak framed building last?
Oak is naturally a highly resilient material which resists corrosion, parasites and decay very well. Historic British architecture is a testament to this. In addition it burns extremely slowly and has a low rate of conductivity which renders it safer than concrete in the event of a fire. Moreover, if subjected to flood damage an oak framed building will dry out more quickly than other forms of construction.

Does oak need to be treated?
Over a very long period of time natural tannins in an oak beam react with the surrounding air and the timber changes gradually from a light honey colour to a more silvered hue. By treating the beam with a chemical process this change can be sped up and the oak turned to a rich, attractive nutty colour in a matter of hours.

However don't assume that it is necessary to treat timber. It is rarely necessary for beams that have spent time in the outdoors and oak is one of the most durable and naturally defensive materials you will find. Essentially it is maintenance-free.

Treatments will always affect the appearance of the wood and it is important to be discerning.It is all too easy to end up with a product that is simply sawn down to an unattractive finish, which is why in most cases refine the surface of their beams with a hand wrought finish.

Do you use only English oak?
90% of the time we use English oak. We never ship Oak trees from the eastern block or from indiscriminate random individuals and always select carefully sustainable forestry managed sources. Should there be a preference for a particular type of oak, then we will endeavour to adhere to the customer's choice.

Colours become richer over time. Left untreated the oak will weather attractively in around a year but to maintain the original lighter colour, treat with oil or seal before exposing. It is recommendable to check the colour on an off-cut of the same timber if you do intend to varnish.

Doesn't green oak shrink and crack?
The simple answer to this question is yes - the oak will shrink.

Most shrinkage arises when wood is subject to fast drying. When fresh timber meets hot sun the outer surface dries first and therefore shrinks faster than the inside. The fibres separate causing cracks.

Wood can be kiln dried, which controls this process and helps prevent cracks caused by uneven drying.

Wood can be air dried but it takes much longer -a year for every inch of thickness. Oak sections larger than 3-4" in thickness cannot be fully dried (down to ~ 12% moisture) by any conventional kiln methods. In addition the process of kiln drying is very space and energy intensive and so greatly increases the cost of the oak to the consumer.

Dry oak is therefore only usually used in the manufacture of joinery products such as windows, doors and tables. 
This means that ANY building made of green or semi-seasoned oak will dry out during its first few years in a central heated environment. This drying period will see the moisture content of oak change from around 60% to around 16%. This is a huge change, and so it's not surprising that the oak shrinks a little and that cracks occur. However, it is generally agreed that it is these very cracks and splits which add to the character and charm of the finished product.

Oak is likely to shrink by approximately 2.5% across its grain, however there is virtually no shrinkage at all along the grain.
  Timber Barn Farnham   Timber Building Guildford   Oak Framed Out Building  
  If you have any questions or would like a quote, please drop us an email using our enquiry form.  
01420 487939   07719 795276
Owl Barns, Binsbrook, Oakhanger, Bordon, Hampshire GU35 9HT
Based in Bordon, Hampshire we cover a 50 mile radius including: West Susex, Surrey, Farnham, Guildford, Woking, Farnborough, Aldershot, Cranleigh, Dorking, Leatherhead, Peaslake, Hindhead, Grayshott, Churt, Frensham, Worthing, Brighton & Hove, Seaford, Eastbourne, Crawley, Tunbridge Wells, Portsmouth, Southampton, Eastbourne, Tonbridge, Ashford, Littlehampton, Reigate, Redhill, East Grinstead, Bognor, Horsham and many more.
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