Timber is one of the oldest and most widely-used materials for building sheds. While this tried and tested material is popular, newer materials are often being used in its place. Timber comes with numerous benefits yet some people opt for steel sheds, seemingly unaware that wood far exceeds its steel counterpart in many ways. With timber as the main structural support of your shed you have a material that has a proven track record of safety, longevity, and functionality.
We appreciate that we may seem a little biased towards wood. After all, we’ve been using it to build our sheds for decades. But that’s because we believe in only using the best materials for the job, and timber has proven its dependability time and time again.
So while there are countless reasons why you should choose timber framing for your shed, we’ve narrowed it down to the following 7 reasons to help you see why it’s the best:
1. It’s Fire Retardant
It’s time to debunk the popular myth that timber cannot withstand fire. The fact is timber is more fire retardant than some steel and has a higher level of structural integrity during a blaze, making it the safer choice in the case of a fire.
The New Zealand Building Code outlines that a pole shed would take longer to burn down than a cold rolled steel shed. Not only that but cold rolled steel will actually collapse in a fire as temperatures reach 230°C as a result of buckling. Timber however won’t ignite until it reaches a temperature of 250°C and will form a protective layer of char. This means that a timber shed would take longer to burn, giving you more time to either put out the fire or evacuate safely.
2. Noise Reduction
Another of timber’s more favourable qualities is its ability to absorb sound. No matter what you’re doing, working inside a shed is inevitably loud. Harsh weather conditions such as wind, rain, and hail outside of a shed can also be extremely noisy! These sounds are often heightened when bouncing from steel cladding to steel framing. This is where timber poles and wood framing come in handy, as the softer material absorbs a lot of the loud noise and provides a much more pleasant acoustic experience inside your shed.
3. Easier Internal Fit-out
A great advantage of timber framing is that it allows for easy internal fit-out. The timber means you can simply nail in any fixtures to the main structure, without the risk of weakening the load-bearing elements. Additions such as shelving and plywood lining, or the installation of workbenches, and interior walls is very achievable with timber framing - even if these aren’t in the initial design! Whether or not these features are something you’re planning on adding right away, having the ability to do so later gives you great versatility and really future-proofs your shed.
4. Simple and Safer for Electrical Wiring
With a steel shed the imminent risk of live wires coming into contact with the framing means that circuit breakers and additional insulation are required to prevent this serious hazard. However, timber isn’t a conductor of electricity, making it a lot safer and less time-consuming for electricians to install wiring throughout the shed. And as previously mentioned, these fixings are a lot easier too thanks to the ease of working with timber!
So while cold rolled steel may seem a cheaper option on paper, it may be worth factoring in additional costs for the electrician to install electricity, lighting and any other wiring you may require inside your shed.
5. Structural Rigidity
With years of construction backing the use of timber, it is a well-trusted and safe material choice. Timber is very structurally sound, which can be handy when heavy machinery is being operated around it! Timber framing is more rigid and can withstand the knocks from equipment and machinery that often occur in a shed. Under the same conditions, steel is prone to denting from the minor knocks that are inevitable when working in a shed and can even buckle beyond repair if hit by something like a forklift. Whereas timber can withstand extreme force as well as last for many decades, even in adverse conditions.
6. Timber Won’t Rust
Another key benefit to timber construction is that timber won’t rust. This is important to recognise in any location, but especially in a coastal setting where sea spray is prominent. Surprisingly, sea spray can travel up to 50km inland meaning that even non-coastal sheds might show signs of salt-induced wear over time.
Choosing cheaper and lesser-quality steel can equate to a higher chance of rust. This is especially true around any cut points or scuffs in the protective coating. Thankfully, rust is no threat to timber. While many steel sheds are galvanised or coated for protection, it’s important to pay close attention to when this process happens during construction. If the protective coating goes on before holes are punctured or welds are done then these areas are unprotected and will be the first places to decay. There’s little point protecting 98% of a shed if the 2% that’s going to rust are the bits holding it together!
7. Environmental Friendliness
Being a naturally occurring resource, timber is a more sustainable option. Wood naturally absorbs and stores CO2 from the atmosphere, while steel does the opposite. Steel actually emits CO2 into the atmosphere as it’s produced. Since CO2 emissions are one of the largest contributors to climate change, the fact that timber absorbs it is essential to balancing atmospheric carbon. Timber is also biodegradable which means it is easily and naturally broken down at the end of its useful life. Otherwise, timber can be reused in construction for another shed or milled for palings - the re-purposing opportunities are boundless. Timber is uncontested when it comes to selecting a construction material based upon environmental factors. Felled timber used on sheds retains the stored carbon and, when sustainably sourced, enables other trees to be planted which will store carbon as they grow.
Not only does a timber pole shed meet all of your core requirements (such as shelter, functionality, and safety), but it ticks all of the boxes including exceptional quality, longevity, flexibility, and more! Still on the fence about choosing timber pole construction? Check out this article or take a look at our timber frames brochure below to get an even closer look at the benefits of the timbers we use! So, why wouldn’t you choose timber?