There are many materials to use when building the frame for a new home or building. One of the most popular choices is to use green oak. Green oak is oak that still retains moisture and hasn’t had time to completely dry out. The oak used in green oak frames is typically grown on farms that replant the trees as soon as they are cut down. This makes green oak one of the most sustainable building resources on earth.
Using green oak certainly helps the environment, but it just makes sense when you are building a new home. Green oak is much easier to work with than other types of wood. This makes it a great choice if you want complex designs or accents in your home. This type of oak can be easily shaped or cut to create unique designs.
It also saves money since kiln or air dried oak is much more expensive. It is also harder to find just the right size of dried oak which means extra waste if the timbers are the wrong size.
Green oak still retains moisture and as it dries it shrinks and strengthens. This natural seasoning process increases the hardness of the oak making it much stronger. It is important to note that when oak dries, it only changes width. Green oak never shrinks in length, so there is no danger of a beam slipping out of its joint.
It is true that as the oak dries, it can develop cracks. These usually do not impact the structural integrity. There are limits within the grading system used for green oak that limit the angle of the grain. This means that even if a crack occurs, it should not cross the grain and thus won’t weaken the beam. All builders and architects should allow for this shrinkage so that it isn’t a problem later on.
Some may wonder about the fire resistance of an oak frame. Oak actually performs better than many other materials when it comes to fire. Oak has a very low thermal conductivity which means it burns very slowly. As a result, oak stays strong which increases the chances that the fire will be detected and the building evacuated.
Another benefit of an oak frame is that it is naturally weather resistant. The frame can be allowed to naturally weather or it may be treated to help retain the original color. Green oak frames are easy to maintain, structurally strong, and environmentally friendly. They are a great choice for your new home.