What’s the catch with houses made of timber: I’m sharing how I built a house in the country to rent it out to a neighbor

Building a house or cottage with a bathhouse from profiled timber is the choice of 40% of buyers. Why this building material is so popular can be understood by re-reading numerous user reviews. For those who have been saving for a house or cottage for years before construction, it is important to plan everything and choose lumber of the appropriate quality at an attractive price.

But it’s difficult to figure out on your own which reviews are true and which ones are written for the sake of advertising in order to sell the product faster. We analyzed reviews about profiled timber, both on forums and on manufacturers’ websites, and for the convenience of readers, we combined the most popular of them in this article.

Construction site use – pros and cons

Profiled timber is produced using high-precision equipment. Therefore, with the correct manufacturing process, the material is obtained with precise shapes. But this only applies to species produced in large production facilities.

Unfortunately, we have quite a few “handicraft” ones. Having purchased material from such a company, the user receives low-quality products and is disappointed. Building a house from timber of this quality causes many problems. This is why there are so many negative reviews online.

Of course, you can purchase a milling machine and cut the tenon and groove at home. But achieving factory accuracy without special skills is difficult. After all, large manufacturers have automated the entire process and were able to achieve accuracy down to mm. Of course, this only applies to large manufacturers.

Before starting from all sorts of reviews, you need to understand that profiled timber comes in two types:

  1. Natural humidity.
  2. Chamber drying.

And this is a completely different lumber with separate characteristics. If the quality of your home is important to you, then it is better to opt for chamber drying or build a house from laminated veneer lumber. Reviews for each type are usually combined into one, and this misleads many buyers. Let's try to figure it out:

Characteristics of profiled timber, what is emphasized when choosingFeedback on natural moisture materialFeedback on chamber drying materialExpert opinion
HumidityMost negative reviews concern the material with natural moisture. When it dries, it will twist, crack and lose its geometry. Kiln-drying material undergoes careful screening. Even during drying, those links that have cracked and lost their shape will be selected. Only high-quality goods are delivered to the buyer. Of course, you can purchase chamber drying, but unfortunately it is very difficult to find a product with the actual required humidity. Typically, timber with a larger cross-section, for example 200x200, is not completely dried; as a result, the natural moisture remains inside. And such a beam will bend and break no less. The second problem is that the structure of the timber is fibrous and it absorbs all moisture from the environment. If you purchase kiln-drying timber that you are going to store under a canopy, and it’s raining outside, then within two days you will receive material with natural moisture. You can avoid this by purchasing winter goods.
QualityNatural moisture can be of good quality if produced in a large facility.It undergoes careful selection, so in most cases it is of high quality.The quality of the material is directly related to the choice of the manufacturer. If you purchase from “handicrafts,” then you should not expect good material, even chamber drying.
AvailabilityThere is alwaysTo orderA cross-section larger than 200x200 is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase for more than 2 cubes. It must be pre-ordered.
ProfileSeveral variantsSeveral variantsThe simpler the profile, the more convenient it is to work with it. Although it is believed that the "comb" profile is better, this is a misconception. All the same, over time you will have to insulate the walls additionally.
Ease of installationConvenientConvenientConstruction from profiled lumber is directly related to the qualifications of builders - carpenters. For self-assembly, only ready-made kits are convenient.
PriceFrom 9,000 rub.From 13,000 rub.This construction option cannot be called cheap. Especially when it comes to chamber drying. And you shouldn’t believe that additional finishing will not be needed.

The main thing that should be done before purchasing such material when building a house from profiled timber is to control its quality before delivery to the construction site. And the rest will depend on the skills and abilities of the construction team. The moisture content of the timber greatly affects its quality characteristics.

Both dry and wet timber are made from the same type of wood with a moisture content of 40-50%. When drying, the humidity decreases to 20%. Based on reviews, the main advantages of chamber timber:

  1. Eco-friendly. But this can be said about any type of lumber, except laminated veneer lumber.
  2. Minimum shrinkage of up to 3%, almost like building a house from laminated veneer lumber. This is enough to make the wall askew. This means that chamber drying requires considerable subsequent investments and careful processing.
  3. During chamber drying, timber with increased knotiness is rejected. Indeed, you can purchase the highest quality goods from large manufacturers in dried form.
  4. Construction of a house from profiled timber is possible in the shortest possible time. It will take the same amount of time to build a house from dry or natural moisture material. Simply, with chamber drying, you can immediately begin finishing and lay a finished roof.
  5. Less cracking. Yes, if the correct technology is followed, and in Russia this is only 10-20% of the total, there will be fewer cracks.
  6. Does not require additional finishing or caulking. This is a misconception, but it will be difficult to caulk profiled timber.
  7. The dried material has increased water resistance and lower thermal conductivity. This is also a misconception. Indeed, such walls will retain heat better. But the timber will not acquire water resistance after chamber processing. To do this, it must be treated with special compounds. And their quality also depends on the price. It is unlikely that manufacturers will prefer an expensive treatment option.
  8. The dimensions allow this type of timber to be used in buildings of any complexity. Indeed, timber for building houses has sections of 150x150 or 200x200 mm, which makes it most convenient to use. The standard length is 2.4.6 m. But what does this have to do with the moisture content of the lumber?

You can talk a lot about the advantages of this type of timber, but it’s better to watch the video of professionals:

Of course, you can purchase a glued profile. This will give you dry material. We have already discussed reviews of laminated veneer lumber in a previous article.

