Oak beams, also known as oak timbers or oak planks, originate from oak trees that are large and mature. Their purpose is to support the roof of a building or form the framework for a ceiling. They can also be used as structural components in structures such as doors and windowsills. Originally the use of beams was reserved for structures such as churches and cathedrals; however, today they can be found in many domestic properties (both historic and modern). Beams usually last between 30 – 50 years before they need replacing, after which time they can either be re-used elsewhere or left on site for recycling.
Main uses of oak beams:
- Due to their durability, strength and resistance to decay as well as the high quality of the British Oak that they are made from, beams are used in numerous places by architects, designers and homeowners. Below are just a few of the main uses of oak beams:
- Supporting structures such as roofs, ceilings and floors
- Carpenters work for windowsills, doors etc.
- Reclaimed beams can be used to create rustic furniture with a historical element. For example, handcrafted oak tables or chairs would make perfect dining room or living room pieces. They could even form part of a hallway table, staircase bannister or kitchen cupboards.
Why are oak beams great for UK homes?
Oak beams are a classic feature of UK properties and have been used for centuries. In times past, oak beams were essential in supporting the weight of a property, but today they often serve to add character and rustic charm to a house.
The key reason for their durability is that they come from hardwood trees, which means that they are dense. This makes them more resistant to rotting or insect infestation than other kinds of wood, such as softwood. Oak has traditionally been an expensive material because it has taken so long to grow. This meant that it was only used in building structures when there was no alternative available. However, with modern technology, we can now speed up the process and turn conifers into quality structural materials in just 20 years.
Oak beams have a variety of uses in houses and properties, including:
- They are used in the fabrication of beams and headers when constructing the frame of a building. The main advantage they have is that they can be worked with using machines to form complex shapes quickly and easily. This means that it is possible to add details such as arches or decorative moulding to them which would not be possible when working with natural stone. They are also more aesthetically pleasing than steel support structures because their natural look adds character to a property.
- Oak roof joists may be used on traditional properties where there is no cavity between inner and outer walls, but instead, the two structural surfaces rest directly upon each other (often, oak boarding will be fixed to the outer surface as well).
- Another function of oak beams is that they can be manufactured to suit different properties and purposes. For example, there are engineered timbers such as Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) which is used for specific purposes such as supporting roofing felt, whereas a log-shaped beam could be used for decorative purposes, splitting up garage storage areas or adding strength to an otherwise sagging deck. The uses of oak beams make them popular in traditional building and construction projects where they serve a practical purpose as well as add aesthetically pleasing features to a property.