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Knock on Wood


Wooden houses still have a reputation for being old fashioned, low value structures that present a fire risk.

That these persistent prejudices are completely unjustified .

Modern wood houses are no different in quality than their conventional counterparts and fully meet all the applicable heating, dampness, fire and noise criteria.

The majority of people living in wooden houses feel more comfortable in them than in brick or concrete constructions, and furthermore, wood has many ecological, biological and economic advantages.

Wood – a step ahead

Wood is a modern building material, for several reasons.
“Ecologically speaking, wood is a step ahead of
other building materials,” according to Klaus Richter, Head of the Empa’s Wood Laboratory.

This natural
raw material is constantly replenished by growth and is locally produced from indigenous forests.
 It is also
CO 2 neutral, and disposal is not a problem.
So, in times when substantial added value is placed on
sustainability, wood becomes an attractive alternative to mineral-based construction materials.

A further advantage is that wood lends a comfortable atmosphere indoors, and wooden floors and walls are always warm and dry to the touch.

Wood removes humidity from room air when it is damp and returns
it when it is dry, so that wooden houses do not suffer from very dry atmospheres when heated in winter.

addition, Richter adds “Wooden houses can be prefabricated and erected very rapidly, leaving their competitors in brick and mortar or concrete way behind.

They also play a leading role in the field of energy
efficient buildings.”

Today it is possible to produce wood-based materials with predefined properties.
This is achieved by first
shredding the wood to produce shavings or chips, then reconstituting these using special techniques to give the required product. 

The new wood-derived materials are in addition dry, crack-free, and homogeneous, so that they retain their original shape and size.

Using solid wood and wood-based products, it is possible today to manufacture multifunctional assemblies on an industrial scale.
These are put together to create complete systems, like a sandwich with many-

layers of functions.
Complete sets of walls can be produced in a factory and transported to the buiding

site, where they are put together using a set of assembly instructions.

 “Building a wooden house today is
like assembling IKEA furniture,”

Advances in production techniques have now made it possible to use completely different construction methods.
Whilst in the past houses were constructed primarily using concrete block or timber-framed
methods, today prefabricated wooden assemblies are becoming more and more common.
using wood-based materials is beginning to establish itself as standard building technique.

Safety and protection requirements :
In terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, dampness resistance, and from the fire-safety aspect, wood
has made noteworthy progress.

Wood intrinsically has good thermal insulation characteristics, since it is by nature a cellular material.
For this reason wooden houses often have the qualities necessary
to achieve the “Minergie” label.

Modern wood buildings are also well sealed.
Well thought-through design and careful construction ensure
that no dampness can penetrate into the wooden structure.
This means that the wood used for modern
buildings does not need to be chemically treated.
“Good design and construction obviates the need for
chemical treatment” .

 The idea too that wooden houses are noisy, with poor
acoustic properties, is a thing of the past.
Today there is a large range of constructional measures which
can be taken to ensure that new buildings meet current acoustic requirements.

Finally, the danger of fire is no longer a justified fear.
Wooden houses built with fire retardant components
are astonishingly resistant to fire damage.
Whereas steel and concrete rapidly lose strength when heated,
wood burns through astoundingly slowly.
“The risk of a fire is not increased by the use of an inflammable

construction material, but through the age and contents of the building and the carelessness of its inhabitants.

  Wood buildings last a long time

It's possible to erect wooden houses which would have long useful lifetimes – as long, in fact, as brick or concrete buildings.
They demonstrated the many different applications available to wooden
buildings by the following examples: office buildings, swimming baths, churches, bridges, industrial

buildings, inhabited dwellings and even fire stations!

 Barrow House

The most wonderful thing about living in wood home is closest to the nature.
Barrow House is the project by Andrew Maynard Architects is such wooden home which has all modern features for comfortable living.
Both inside and out, meticulous woodwork is simply spectacular.
Everything what is possible is made from wood.
 Even though the house doesn’t situated in the middle of a forest using wooden materials adds feelings of comfort to those who live there.

Andrew Maynard Architects]

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