A Brief History of Timber as Construction Material
The importance of timber in the shaping of human history is paramount. For thousands of years, it has remained one of the most valued natural resources. Today, timber trusses are used in the construction of the large majority of residential homes, and it’s always interesting to look back on our history and how certain discoveries and resources helped shape it. Let’s take a look at the history of timber and construction through the ages.
Early Use: (Prior to Stone; Timber Ruled)
It’s quite difficult – if not, impossible – to ascertain how long timber has been used to build shelter structures, given that it obviously far predates historical records and likely even language. In all likelihood, humans in our modern form in the palaeolithic age would have used timber tens of thousands of years ago frequently for tools and other purposes in day to day life. Prior to the stone age, timber would have been the main resource from which to build just about anything and everything. The crafting all manner of items crucial to survival, including weapons to hunt protect ourselves with, canoes and rafts to move on water and of course shelter.
The image below is an artist’s interpretation of early human shelters, which were put together with wood and stones. There is evidence to suggest that these temporary wood houses were prominent in certain parts of Europe 40,000 years ago.
Not to mention, cutting down trees and using the timber for firewood is thought to have been crucial for human existence in the first place. Needless to say, the use of timber was the most important natural resource pre-civilisation.
Timber Framing: Historically Popular Construction Material
Timber framing, whereby construction involves fitting cut-off pieces of timber together to create the frame, is thought to have emerged in the Neolithic period, or the last period of the Stone Age. Interestingly, the method of timber framing and the styles of structures that were built depended greatly on the type of trees available in the region. There is evidence to suggest that timber framing techniques were used all over Europe and in part of Asia during this time, where hardwood tree including oak and maple, are in abundance. In comparison, in colder climates such as northern Europe and parts of Russia, the log home was preferred, given that timber was quite tall in these areas. The ready availability of timber in EuroAsia is considered as one of the contributing factors to the rise of Western civilisation.
In some ways, it’s quite amazing that the same material early humans were using thousands of years ago is still one of the most important materials we use in the building of houses every day. Timber remains the preferred material for the framing of residential homes for a variety of reasons including the fact that it is readily available and renewable, it conducts heat and it’s inexpensive and easy to use.
If you’re looking for the best quality timber trusses, whether for building, construction or solid timber flooring, speak to the experts at O’Sheas Timber Trusses.