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sustainability — how long does a wooden house last?

Belgians and their bricks

Saying that wood is currently the underdog in the Belgian construction world is quite an understatement. Only 1 in 10 construction projects are wood-based and this is already double what it was 10 years ago. But why?

Bricks — or more correctly concrete — remain the favorite in Belgium, much more than in other countries. The perception is that stone is a better building material. We often hear this when we talk to potential buyers and their well-meaning parents don't want to sponsor their kid's project, because they worry about the durability of a wooden home.

But is this based on reason?

Typische Belgische baksteenmuur

more than a millennium

There are plenty of examples of wooden structures lasting ages. The woodwork of the palace in Versailles is almost 350 years old. The oldest wooden homes in Belgium are in Ghent and Bruges and date back to the 17th century. In Bruges, they've recently discovered a basement that was constructed in around 1200 A.D., that scientists were able to date thanks to the wooden structures.

But it gets even more spectacular: the oldest wooden building in the world is the Horyu-ji temple in Japan, that's about 1300 years old. The central pillar, that survived a fire in the early years of the temple, is made from a tree felled in 594 A.D.

Sure, these are places that have been inhabited, maintained and, where necessary, restored. Just like stone buildings need to be maintained and restored from time to time. The point is: there's no need to worry about the lifespan of a wooden building.

Houten pagoda's tonen aan dat houten gebouwen eeuwenlang kunnen meegaan

built to last

So just the wood by itself is a great product, but we also use some smart engineering tactics to protect your home even more against the sands of time. Skilpod homes are built from LVL wood, that's even sturdier than regular, massive wood.

Around this LVL wood, we build several layers in different materials (fire-resistant panels, wood wool, waterproof membrane...) that protect the wooden structure from moisture, fungi, insects and other horrors. On the outside of the home, we have our typical exterior finishings in wood or stone, that make sure your structure is never subject to the whims of the weather.

little maintenance

The classical issues with wood maintenance are not relevant in the case of Skilpod. The timber frame is not visible on the in- or outside, so you don't need to worry about its maintenance. 

On the inside, the walls are painted. You can put a fresh layer of paint on them every now and then, but this isn't different from any other traditional home.

On the outside, it depends on the finishing you choose: stone or wood. The stone strips we use are thin layers of brick, that function just like any other type of brick facade. There's little to no maintenance, except perhaps removing some moss every so often if your house is in a moist environment.

The wood we use is Thermowood, a type of wood that undergoes a special drying process in an oven. It can last up to 20-25 years before it needs freshening up.

optimal resale value

We're convinced you'll love your Skilpod, but what if for any reason you want to move out? No worries, the resale value of a timber frame home is no different from a stone home. The most important factors are: location, location and location.

But Skilpod does offer some additional benefits.

Because we do extensive research on market demands, you can be sure your home will appeal to a broad audience of potential buyers. We take into account major trends like ecology and compact living, without going to extremes such as a tiny house. The target market for a resale Skilpod is not limited to a certain small niche.

Because ecology is so important to us, we comply with all necessary EPB regulations, which means your potential buyer won't be scared away by immense renovation costs. 

And if you're worried about that Belgian love of bricks? Then just pick one of our stone exteriors!

Skilpod modern design houtskeletbouw woning, detail afgeschuind zwart raam en rode steen

Published: 9 November 2021

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