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What NOT to do to a timber frame

This is probably one of the worst timber frames I've seen for a long time.  Quite how it got to be SO bad, I have no idea.  I think it's the people maintaining it - lack of understanding about breathability.  They didn't WANT to hurt the building.  I also know that during restoration in the 1970's, there was a total lack of ANY traditional material in the specification - I've seen it.

The entire front frame was ready to collapse, and the gable wasn't far behind.

The current owners have inherited a lot of problems and are doing their best to sort out what is basically a rebuild, on a very limited budget.

 So what caused total destruction of a VERY important public building?

  • Very poor specification by architect
  • No understanding of traditional building by contractors
  • Cement
  • Silicone sealants
  • Expanding foam
  • Cement
  • Resin wood filler
  • Plastic paint
  • Acrylic sealants
  • Gypsum plaster

The Sill Beam

This is the sill beam to the upper section.  It is rotten, to the core.  The bit in the middle is the original 17th C beam.  Running vertically off it are the posts - some original, and some replacements.  They have rotted off, so the tenons are gone.  In the foreground is lead - which has been nailed to the beam.  Water was trapped on the lead, rotting it from underneath and behind.

In front, is a modern piece of planking. Why it is there,I have no idea - It should never have been put there.  It's rotten.

The posts are filled with a variety of things - from dark brown resin, to cement, gypsum, expanding foam.  Bits of brick, plywood - anything that happened to be there was thrown in the hole and gooped around to make it fit.

The infills - same thing - brick, laid in cement - so a ticking time bomb from day one - and filled around the edges with silicone, acrylic, resin and foam.  The poor posts had no chance - they just rotted where they stood.

The entire front elevation is ready to collapse - everything has rotted.

Fungus Galore...

The rest of the front elevation is similar - fungus everywhere.

And more fungus

Regulated by RICS