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Advantages of Timber over Steel and Brick

Discover the advantages and disadvantages of using timber over steel and brick.

Construction worker assessing a timber construction project

If you’re looking at using timber for construction, you may want to know whether there are any advantages or disadvantages to your choice of materials, in comparison to more regularly used materials within the construction industry. Here at Coventry Timber, we know everything you need to know about construction timber including its advantages and disadvantages, so we can get you on your way to building brilliant timber construction projects.

sustainable timber construction project inside building
treated timber panels or posts stacked up

Timber for construction

When it comes to the popularity of timber for construction, in the UK timber is not the predominant choice for construction, with only around 9% of new homes built with timber frames in 2019. However, since then there has been a particular rise in the popularity of timber being used in construction. As there is an increasing demand for more affordable, yet sustainable homes in the UK, it is looking like timber is a way of supplying access to homes that are affordable, cost-effective and can be built in significantly less time than those using traditional building methods.

Unlike many other countries that have a longstanding tradition of using timber for building, the UK is yet to move over fully from brick. Although, this is expected to change over the coming years, with the UK following the trend that is currently being set by the rest of Europe.

What are the advantages of timber

Although timber has been a favourite in construction across the world for centuries, in the UK we haven’t been benefiting from the advantages of building with timber for some time. So, what are the advantages of using timber for construction?

  1. Sustainable – With an ever-growing demand for more sustainable sources for almost everything to do with the climate crisis, the construction industry is also looking for ways to create a more sustainable building future. One of the main advantages of timber for building has to be its sustainability. Unlike brick and steel, timber is a completely renewable construction material, as long as trees are planted to replace those that have been harvested.
  2. Durable – Construction timber is an incredibly durable material. Although there will always be some concern about timber’s ability to last, there are many wooden structures that have lasted for centuries. With timber being easily cared for and maintained, timber is a cost-effective choice for long-term maintenance in comparison to traditional choices such as steel or brick.
  3. Reduced production energy – When it comes to comparing the energy used to produce materials such as brick and steel, timber’s production energy is significantly less. Very little energy is used to produce timber for construction, with timber being one of the lowest production energy sources for construction.
  4. Insulation benefits – With timber having natural insulation properties, it makes for an exceptional choice for doors, windows and floors. In adding timber frames to the picture, more space is created for more insulation, in comparison to buildings made from other materials. Essentially, timber-framed homes or buildings tend to require less energy to heat and cool, in turn using smaller volumes of fossil fuels.
  5. Build time reduced – In comparison to traditional building materials such as steel or brick, using timber for construction can significantly reduce build time. With construction timber usually being pre-cut, timber can allow for quick building, with instances where the building can be modulated and built in advance before making its way to the site, something that is not possible with traditional building materials.
  6. Cost-effective – Although costs can vary depending on the initial size of the building project, timber is typically cheaper to use in construction, in comparison to steel or brick. With timber being a fast alternative to traditional practices, this can also make timber construction a cost-effective option.

Are there any disadvantages to using construction timber

Like every material, there are always going to be disadvantages to using timber for construction. Although there are substantially more advantages than disadvantages, it is only fair to point out some areas where timber may not be the right use of material.

  1. Fire – Unfortunately, timber-framed constructions will not be able to withstand the flames, should a fire break out. However, you can treat timber with fire retardants, which will slow down the surface spread but won’t stop the fire itself. It is always important to choose the right material for the right project, therefore it is important to take into consideration timber’s lack of fire resistance.
  2. Shrinkage and swelling – As timber is a natural material, it can shrink and swell over time as it has the ability to absorb water. It’s essential to treat your construction timber depending on its use, otherwise, when it’s exposed to water untreated it can eventually rot or lead to loss of quality.
  3. Risk of rot – When using timber for construction, there is always going to be a risk of rot. If the timber absorbs a significant amount of water, it can lead to rotting and degrading. However, most modern timber frames are typically treated, detailed and checked to ensure that once built there will be no rotting issues.
  4. Maintenance requirements – To ensure that your construction timber stands the test of time, it will require maintenance. Regular inspections of the timber will be needed to identify any areas where the timber may need to be repaired. It is also important to conduct regular cleaning and treating of your timber to ensure it can withstand the ever-changing temperatures and conditions of UK weather.

Why choose Coventry Timber?

What to expect from Coventry Timber

Here at Coventry Timber, we have over a century of combined industry experience, so we know everything you need to know about construction timber, its advantages and disadvantages. We have been helping major contractors, DIY’ers and tradespeople since 2001, with all our customers returning to purchase our brilliant timber products again and again. A selection of information is also available on our website for customers and non-customers to benefit from, to ensure their timber products can be used for every type of construction.

Discover Coventry Timber for the best construction timber

When it comes to timber for construction, then look no further than our fantastic selection of timber products available here at Coventry Timber. From treated timber and cladding to redwood timber and sawn timber, we have every type of timber you will need to create a multitude of timber buildings. If you’re unsure about the products you need for your next project, then get in touch with us here at Coventry Timber. Our expert knowledge can guide you in the right direction, if you have any questions, then give us a call on 02476581904 or email us at



For more information on Advantages of Timber over Steel and Brick talk to Coventry Timber Products Ltd

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