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Solid Timber Homes Guide

Solid Timber homes

Fraemohs Homes was founded in 1968 by Monni Fraemohs, who brought with him from Denmark a passion for solid timber home construction. Since then, we’ve built thousands of houses all across New Zealand and the world in the distinctive Fraemohs log home style.

Our Solid Timber homes (which includes homes from our transportable range) have walls made out of sustainably grown New Zealand timber, while our Timbermode homes (which include designs from both our Alpine and Fraemohs First ranges too) have conventional timber framing and can have timber match lining as a feature interior lining. Nearly all of our homes – regardless of range, building material and style – are available as kitsets.

Solid timber construction

The Solid Timber system uses interlocking timber boards that stack on top of one another to form the walls of your home. There is no separate framing, cladding, or lining in these homes. The walls are solid timber, and provide insulation and protection from the elements as well as forming the exterior finish and the internal finish – all with a single material.

Naturally warm and healthy

The properties of natural timber also help to create a healthier home. Wood “breathes” in a way that man-made materials do not and helps control moisture levels indoors so that your home will feel drier, warmer and be easier to heat effectively. Timber’s ability to help prevent dampness from accumulating is especially important in bedrooms during the nights, making your home more comfortable and healthier to live in. Wood’s insulating properties can also help to reduce energy leakage from your home, making heavy timber very energy efficient. Timber’s propensity to naturally regulate temperature and humidity have been documented in hundreds of studies from around the world. For a very quick read you might look to see the abstract to this recent Finnish study on how timber improves indoor air quality.


The most environmentally responsible option there is

An internationally acclaimed study by the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) into carbon budgets for houses, revealed construction of a typical New Zealand house emits 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Which is about 7 times the amount required to meet the 35 tonne threshold compatible with New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act (which was designed to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees celsius). That’s the equivalent of driving a petrol fuelled car over a million kilometres.

How on earth can we really quell global warming when the construction industry is so dependent on carbon polluting materials like concrete and steel? The answer is ‘we can’t’. Which is why sustainably sourced timber is so important. Building a home of sustainably sourced local timber is practically the most environmentally responsible approach to building there is. Instead of building a home which emits 250 tonnes of carbon dioxide, a Solid Timber home is carbon negative. That is to say, it actually reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, because the trees it is built with capture and store CO2 as they grow in the forest. And when those trees are harvested, they are replanted with more carbon storing trees. From an environmental perspective, choosing solid timber construction is the best thing you can practically do when building a new home.

For more information, this article on Newsroom and this audio interview on Radio New Zealand are well worth a few minutes. To gain a clearer understanding of how big an issue we are facing, and how great an impact your choice of building material can make.


Timber is an incredible natural building material

Timber is a sustainable, natural, renewable resource.  It has an elegance and warmth that makes a home attractive to live in.

As well as adding a classic, homely feel to a house, timber has a lot of amazing properties that make it a fantastic choice as a building material.


Safe, strong and durable

One of the many reasons why wood has been used throughout the ages as a construction material is because of its durability and safety. Anyone who has lived through the Canterbury or Kaikoura earthquakes will know that many of the structures which performed best during the earthquakes were made of timber.


Light and robust

Our Timbermode homes use conventional timber studs during the timber frame construction. Often with timber cladding which is classed as a light weight cladding. This reduces the overall structural weight and stress on a building, which is important when you are building in an earthquake-zone.


Earthquake proof

Often with timber cladding which is classed as a light weight cladding. This reduces the overall structural weight and stress on a building, which is important when you are building in an earthquake-zone.

Fast to assemble

Most of our kitset homes are in our log home style. Our clients love them because the construction time is low and quality is exceptional. If you’re the home handyman (or handywoman) type and don’t mind a bit of heavy lifting, you should be more than capable of assembling the walls and installing the doors and windows. Because a lot of the work is done in our factory, the time on site in construction reduces significantly, which allows you to save on costs on site like equipment hire and travel for tradespeople. If you are planning to build in a remote location, you can’t beat a Fraemohs Solid Timber home. Opting for one of our existing plans will make for a more straightforward build.


Easily handles extreme conditions including massive earthquakes

If durability is a concern (it should be!), then an interlocking solid timber home may be perfect for you. Almost indestructible, our homes offer exceptional performance in earthquakes and unparalleled wear resistance. Our clients find our solid timber homes are the natural choice for exposed environments and high wear situations like motels and rental properties. We even supply kit homes to the Pacific Islands, where they are known for their performance in hurricane conditions (there is a reason why we refer to the tie rods in our solid timber homes as hurricane rods!). Sometimes we need to make minor upgrades in the case of extreme environmental conditions, but you get suitability for “high” wind zone (as defined in NZS3604:2011 – the design standard for timber framed buildings), and 1.5kPa  design snow loading right out of the box.


Lower labour costs, especially when building in remote locations

An oft-underestimated aspect of building in remote locations, is the cost of labour. Accommodation and transport costs rise the farther the project is from your building partner’s homebase.

Building a Solid Timber kitset home is a clever way to negate those higher labour costs. Because they are constructed using prefabricated components, most of the hard work is done in a factory and much less time is therefore required on site to build your new home.

Because the structural components are pre-manufactured, all of the measurements are precisely accurate. This means that all of the windows and doors can be ordered off the plans rather than having to wait for the framing to be complete to measure all of the openings on site. The same applies for the kitchen, which can also be pre-ordered based on the plan measurements without the need for a site measurement.

Windows and kitchen joinery are the aspects that cause delays in many building projects, so it is really beneficial being able to get these ordered early on to reduce the chances of hold-ups to your build.

Plaster and paint needs time to dry between coats, so the interior finishing work is often one of the most time-consuming and difficult to coordinate aspects of building in a remote location. You essentially eliminate the need for finishing trades such as gib-stopping and painting by building with Solid Timber.


Naturally warm and healthy timber homes, built to last

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