Which timber to choose for building a house

Bruce is per­fect. Accord­ing to its aes­thet­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics, it belongs to the true works of build­ing art. It is only impor­tant to choose the right tim­ber for build­ing a house. We will lis­ten to the instruc­tions and advice of experts on this issue.
Which timber to choose for building a house
What tim­ber to choose for build­ing a house. Pho­to: pixabay.com

Leonar­do da Vin­ci nev­er invent­ed the beam. It is pos­si­ble that this was done sev­er­al cen­turies lat­er by Russ­ian crafts­men, who were famous for their wood­en build­ings with­out a sin­gle nail. It is no coin­ci­dence that they say that every­thing inge­nious is sim­ple. Take an ordi­nary log, trim it from four sides, and you get a beam. But before that, as before the inven­tion of the wheel, it was nec­es­sary to think. In addi­tion, the hew­ing must be very care­ful in order to cre­ate a smooth sur­face and a reg­u­lar square shape. Only in this way can the bars be stacked on top of each oth­er with­out a gap.

More com­plex types of tim­ber were already invent­ed by Euro­peans. Start­ing from the 16th cen­tu­ry, in Europe, in the con­struc­tion of bridges and arch­es, bent wood­en struc­tures began to be used, which were fas­tened togeth­er with spe­cial wedges, and then with met­al brack­ets.

The cre­ator of glued lam­i­nat­ed tim­ber is the Ger­man car­pen­ter Karl Het­zer. In 1906, he patent­ed his inven­tion for glu­ing small wood­en boards with casein glue, which were used in con­struc­tion. In Switzer­land, hous­es were built from such boards. In the future, tech­nol­o­gy began to improve rapid­ly. In Rus­sia, the pro­duc­tion of glued wood­en struc­tures began to devel­op active­ly in the mid­dle of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Cur­rent­ly, var­i­ous types of tim­ber are the most demand­ed mate­r­i­al in the wood con­struc­tion mar­ket.



Features of using timber for building a house

The beam is made from nat­ur­al wood, main­ly conif­er­ous species: pine, spruce, larch, cedar. This has its own expla­na­tion. Such wood con­tains a lot of resin, which is a nat­ur­al anti­sep­tic and preser­v­a­tive, so it does not break down for a long time. Conif­er­ous wood is rel­a­tive­ly soft and easy to process. In addi­tion, it is afford­able.

The most com­mon­ly used is pine. It is cheap­er than oth­er breeds and the most con­ve­nient in pro­cess­ing. Larch and cedar are much more expen­sive. Spruce tim­ber is used least often in the con­struc­tion of hous­es, as it is dif­fi­cult to process and col­laps­es faster. It is pos­si­ble to make tim­ber from oth­er types of trees, for exam­ple, from oak or beech, but in this case the price will be sky-high.

There are a num­ber of fea­tures of the use of tim­ber in the con­struc­tion of a house:

  • a bar made from nat­ur­al mate­r­i­al has a high envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness, which is espe­cial­ly appre­ci­at­ed in our time, when a healthy lifestyle is becom­ing more and more pop­u­lar;
  • an accept­able price is a very impor­tant indi­ca­tor, since it makes such con­struc­tion afford­able for the widest stra­ta of the pop­u­la­tion;
  • a house made of tim­ber is durable, more than one gen­er­a­tion of own­ers can live in it;
  • it should be not­ed the sim­plic­i­ty of tech­nol­o­gy and the speed of assem­bly at home;
  • due to the ease of con­struc­tion, there is no need to lay a pow­er­ful foun­da­tion, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces con­struc­tion time and costs;
  • no need to car­ry out exter­nal and inter­nal dec­o­ra­tion of the house, as the tim­ber has a nat­ur­al beau­ty. In extreme cas­es, these works can be min­i­mized, which allows sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings.
How to build a house from a bar

Increas­ing­ly, a bath­house is being built on sites from tim­ber, and not from bricks or logs.

Types of timber for building a house

When build­ing a house, the fol­low­ing types of tim­ber are most often used: ordi­nary, pro­filed and glued. Con­sid­er the pros and cons of each type.

Ordinary timber

This type of tim­ber is the most rep­re­sent­ed on the build­ing mate­ri­als mar­ket, since it has the sim­plest man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­o­gy and does not require com­plex wood­work­ing equip­ment. The log is sim­ply sawn from four sides. Most often, the cross-sec­tion­al size of such a beam is 150 by 150 mm or 150 by 200 mm.


