Paper presented at the XXXIII IAHS World Congress on Housing, 27-30 September 2005,"Transforming Housing Environments through Design", University of Pretoria.
Finland is a world leader in timber construction. Wooden houses in Finland have traditionally been single-family detached houses. Since the 1990s, Finland has made significant investments in timber construction and has tried to increase the use of wood also in apartment house construction. Finnish experiences of wooden houses have not only been positive. Serious moisture damage has been discovered in 82% of single-family houses built after the 1950s. The worst damage has been leaking of gently sloping roofs, floor damage caused by building too close to the ground, damage of wet areas and damage caused by pipe leaks. The large amount of damage demonstrates that wooden structures are susceptible to damage. However, the damage has resulted more from experiments and errors in ways of building than from the use of wood as a main building material. Before timber structures can become common in apartment house construction, it will be necessary to eliminate the damage and learn to build sound and lasting timber structures. When wood is structurally properly protected, it is a long-lasting and reliable material that creates beauty, warmth and cosiness in its surroundings.
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