How good is wood

Published on May 09, 2017 | by Michael Coyle

Sometimes a question arises about the expected life of a wooden building. I think the only way to answer that is to show some information about buildings around the world that have stood the test of time. We also must bear in mid that today we are using this, most resilient, building material with the benefit of the new idea of "lamination" which avoids any warping of the structure.

In Aquitaine much of the architecture dating back a thousand years is heavily dependent upon strong wooden beams and excessive use of timber. Since the 16th century wooden buildings used for drying tobacco have been commonplace in the region with some being converted into houses and standing today. In Northern Europe and mountainous areas of Europe wood is very commonly used. Where there is a wide annual temperature range wood is perfect building material, it can expand and contract without any adverse effect upon the structure of the building. Most important of all is that wood is very slow to change temperature so it retains the days heat at night and the night cool during the day making for a comfortable living environment all ways.

Borgund Stave Church in Norway is one of 28 similar churches in that country and was built around the year 1200 entirely of wood, even a wooden shingle roof. So respected is this structure that copies have been built in Germany and USA in the 19th and 20th centuries.

A few years ago I stayed in the worlds biggest "log cabin" in Canada which is built to last as long as Borgund church and we were involved in the development of a golf resort in Newfoundland all with wooden homes withstanding the extremes of temperature swings and providing a very comfortable living environment

Wood is a sustainable crop which has great benefit for the environment during it's lifecycle. Manufacturing and building with wood causes little pollution and construction is quick and economical. All these facts just make sense.

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