Oak beams have been used within architecture for many years, whether that’s for structural purposes or aesthetics. They have recently had a resurgence within construction; many oak beams are popping up in the design of modern homes. Here at Timber 2 U Direct, we are enjoying this oak renaissance so much, we thought we would give you a little look into the history of the beams.
The Origins of Oak Beams and Timber Framing
Timber has always been a part of construction. As a natural resource, it was always available to build shelter from. Archaeologists believe the first timber framed house can be traced back to the Mesolithic period, over 10,000 years ago.
Medieval and Roman
As time went on, more and more buildings began to include intricate timber structures. This was due to the introduction of better tools in the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages timber buildings were at their peak. Building such as Westminster Hall which were built during this time. Westminster Hall as a clear span of 60ft, which for the time, was incredibly impressive.
Even dating back to the 13th century, timber framing and oak beams have been a present theme within British architecture. Tudor houses are defined by their oak frames across the country. Many of these buildings today still survive and are much admired. A lot of timber framing and exposed oak beams within houses that we still see today were inspired by the Romans from 50AD.
These old houses we have mentioned are called half-timbered houses. This refers to the way the timber logs are used. The log within the build are cut in half or down to a square inner section. Unlike houses today that install walls inside and outside of the frame, half-timbered houses had walls that filled the frame instead. This was usually done with wattle-and-daub. wattle-an-daub consisted of intertwined branches of various thickness and a thick coat of clay mud. It could also be done with laths and plaster, or bricks.
Decorative Oak Beams and Timber Framings
In the 15th and 16th century, the classic timber frame began being used for decorative purposes. Timber that had little to no structural importance would be added to the frame to enhance the look of the house. This would give the timber framing a pattern. Some houses even added oak beams to the ceiling, much like many people do today.
The Benefits of Tudor Oak Beams and Timber Framing
One of the benefits of building houses in this way was being able to take apart buildings and re-build them elsewhere. This is also helpful today as many historic homes have been reconstructed in open air museums.
Timber in the Victorian Era
In the Victorian era, there was a decline in timber framing. Due to the high demand for timber from boat builders, the joints carpenters enjoyed crafting with were in short supply. Brick and stone started to become the most popular choice for building up to the roof level and then ridge beams were installed. These would spanning across and between the brick walls. This created some of the gorgeous oak beam structuring that we search for today.
Using Oak Beams in The Modern Home
Many barns from the medieval period, built with oak beams, have since been transformed into stunning modern homes. They usually have the original beams still intact. Sometimes the beams need replacing but the upgrades made only structurally improve the home, not taking away from the exposed oak beam ceiling that many people love so much. Obviously, there are only so many barns available in the country. This has seen a rise in a new style of home that mirrored that of a converted barn.
Carpenters have also since learnt to combine old and modern techniques to form the perfect combination of oak beams in the modern home. This follows the format of parallel lines with crosses in between.
The Benefits Oak Beams Bring into Your Home
Oak beams have been sort after in recent years for their aesthetic properties, but there are many more reasons why oak beams can make a home look timeless. Oak is a beautiful timber that ages well. It also has incredible properties to it. The way it diffuses light makes a room appear to have a softer glow than any other wood. Oak ages beautifully, adding more character. It does this using the small splits in the wood and the colour darkening over time. Some people opt for a fully rustic look and allow the oak to age naturally. Other choose more modern treated beams that won’t change too much in colour. It is also a very sustainable timber.
The oak here at Timber 2 U Direct has been grown and sourced from sustainably maintained FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved forests. This means that by buying it from us, you are supporting the continuation of sustainable forestry and helping to protect our planet and its resources for future generations.
Adding Your Own Oak Beams
If this journey through history has inspired you, why not look at incorporating oak beams into your house? You might just want to add some oak furniture. Here at Timber 2 U Direct, the online trading arm of brooks bros, have a wide range of made to measure timber for you to choose from. This includes hardwoods such as oak, ash, maple, beech, tulipwood, and walnut, but also softwoods such as cedar, fir, and pine.
We can cut your timber to size in a multitude of profiles. This means that no matter how you want to include oak in your home, you can do so confidently. We will also deliver your timber directly to your doorstep from one of our timber yards across the UK, meaning you don’t have to leave your home or worry about collecting it.
To find out more about our oak beams or any of or other timber options, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today or call us on 0115 993 1111.