Coming from Britain where almost all homes are bricks and mortar, I’m fascinated to see on American TV programmes like Flipping Vegas and Flipping Boston that almost all American homes seem to be timber frame.
Even more bizarre is seeing that American roofs are always felt tiles (roofing shingles). Whereas in Britain using roofing shingles wouldn’t get planning permission for domestic homes; we only use such materials for roofing on garden sheds. In the UK the standard roofing materials for domestic homes are either slate or clay tiles.
In our cities most homes are built from clay bricks and roofed with clay tiles, and in the towns and villages quite often stone bricks and slate tiles; sometimes in villages a number of older houses being thatched with reed grass.
The standard build in Britain is the cavity wall where both the outer and inner skin of the wall is built from brick with a 3 inch cavity between which these days is filled with insulation; so the total thickness of the wall is just under 1 foot. Even all the internal walls (whether structural or not) tend to be brick built; which can be a pain if you want to make any major alterations to the internal layout of the house.
I know that building from brick, when each brick is only 8 inches long and 3 inches high, is labour intensive; so building a new home can at the very best take the best part of a year (compared to a timber frame structure which can be completed in weeks). Therefore, although British homes are expensive and time consuming to build; once built (provided the foundations are good, and they are properly protected against damp) are solid structures that will last the test of time.
I would be interested to learn whether what we see in Britain on American TV programmes is a true reflection, and if so what Americans see as the pros and cons of Timber Frame homes with felt roofs; compared to brick built homes with clay tile roofs, which are the norm in Britain.
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