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Van Lady

Timber framed house fire

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This timber framed house was destroyed last night despite fire engines quickly arriving.

Early reports are that the fire started and spread from a car on the drive.

Luckily the family escaped unharmed.

Looking at the devastation it strikes me that another reason to avoid living in a modern timber framed house is because a fire can quickly take hold.

 

 

701DF391-1203-4F78-93B8-F6A859BC816A.jpeg

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And that the base of the frames rot after just ten years in the ground and wil cost £50k plus to put right.

File under Orlits, BISFs, Dorloncos, and Mundic as another "I've got a bright idea" gee whizz building technique that is going to go horribly horribly wrong.

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3 minutes ago, Economic Exile said:

This timber framed house was destroyed last night despite fire engines quickly arriving.

Early reports are that the fire started and spread from a car on the drive.

Luckily the family escaped unharmed.

Looking at the devastation it strikes me that another reason to avoid living in a modern timber framed house is because a fire can quickly take hold.

 

 

701DF391-1203-4F78-93B8-F6A859BC816A.jpeg

To be fair to the construction method, it looks like the 'timber-frame' bit is largely intact, and it is the 'timber bits inside' that have gone up in smoke.

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Not true.  It is not the framing that catches fire.  It is all the stuff inside.  Then  the roof that is timber in all houses and the timber frame is the last thing to go by which time you have lost everything anyway.  Looking at the house in your photo the framing is still there.  It takes quite a fire to ignite the frame.  Consider that the frames are covered in drywall which is a very effective protection from fire.  What wooden framing can do is survive subsidence, whether from local mining or just foundational movement, and that is a far bigger risk than a fire.  If the foundation moves under a brick house you have major problems.   

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7 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

And that the base of the frames rot after just ten years in the ground and wil cost £50k plus to put right.

File under Orlits, BISFs, Dorloncos, and Mundic as another "I've got a bright idea" gee whizz building technique that is going to go horribly horribly wrong.

Nobody with any sense puts frames in the ground.  The frames are built on a sill that is on top of stone or concrete which is above ground.  The stone or concrete is the foundation and often doubles as a basement wall.  My sills are just fine and are 150 years old. 

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16 minutes ago, Snow bird said:

Nobody with any sense puts frames in the ground.  The frames are built on a sill that is on top of stone or concrete which is above ground.  The stone or concrete is the foundation and often doubles as a basement wall.  My sills are just fine and are 150 years old. 

Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford is over 600 years old and it hasn't rotted.

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7 minutes ago, davidg said:

Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford is over 600 years old and it hasn't rotted.

william-t-robinson-american-1852-1934-an

Description:

William T. Robinson (American, 1852-1934)

Ann Hathaway's Cottage Before Its Restoration

<cough> RESTORATION </cough>

Edited by Frank Hovis

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3 minutes ago, davidg said:

Anne Hathaway's cottage in Stratford is over 600 years old and it hasn't rotted.

Probably because the timber frame is oak.

Modern timber construction houses like the one in the OP will be lucky to last 60 years IMO.

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26 minutes ago, Snow bird said:

Not true.  It is not the framing that catches fire.  It is all the stuff inside.  Then  the roof that is timber in all houses and the timber frame is the last thing to go by which time you have lost everything anyway.  Looking at the house in your photo the framing is still there.  It takes quite a fire to ignite the frame.  Consider that the frames are covered in drywall which is a very effective protection from fire.  What wooden framing can do is survive subsidence, whether from local mining or just foundational movement, and that is a far bigger risk than a fire.  If the foundation moves under a brick house you have major problems.   

What struck me was the difference between that modern timber construction house after a serious fire in comparison to a serious fire a couple of months ago in an older 1930’s brick built house with a slate roof. Can’t find a picture of it.

The inside was gutted, some windows were blown out but the roof was all intact. Unfortunately the woman in that house fire didn’t survive.

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6 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

william-t-robinson-american-1852-1934-an

Description:

William T. Robinson (American, 1852-1934)

Ann Hathaway's Cottage Before Its Restoration

<cough> RESTORATION </cough>

The restoration was some UPVC windows and cladding.

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1 minute ago, davidg said:

The restoration was some UPVC windows and cladding.

Talking about cladding nobody and I mean nobody has reclad their tower blocks because there is not a single form of cladding that is certified entirely safe from fire risk.

So... everybody's a bit stuck on this one.  Has anyone considered blue asbestos?  Now that doesn't burn.

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The construction of the walls is not really the issue.  Fires start inside generally and they go up very quickly.  This  means that the floor construction and ceiling construction is far more critical than the walls.  Floors and ceilings are often exactly the same in brick houses as timber frame houses and roofs are identical to both.   If a roof survives is most likely because the fire started low down and didn't get that high before the fire brigade showed up.  It has nothing to  do with the wall construction.    

1 minute ago, Frank Hovis said:

Talking about cladding nobody and I mean nobody has reclad their tower blocks because there is not a single form of cladding that is certified entirely safe from fire risk.

So... everybody's a bit stuck on this one.  Has anyone considered blue asbestos?  Now that doesn't burn.

Aluminum. 

