Cavity Walls for Timber Frame Buildings

With the sustainability agenda driving timber frame construction, demand is expected to rise significantly over the next few years. But it’s important to ensure that any building made from timber frame construction is adequately protected against fire. To do this, cavity barriers are imperative. Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant at BM TRADA, discusses the key considerations to be taken into account when specifying and installing them. Go here

The most popular form of insulation in a timber frame wall is PIR (Celotex GA4000 or XR4000) or glass mineral wool. These are fitted between the timber studs to reduce the U-value of the wall. They are surrounded by an external breathable membrane and covered by a vapour control layer to prevent moisture within the wall system from invading the cladding.

Timber Frame Cavity Wall Insulation: Key Considerations and Benefits

Cavity walls are required for all timber framed buildings. These are distinct from masonry construction in that the wall is built with two separate walls, known as leaves. Each wall is then tied together by timber ties or blocks, leaving a gap between the leaves. The gaps provide a venting space for draughts, as well as a thermal and acoustic barrier.

National building regulations stipulate where cavity barriers should be installed, how they should be constructed and how they are to be fitted. It is also essential to use cavity barriers that are fit for purpose. A good test is to tap a wall. A drained and vented external wall cavity will produce a hollow sound, whereas dry lined brick or block walls should produce a solid sound.

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