Reviews about profile types

Profile types are also of greater importance during construction. Experts say that the more complex the profile, the better it will retain heat, and additional thermal insulation is not needed. A popular one is the “comb”. When there are more than two tenons and grooves. But, alas, according to user reviews, this material also needs to be insulated over time.

A profile not made by specialists may not have exact shapes, and this nullifies all its quality characteristics.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as large manufacturers. Their entire process is automated, and the tenon and groove have an accuracy of up to mm. But given that delivery to the buyer is not always carried out with all the rules and regulations, and storage at a construction site is usually in the open air, the wood changes its moisture content. This means that the profile is violated.

The new Finnish profile is interesting. It has a complex lock and even with minor violations it will still be sealed. But it also needs interventional insulation.

For construction, it is better to use the simplest profile option with additional insulation. Any construction team can handle this and no additional skills are needed to lay the walls.

What type of timber is there?

Evgeniy Filimonov

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According to manufacturing technology, timber is divided into solid and glued. A solid beam is cut from wood. Glued laminated timber is made from boards. The boards are treated with special anti-rotting compounds and glued with resins.

Such timber is resistant to cracking and less fire hazardous than solid timber.

According to the geometric shape, the timber can be regular or profiled. An ordinary beam has a quadrangular shape and the same dimensions along its entire length. The profiled timber has ridges, locks and grooves. This makes it easy to install the timber.

User opinions about ready-made houses

It is best to build houses from profiled timber with a cross-section of 200x200. This option is most suitable for the middle zone of our homeland. Interventional insulation will be less noticeable, and the walls may not be finished with a façade for some time. The best option for purchasing is a set of profiled timber. This material does not need to be adjusted and corner joints cut out. And having free time, it’s not difficult to assemble a house yourself. When chamber drying timber, the shrinkage of the house will be small, only 3-5%. Over time, the walls will still need to be caulked, but not along the entire perimeter, but only in places with large cracks.

Log houses with natural humidity

Houses made of lumber with natural moisture exhibit significant shrinkage, which occurs within 1-2 years. This is a long time; according to reviews, the walls can settle by 10 cm. It is not worth finishing the walls of such a house right away. The roof and floor are laid rough, and the building is allowed to settle for at least 1 year.

It is convenient to assemble country houses from such timber, which are visited only in the summer. The house will shrink, but it’s not difficult to wait out the shrinking. The price for such a log house is 2 times lower than for one made from kiln drying.

There is another option to save money by purchasing a log house from a winter forest. The humidity of such material does not exceed 18%, and this corresponds to chamber drying. At the same time, in winter the material costs less, since this is not the season for construction.

Chamber drying log houses

Houses made from chamber-drying profiled timber are assembled in 1-2 months. Their shrinkage is insignificant, so finishing can be done immediately. Glulam logs are especially distinctive. Their shrinkage is only 2-5%. After assembling the log house, you can immediately move into such a house, install a heating system and not be afraid of excess stress in the walls when heating the house.

They build houses from profiled timber of any complexity. And the square section types 200x200 and 150x150 allow you to assemble a log house quickly without additional skills.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a truly dried log of this cross-section. Since it is difficult and expensive to dry a section of 200x200. Manufacturers are in a hurry to sell the material faster and do not meet all deadlines. To prevent future problems, use a pocket moisture meter.

We present a video review from one of the developer companies about such houses:

After watching it, it becomes clear that the video was shot for advertising. The disadvantages of the material are deliberately kept silent. Of course, you can find other videos that talk about the mistakes that are made when installing a house made of profiled or laminated timber:

What's the result?

There is one more nuance - at night, when there was silence everywhere, the neighbors heard the creaks and “moans” of wood, settling under the weight of furniture and human bodies located on the second floor, in the bedroom. The girls were scared.

Fortunately for me, the measures listed above allowed the house to stand securely, the windows and doors did not warp, the glass did not break under the weight of the upper crowns, and people have a place to live.

Do you think it is possible to make some other improvements that will allow the house to last at least 100 years like before?

Chamber drying baths

Having built a house from profiled timber, many owners want to build a bathhouse from the same. Profiled baths are easy to assemble and finish. It will not be difficult to decorate the steam room and dressing room with clapboard. And the rest room breathes and allows oxygen to circulate.

To build a bathhouse from profiled timber, it is important to properly design the exhaust system. It is because of an error in the hood that baths accumulate moisture and begin to rot. This is where negative user reviews appear.

Before building a chamber-drying sauna, think about what kind of wood is best to purchase. Larch, aspen and linden profiled materials are well suited for the construction of baths. It is possible to build from pine and spruce, but in the steam room, when heated, the walls will begin to “cry”. You can avoid this by using additional interior finishing made of aspen or linden lining. But it is better to make the canopy and furniture from linden or aspen.

The washing department is a room with high humidity. Larch and aspen profiles work well here. Many companies take these subtleties into account when building a bathhouse and offer mixed options. For example: the dressing room and steam room are made of aspen, and the washing compartment is trimmed with larch. But such options are rare. When building it yourself, you can take this into account.

If the house is assembled from profiled timber, then it is better to assemble the bathhouse from the same material. This way the buildings will look like a single ensemble. But, before you start building from this material, you should carefully read our article and think about whether to believe the reviews on the websites of the manufacturing companies.

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