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8 minutes ago, Snow bird said:

The construction of the walls is not really the issue.  Fires start inside generally and they go up very quickly.  This  means that the floor construction and ceiling construction is far more critical than the walls.  Floors and ceilings are often exactly the same in brick houses as timber frame houses and roofs are identical to both.   If a roof survives is most likely because the fire started low down and didn't get that high before the fire brigade showed up.  It has nothing to  do with the wall construction.    

Aluminum. 

Hey, canuck. Prepared to get flamed for that spelling.

Which is ironic given the topic

Edited by Captain Cavey

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1 minute ago, Snow bird said:

The construction of the walls is not really the issue.  Fires start inside generally and they go up very quickly.  This  means that the floor construction and ceiling construction is far more critical than the walls.  Floors and ceilings are often exactly the same in brick houses as timber frame houses and roofs are identical to both.   If a roof survives is most likely because the fire started low down and didn't get that high before the fire brigade showed up.  It has nothing to  do with the wall construction.    

Interesting info.

The fire a couple of months ago in the older house started in the kitchen downstairs and the one last night as I mentioned is reported as starting in a car in front of the garage.

I was shocked when I saw the state of what’s left of the roof on that house today.

It made me think about the thicker sarking boards likely to be used under the slates in the older house in comparison to what looked like chipboard that was put on the modern roof before the concrete tiles went on.

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2 minutes ago, Captain Cavey said:

Hey, canuck. Prepared to get flamed for that spelling.

Which is ironic given the topic

Ha! I didn't spot that -

ah-loo-min-uhm!

He's been over there some time though, bound to have picked up some of their mistakes. 

Am I right in thinking you're from South Africa? Or just making shit up in my head?

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14 minutes ago, Economic Exile said:

Interesting info.

The fire a couple of months ago in the older house started in the kitchen downstairs and the one last night as I mentioned is reported as starting in a car in front of the garage.

I was shocked when I saw the state of what’s left of the roof on that house today.

It made me think about the thicker sarking boards likely to be used under the slates in the older house in comparison to what looked like chipboard that was put on the modern roof before the concrete tiles went on.

Yes, the old roofing planks would have been much thicker and slower to burn than modern chip board and chip board burns hotter and quicker on account of all the glue in it holding the chips together.  Hate to belabor the point but nothing to do with bricks versus timber walls.  Again, the fire spreading from outside the house up the wall probably has more to do with the nature of the siding than the frame construction.  Stucco and aluminum are great, probably vinyl. 

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46 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

<cough> RESTORATION </cough>

Look in detail at a half-timbered house and you will usually find masonry packing where the timbers approach the ground - they had the remedial work done long ago

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Having done some construction in the U.K. before moving abroad, I was interested in all roof supports materials are steel, usually galvanised steel box sections.

This is resistant to rust, is light and easy to use, strong, welds easily to form all components of a roof, does not burn and is cheap.

Why has it never caught on in the U.K. ?

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31 minutes ago, Captain Cavey said:

Hey, canuck. Prepared to get flamed for that spelling.

Which is ironic given the topic

I am a great believer in "When in Rome" and all that, so I adopted all colloquialisms and spellings and all that jazz to the point that I don't hardly think of these things any other way but I do understand all the old stuff even if it seems a little odd to me now.  I can take any flaming. One local idea is dgaf and I love that one!  Mind you I can still get caught out.   A few months ago I told a mechanic I knew well that I needed a new tire fitted to my car and he took me aside and said, "Hey Phil, we don't fit tires in Canada we fit suits.  We install tires.  Jeepers! what else do I get wrong after all these years!   Car parts and tools I am totally converted generally to the point that I can't remember the English terms.  One I do remember though is "little end".  That is very funny when I run into it.     

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My last house was built in 1350. The main oak supporting beam in the smoke hall was an old ship's timber, probably another 400 years older. 

It would not have burned. I have never come across anything more solid than 1,000 year old oak.

The wattle and daub walls, however, were a different matter.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Bkkandrew said:

Having done some construction in the U.K. before moving abroad, I was interested in all roof supports materials are steel, usually galvanised steel box sections.

This is resistant to rust, is light and easy to use, strong, welds easily to form all components of a roof, does not burn and is cheap.

Why has it never caught on in the U.K. ?

No more steel works?

2 minutes ago, Cunning Plan said:

My last house was built in 1350. The main oak supporting beam in the smoke hall was an old ship's timber, probably another 400 years older. 

It would not have burned. I have never come across anything more solid than 1,000 year old oak.

The wattle and daub walls, however, were a different matter.

 

 

If you ever burn oak on a real log fire in the garden and compare it to the usual timber, you will appreciate oak, a very fine wood, even to burn.

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8 minutes ago, Bkkandrew said:

Having done some construction in the U.K. before moving abroad, I was interested in all roof supports materials are steel, usually galvanised steel box sections.

This is resistant to rust, is light and easy to use, strong, welds easily to form all components of a roof, does not burn and is cheap.

Why has it never caught on in the U.K. ?

There is a move to steel here too but it is more expensive than wood so it is going to take a long time before it is in general use.  The roofing material itself is going over to steel rather quickly though. it comes with a lifetime guarantee so is way superior to asphalt shingles and we never had the slate option.  Steel 2 X 4s and 6s are sold alongside the old wood.. I must admit I get wood for general use because it is so easy to work with. 

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