This tim­ber is an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly mate­r­i­al, because it can reg­u­late the lev­el of humid­i­ty in the house, absorb­ing excess mois­ture or increas­ing the humid­i­ty of dry air. In addi­tion, the beam is able to reg­u­late the tem­per­a­ture and air con­di­tions due to the micro­cir­cu­la­tion of air in the wood itself.

Low cost, which is explained by the lack of costs for dry­ing wood and its pro­cess­ing.

Avail­abil­i­ty in acqui­si­tion and sup­ply, since this mate­r­i­al is almost always present in the ware­house and on the con­struc­tion mar­ket.

The low cost of con­ven­tion­al tim­ber is due to the lack of costs for dry­ing wood and pro­cess­ing it. Pho­to: shutterstock.com


An increase in con­struc­tion time, since a house made of raw tim­ber needs to shrink, which lasts from six months to a year. The result­ing gaps require caulk­ing.



Unpro­filed tim­ber often cracks as a result of dry­ing, which requires addi­tion­al work to cov­er up cracks.

The sur­face of the raw tim­ber is not smooth, and this com­pli­cates the process of lay­ing the crown; it is not pos­si­ble to achieve a snug fit of the bars to each oth­er.

The dry­ing of the beam leads to the fact that a large load falls on the fas­ten­ing mate­r­i­al (dow­els, grooves).

Since a sim­ple tim­ber is not treat­ed with anti­sep­tics, this leads to the for­ma­tion of a fun­gus and requires addi­tion­al costs to com­bat it.

A sim­ple tim­ber does not have the same attrac­tive­ness as a processed one, which implies sig­nif­i­cant costs for inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or fin­ish­ing and insu­la­tion.

Since a sim­ple tim­ber is not treat­ed with anti­sep­tics, this leads to the for­ma­tion of a fun­gus and requires addi­tion­al costs to com­bat it. Pho­to: shutterstock.com

Profiled timber

It is also made from a whole log, but, unlike a sim­ple beam, it under­goes sig­nif­i­cant fac­to­ry pro­cess­ing, as a result of which it has high-qual­i­ty side sur­faces and a com­plex sec­tion­al con­tour. Some com­pa­nies make spe­cial kits for such a beam, which allows you to assem­ble a house in a short time.

The pro­filed beam has high-qual­i­ty side sur­faces and a com­plex sec­tion­al con­tour. Pho­to: shutterstock.com


Pro­filed tim­ber, as well as ordi­nary tim­ber, has envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits, as it reg­u­lates humid­i­ty, tem­per­a­ture and air cir­cu­la­tion in the house.

There are lon­gi­tu­di­nal stripes on the beam, which con­tribute to the snug fit of the beams and reduce heat loss after the con­struc­tion of the house.

The pro­filed beam is well processed at the fac­to­ry and is com­plete­ly ready for assem­bly, while its price is only 1.5 times high­er than that of the usu­al one.

This beam is stan­dard, which dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­es the speed of build­ing a house, in addi­tion, the lon­gi­tu­di­nal stripes increase the adhe­sion den­si­ty of the beams, and this reduces the pos­si­bil­i­ty of twist­ing and crack­ing.



Pro­filed tim­ber prac­ti­cal­ly does not need fin­ish­ing, since smooth wood­en sur­faces look beau­ti­ful any­way.

Pro­filed tim­ber prac­ti­cal­ly does not need fin­ish­ing, since smooth wood­en sur­faces look beau­ti­ful any­way. Pho­to: shutterstock.com


If the pro­filed tim­ber is not dried in the fac­to­ry, then shrink­age of the house can­not be avoid­ed, just as in the sit­u­a­tion with an ordi­nary tim­ber.

Cracks may appear as a result of shrink­age, but their num­ber will be small.

Glued laminated timber

Unlike pre­vi­ous types, this beam is glued togeth­er from spe­cial blanks (lamel­las) of conif­er­ous trees. The blanks are pre-dried and treat­ed with anti­sep­tics and flame retar­dants, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces their fire haz­ard and increas­es the lev­el of resis­tance to decay.


A house built of glued beams prac­ti­cal­ly does not shrink, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces the time of its con­struc­tion.

