What we do
Carrying on a century’s old tradition, we build very high quality green oak timber frames for a wide variety of buildings, from houses and barns to porches and pergolas.
In our workshops we are using the same freshly sawn timber and techniques as our predecessors, relying on the same wonderful characteristics that green oak provides, to create unique, handcrafted and sustainable structures.
The oak frame buildings we produce have fantastic mix of sustainability, durability and adaptability in design, which together with the controlled off-site construction, makes them the obvious choice for the modern build.
Over many years of experience, we have found that the best way to finish and “watertight” a structure is to fully encapsulate the building. Our full encapsulation service entails the combination of cladded Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS), direct faced glazing and warm roof build-up.
By encapsulating the structure this way, you reduce the chance of any water ingress due to the natural movement of the timber, and greatly enhance the buildings u-values (heat, air and sound). Please read below for further information on each individual form of encapsulation.
Direct glazing is the only way to successfully glaze a green oak frame building. This deceptively simple and stylish glazing system has been developed over more than two decades, specifically for our timber frames.
The basis of the system is that glass is held in position outside of the frame by joinery-quality, seasoned oak cover boards. The system allows the maximum amount of light in through the openings in the oak frame while assuring that there is no ingress of water.
Our direct glazing system is guaranteed for 15 years and, critically, includes the installation as well as the double or triple glazed units.
Structurally insulated panel SYSTEm
Insulation is key to reducing high energy bills, since air leakage is the premier reason for heat loss in most houses tested. This is an element we incorporate into our oak frame builds, with the use of our own custom made Structural Insulated Panel System (SIPS).
We have been producing our own custom made SIPS longer than any other oak frame manufacturer in the UK. The SIPS panels are fixed around the outside of our timber frames and control the flow of heat, air and sound.
As a standard, our panels are constructed from 145x47mm C24 softwood studwork, sheathed in OSB3 boarding, wrapped in breathable membrane and counter-battened, ready to receive your chosen external finish. These panels are insulated with 120mm PIR insulation as standard, which allows for a service gap (electrics and plumbing).
warm roof build-up
One of the wonderful things about oak framed buildings is the roof, with the high vaulted ceilings exposing the structural timbers. In order to gain sufficient insulation u-values, we must therefore insulate above these rafters (as opposed to between them, as is done with softwood).
The biggest problem with this method is how one decorates the ceiling. Plastering and painting are time consuming practices, and once the oak has dried – there is a risk it will expose un-finished sections.
We at English Oak Buildings have developed a method of using pre-finished, fire retardant board installed over the oak rafters with subsequent layers of 150mm (2 x 75mm for improved u-value) PIR solid board insulation. This is held down with counter battens, ready for your desired roofing finish. Our oak frames are exceptionally versatile, and can be designed to receive any roofing finish, from standard tiles to zinc sheets and cedar shingles.
Our frames are compatible with all types of cladding. The oak frame and/or SIPS provide a superstructure on to which you can fix any material you wish, from any number of species of timber, to rendered finishes such as stone or brick.
When it comes to timber cladding – you have a variety of choices and profiles. We generally recommend using the four major types available in the UK – oak, larch, cedar or sweet chestnut. Each can be cut to a desired profile, installed both horizontally and vertically. They are all durable to weathering, and over time will oxidise similarly, giving you a beautiful finish.
As well as leaving your cladding to age and “silver” naturally, there are other options available -including staining, scorching and painting the timber.
When you consider the longevity of an oak tree, it comes as no surprise that timber frames made from oak account for some of the most beautiful historic buildings in Europe.
English Oak Buildings collaborate with architects and heritage teams to protect beautiful old buildings, restoring them to their former glory while conserving the traditional elements of the design. We also work closely with residential clients who wish to restore their property to its former glory.
oak glu-lam beams
Widely used in the industry as an alternative to steel, due to their structural stability – Laminated Beams (Glu-Lam) are being used more and more as building features themselves. They can span longer lengths then standard timber beams, as they do not move or shake (split/crack), due to the fact we use kiln dried timber, which has a very low moisture content.
Using our own custom-made press, we use a phenol resourcinol adhesive resin to glue 25mm thick kiln dried timbers together, to create a larger beam. This beam can then be traditionally morticed and tenoned, bolted or used like any other timber.
We generally use Glu-Lam beams above bi-fold doors for structural stability, but we have also designed them into more contemporary buildings.
doors and joinery
As well as our main portfolio of works, we can also design and build “ledge and brace” doors for outbuildings, such as garages and sheds. These high quality doors are fabricated using air dried oak, and are a beautiful finish to an oak framed structure. As well as doors we can build staircases, both internal & external.
We are able to source high quality single, double & bi-fold doors along with opening windows and general joinery, and all our joinery can have a painted finish, which is a lovely contrast to the oak frame.