As homeowners continue to embrace timber as a critical building material, builders have been forced to improve their framing techniques to stay ahead of completion. However, it is crucial to note that installation of a timber wall entails much more than just joining pieces of studs together to form a wall frame. A wall frame must perform optimally and stand the test of time without losing structural integrity. Therefore, builders must ensure that timber wall frames meet performance requirements before boarding everything up. This article highlights the performance requirements of a timber wall frame.
Termites damage one in every five Australian homes annually, which accounts for approximately $100 million in damages. It is for this reason that builders prefer to build timber frames with termite-resistant wood. However, some builders still use timber that is susceptible to termite infestation. However, it is crucial to treat wood to enhance the longevity of timber frames. It is especially the case if you are building a wooden structure in termite-infested areas. For instance, spraying termite-susceptible timber with insecticides creates a protective barrier around the wood, thereby keeping termites at bay. It is crucial to treat wood even if you plan to install a wall frame above the ground.
Attain Environmental Levels of Moisture
Lumber studs that are used on the outer sections of a wall frame must attain the desired moisture content before installation. The process entails drying lumber and conditioning it so that the moisture content is equal to the environmental moisture content (EMS) at the point of installation. Equalisation is critical because it helps to prevent issues like weak glue joints, twisting, splitting and warping of finished studs. Therefore, builders must work closely with wall stud manufacturers to ensure that the target moisture level matches that of the local area. Properly equalised timber studs allow a wall frame to expand and contract uniformly.
Terrain Category Performance
Exposure to wind speeds can significantly affect the structural performance of a timber wall frame. Therefore, builders must first understand the three terrain categories before installing timber wall frames. For example, building a timber frame wall in a terrain category 1 site means that the area is unobstructed and experiences strong winds. Wall frames constructed on such a project site must be braced adequately to prevent wind damage. Conversely, wall frames built on terrain category 3 sites only require enough bracing to hold a structure together, but not to protect it from strong winds.