The pres­ence of lamel­las elim­i­nates the pos­si­bil­i­ty of cracks.

The strength of glued lam­i­nat­ed tim­ber is approx­i­mate­ly 1.5 times high­er than that of its coun­ter­parts.

Well-dried wood does not change its shape dur­ing the entire con­struc­tion and fur­ther oper­a­tion.

High heat sav­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce heat­ing costs.

You can do with­out inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tion due to the attrac­tive appear­ance of this prod­uct, but if fin­ish­ing is still required, then pre­lim­i­nary work is not need­ed.



The abil­i­ty to order a beam of the required sec­tion, which is most con­sis­tent with the project of the future home.


The high cost of glued lam­i­nat­ed tim­ber, which is about 2.5 times more expen­sive than its sol­id wood coun­ter­parts.

Due to the fact that glue is used, the eco­log­i­cal prop­er­ties of the tim­ber are some­what reduced: to absorb mois­ture and cir­cu­late air.

Thus, it can be seen that the num­ber of plus­es increas­es, and the num­ber of minus­es decreas­es in the tran­si­tion from ordi­nary tim­ber to pro­filed and glued. The most high-qual­i­ty and often used in con­struc­tion are pro­filed and glued beams.

Popular questions and answers

Pavel Bunin, own­er of the bath com­plex“Ban­sk”:

What thickness to choose a timber for building a house?

The choice of tim­ber thick­ness depends on the fol­low­ing con­di­tions:

- in what cli­mate the house will be built;
- what funds can be used to build a house;
— wish­es of the cus­tomer on exter­nal and inter­nal design.

The thick­ness of the beam affects the solu­tion of the fol­low­ing prob­lems:

1. Ther­mal insu­la­tion. The gen­er­al rule applies here: the thick­er the tim­ber, the warmer it is in the house. The opti­mal thick­ness is 200 mm.

2. Noise iso­la­tion. Wood absorbs sounds bet­ter than brick or stone, so even a small thick­ness of tim­ber will pro­tect against excess noise.

3. The strength of the struc­ture. For a one-sto­ry house, a beam with a thick­ness of 100–150 mm is suit­able. If it is planned to build a two-sto­ry cot­tage, then you need to stock up on tim­ber from 160 mm.

Which timber is suitable for building a winter house?

A win­ter house is usu­al­ly called a house in which peo­ple live all year round. This can be built from var­i­ous types of tim­ber, gen­er­al rec­om­men­da­tions are pre­served here. An impor­tant fac­tor is the thick­ness of the tim­ber, although it is not deci­sive. Usu­al­ly a win­ter house is built from pro­filed tim­ber 200 mm thick. It still does not pro­tect against severe frosts, so it is nec­es­sary to use a heater. The cal­cu­la­tion here is as fol­lows: a 50 mm thick insu­la­tion is equiv­a­lent in terms of ther­mal insu­la­tion to a 150 mm thick beam. Depend­ing on the sever­i­ty of win­ter, a heater with a thick­ness of 50, 100 or 150 mm is used.

What are the new types of timber?

Cur­rent­ly, new types of tim­ber have appeared, which are asso­ci­at­ed with the mod­ern­iza­tion of exist­ing build­ing prod­ucts.

This is the LVL bar. It is made by anal­o­gy with glued beams, but dif­fers in the mate­r­i­al used. Veneer is tak­en from var­i­ous trees with a thick­ness of about 3 mm and glued lay­er by lay­er. In this case, the direc­tion of the fibers in adja­cent lay­ers should be the same. It turns out a very durable and flex­i­ble mate­r­i­al, but extreme­ly expen­sive. There­fore, it is used main­ly for the imple­men­ta­tion of indi­vid­ual struc­tures of the house. It is unprof­itable to erect an entire build­ing from it.

Anoth­er mod­ern type of tim­ber is ther­mal tim­ber. It con­sists of lamel­las, inside of which is expand­ed poly­styrene. This sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduces the weight of the beam and increas­es its heat-sav­ing qual­i­ties. Thus, a two-pronged task is solved: the mass of the house is reduced, which reduces the pres­sure on the foun­da­tion, and the ther­mal insu­la­tion is locat­ed in the tim­ber itself, which does not require addi­tion­al insu­la­tion after the con­struc­tion of the house.