Styles of wooden houses
For most South
Africans, the term ‘wooden house’ conjures up an image of a log
cabin in a holiday-like destination, either in the heart of the
Drakensberg mountains, in a bushveld region like the Kruger National
Park, or overlooking a sun-kissed beach in Cape Town. But don’t be
misled into thinking that just because a residential structure is
made of wood that it, automatically, needs to be of a rustic nature.
Thanks to wood being
one of the more versatile building materials, a wooden house can be
so much more than a rustic- or country-style home in a rural setting
somewhere – in fact, it can be as modern (or classic, or Asian, or
Scandinavian-styled) as you wish it to be.
wood as a building material
Is wood the building
material of the future? Well, wooden houses are among the oldest in
history and are especially popular in Northern Europe and America.
Timber homes were introduced to South Africa around the 1960s, mostly
as summer homes, but today a mere 1% of wooden houses have a
relatively minuscule share of local market. However, the last decade
seems to have ignited a trend in timber structures on a local level.
But let’s look at the
facts: sustainable grown and harvested wood has a carbon footprint
much smaller than other prominent building materials, such as
concrete and steel. That makes wood one terrific choice for even tall
buildings (even though not many wooden skyscrapers can be glimpsed
here in South Africa... not yet). A mass timber building’s carbon
footprint is nearly 75% less than a concrete or steel building of
similar size, which leads us to the conclusion that wood construction
is both cost effective and energy efficient.
Thanks to numerous
architects and designers, even local ones, coming up with clever ways
to make new and existing buildings more ‘green’ (just think of
solar heating panels visible on countless homes nationwide), wood
continues to enjoy popularity for its environmental friendliness. How
so? Because unlike concrete and steel, wood takes in massive amounts
of carbon dioxide as opposed to aiding in greenhouse gas emissions –
a definite plus in today’s modern age where cities seem to be
expanding at a daily rate.
Pros and cons of
You’re no longer
restricted to coating only your flooring with the wood of your choice
– wooden houses, although not visible in every neighbourhood, are
not such a far-fetched concept as they used to be. But before we vote
that all residential houses be turned into log cabins, let’s first
compare the pros to the cons.
Wooden houses have a certain ambience that is
just aesthetically pleasing.
Wood has terrific natural insulation
Wooden houses (and doors and windows) are
Although not a problem in South Africa, wooden
houses are quite sturdy against earthquakes.
Wood absorbs humidity better than brick,
meaning you are less likely to have mould issues.
Wood does require regular maintenance.
Wood tends to be more costly than aluminium
after glazing, painting or varnishing.
Termite and fire can cause severe damage to a
wooden house, which can be an issue if you live in an area where both
Costs of building a
One of the more popular
products from a company specialising in wooden houses in South Africa
with 275m² of floor space clocks in at R1,4 million, working out to
building costs of around R4,500/m². Compare that to the R3,000 to
R6,000 it can cost per m² to build a house using traditional brickwork and mortar.
If you’re looking at
a high-quality, solid log or wooden house with high interior
finishes, you can expect a budget of around R5, 500/m². This price
can definitely be lowered by incorporating innovative design and
plenty of open-plan living areas.
And how about
purchasing your own, ready-made wooden or timber home in South
Africa? It is possible, with a 30m² design starting out at roughly
R290,000, and a 75m² two-bedroom cottage from about R650,000 from a
local supplier of timber homes. For a larger family, consider a 128m²
design with three bedrooms at about R1,080,000, or a 170m² unit with
four bedrooms coming in at about R1,4 million.
Of course various
factors influence the final price, such as size, location, provider,
type of finishes, etc.
And on a side note:
South African insurance applications for timber homes are subject to
the same enquiries and procedures as conventional bricks-and-mortar
homes, with no discrimination between wooden- and brick houses, for
example – provided that all the necessary authorisations have been
Let homify help you
Whether it’s a
mountain cabin, a prefab home, a log house or a brick home that you dream
about, homify is sure to have a range of examples to inspire you. In
addition, we also provide a list of expert professionals (such as
architects, interior designers, carpenters and many more) working both in- and outside the house, which means
you are sure to find not only the residential structure of your
dreams, but also the professional ripe and ready to help you design
and build it.