Wooden Houses: Here’s what you need to know
Whether for day-to-day usage or for a getaway from the norm, wooden houses are as popular as ever. These dwelling types, in particular, log cabins crafted by hand, have been built for centuries in places such as Scandinavia, Russia and Eastern Europe, and in the early 17th century, Scandinavian settlers took this craft to the United States. China itself has a very rich architectural culture that goes back thousands of years.
What’s the fuss about?
While some homes are made from building materials such as concrete blocks, stone, bricks, steel and even clay (a team of architects in Hong Kong recently built a house made out of clay that can withstand magnitude 9 earthquakes!), wooden houses have been around for ages and are quite simply, dwellings constructed primarily of wood.
What are the different types of wooden houses?
From bungalows to beach houses, tree houses to boat houses, log cabins to lofts – wooden houses come in all shapes and sizes. A major distinction is between wood-framed houses and log cabins. Log cabins can be either hand-crafted or machine-made, and usually last longer than wood-framed homes. Depending on taste, these could also be perceived as the type that’s more aesthetically pleasing. Wood-framed houses are more affordable to build and are often prefab homes. In some cases this means that you’ll receive your soon-to-be abode in sections, ready to be assembled in your own time.
Are wooden houses common in Hong Kong?
In short, yes. Wooden houses are quite common in China. Timber-framed structures are found throughout this East Asian country and the different components are connected using tenon joints, which are known for their exceptional strength. Examples of such structures include The Imperial Palace and The Hanging Temple. In a different approach, one architect spent three years building a wooden house without using a single nail. By means of an ancient Chinese technique, the pillars and the beams of this mansion are joined by mortise and tenon.
Vacation or residence?
Wooden summer houses come in a range of styles. Depending on the specifications, these pre-fab homes produced in China varies in price. Expect to pay between US $75-135 (585 HKD-1053 HKD) per square metre for a neat structure made of sandwich panel and between US $300-400 (2341 HKD-3121 HKD) per square metre for a structure made from Russian Pine. If you are a great DIYer, a prefab home is just right for you. Get the building company to do the basic framing while you do the rest. But be sure to do your homework, as more options are available.
When it comes to permanent residences, Diaojiaolou are quite popular in southwest China. These stilted wooden houses are built close to the mountains, or above creeks or rivers. Mongolian yurts, usually occupied by nomads, are simple structures made from circular wooden frames and felt covers. Hong Kong boasts some modern wooden houses fitted with all the luxuries you can think of, providing the utmost comfort and opulence.
How do I curb wildfires?
With storms, typhoons, floods and wildfires being among the top natural disasters in Hong Kong, it’s important to protect your home as far as possible against these calamities. Fires can be especially devastating to wooden homes. But don’t worry, all is not lost. Here are a few things you can do to safeguard your home against wildfires:
· Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees
· Trim the grass around your house on a regular basis
· Cut back tree branches that are hanging over the house
· Clean the roof and gutters of twigs and leaves
· Keep a ladder (tall enough to reach the roof) and a garden hose handy
What are the benefits and disadvantages of wooden houses?
When it comes to wooden houses, the advantages are endless.
· They are more affordable to produce than brick homes
· They are kinder to the environment – made from natural materials, wooden houses are biodegradable
· They will keep you cosy in winter and cool in summer
· The turnaround time for the building process is quicker than with other materials like brick
· They are tough when it comes to natural disasters such as earthquakes
· Be wary of insects, as they can chew holes in the wood
· If you live in an area that is dry and susceptible to fires, your home could be damaged or even destroyed (see above for ways to prevent this)
· They are susceptible to fungus caused by moisture
Can wood be treated?
There is a myriad of wood finishing solutions to choose from. So while it is inevitable that the wood will age, there’s really no reason for it to remain untreated. Try STFChem in Tuen Mun 1 Kin Fat Street for wood protecting solutions.
How can we help you?
At homify, you can choose from a variety of professionals to help you build your dream home. From architects to home builders – we offer all of your home building solutions. Experienced professionals will share top tips that will take you from start to finish on this exciting journey!