Surveys of timber frame houses

Date Published

22 August 2022

Document Type




Professionals undertaking surveys of timber frame buildings should have an understanding of the overall design and typical detailing employed in this form of construction.

The approach to surveying a timber framed house is no different from that used for other methods of construction. There are many similarities with brick and block construction that can make timber framed houses hard to spot, but there are also tell-tale differences.

This Wood Information Sheet (WIS) concentrates on details where timber frame construction differs enough from masonry to suggest specific checks. Establishing the reasons for apparent faults may demand a more rigorous investigation, such as using a borescope to inspect cavities.

Key Information

Timber frame and masonry buildings can look very similar. However, a survey of features such as depth of window reveals, allowance for differential movement under windows and timber materials exposed in roof spaces will confirm timber frame construction.

A condition survey should look for evidence of excessive diferential movement (or lack of provision), corrosion of metal elements such as lintels and punched metal plates, drainage and ventilation of the cavity in external walls, support and bracing of trusted rafters in roofs, ventilation of the roof space, excessive moisture content of timber, distress in wall and ceiling linings, and insect attack.

Case studies

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now-completed Hostry, runs at right angles to it.