When we are taking our overseas clients around they sometimes say things like “there are not too many brick houses around here”. Usually they are from Europe and expect homes to be made of bricks and mortar.
Here in British Columbia it is very rare to see any brick buildings. You may see bricks on the outside of a home. Don’t let that fool you. This is a thin veneer. Instead of wood siding, there are brick tiles applied over the wood and tar paper.
In fact our houses are built from one of our most abundant natural resources – trees. It makes sense really if you live in a forest to use the wood for your home.
But wait. We live in a rainforest. (You know it rains here, right?) So wooden houses have to be protected from the weather.
In part this means designing the home so as to reduce the chances of water getting in. Look for large overhanging eaves tat will help keep the rain away from the windows and walls. Choose a pitched roof rather than a flat one. Look for flashing to protect the decks and windows.
The other thing to know is that you need to keep up with the maintenance. A good design will not protect you forever. If your gutters are full of debris (from those pesky trees) then the water may back up and get into the home. Check the drainage around the outside of the house. Clean the pine needles and branches off your decks and make sure your drainage is moving the water away from the home.
A word too on apartment buildings. High rises will be made of concrete. Low rises are typically wooden. Same rules apply to both types of building. Design is a factor but maintenance is needed. Part of your (and our) due diligence in buying an apartment or townhouse is to check the minutes to see that the building is being properly maintained.
A final word in defence of wooden construction: it is really easy to remodel your home. I have seen houses changed so much during a renovation. Hey, a good carpenter, a trip to the lumber yard and you have the makings of a completely different home!