2 bay oak frame garage

Many customers come to us wanting to know about the options available for the latest work project on their property. This can be anything from whether or not they should install hardwood doors on their garages, if they want to add a loft space to their created building, or if they would like to make a completely bespoke design. We can even provide advice on the benefits of using either flitch beams or traditional jointing techniques.

At English Heritage Buildings, we have many years of experience in working with timber as a construction material. As such, we pride ourselves on being able to discuss a wide range of design features and building techniques that have wood at their heart, including whether or not flitch beams have more advantages than jointing techniques. We are happy to do this in order to help our customers make the best decision for what they wish to purchase, whether that is a new oak or timber framed building, garage or extension. 

If you have been looking to create a new, durable wooden structure with a timeless style on your property, explore the range we have available on this site or get in touch with us today. Our friendly staff will be happy to help you select the product you need, and can discuss any special requirements that you may have for it, before our expert carpenters start their work.

What is a Flitch Beam?

A flitch beam (otherwise known as a “flitched beam”) is a compound beam made up of a steel plate (commonly referred to as a “flitch plate”) and two timber beams. The steel plate is sandwiched between the wooden beams, with the three alternating layers being held together using bolts. The word “flitch” means “flesh” and it refers to the fact that the beams have always been cut lengthwise into strips, similar to bacon (which is where the word originated).

flitch beam

What are the Benefits of Using Flitch Beams?

The main benefit of using steel flitch beams is that they are lighter and cheaper than pure steel, while also still allowing the builder to fix in surrounding timber framework using either nails or screws. This would save the builder money, while ensuring the strength of their work project is not compromised in any way. Flitch beams can also be made stronger, by adding more timber and steel layers into the design.

Flitch beams are also stronger than timber, and require less depth for building than a wooden beam would, if it had the same amount of strength.

What are the Disadvantages to Flitch Beams?

The biggest disadvantage to using flitch beams is the high cost of labour involved in their manufacture. The cost is great enough that their use has actually fallen in contemporary construction, with flitch beams mostly only being used for historic renovations (as the beams will reinforce existing lumber supports) and aesthetic purposes. The beams also take a longer time to put together than beams made only from timber, meaning that the amount of time needed to complete a work project will increase.

Why We Prefer Traditional Jointing Techniques to Flitch Beams

At English Heritage Buildings, we only ever use traditional jointing techniques to put our solid timber products together for customers. Our method of working has a number of benefits over the use of flitch beams, which we have listed below:

  • The products are lighter
  • The products are cheaper to produce and put together
  • The products take less time to make and install
  • The products are made more efficiently
  • The products offer you a more traditional design for your property
  • The products are sustainably sourced
flitch beam

Lighter: Structures made purely from timber are lighter than those which contain a steel plate, allowing for an easier build and quicker installation.

Cheaper: Products made entirely out of wood cost less to make, and can save you money on labour costs as they require a smaller workforce to put together, in a shorter amount of time. 

Less Time to Make: Frames made only from handcrafted wood will result in quicker work from our expert carpenters, meaning that your product will be ready in a shorter amount of time. In turn, you will then be able to put your purchase together more quickly, resulting in the installation being completed sooner.

More Efficient: Frames made with traditional jointing techniques are made more efficiently, with close attention to detail that results in a cleaner finish. This also helps to bring about a swift, simple installation that would not be achieved with flitch beams.

Traditional Design: Completely wooden frames have a wide reputation as a classical design, lending an authentic charm to your property that could not be achieved with any other type of beam available.

Sustainably Sourced: When you choose to buy your oak or timber product from us, you can be certain that the wood is coming from a sustainable source. For every tree we use in our products, three more are planted in its place, keeping our products sustainable for the future and meaning we will be able to provide high quality oak and timber frames for many years to come.

Contact Us

If you have been looking for a strong, beautiful oak or timber structure to complete the look of your home, get in touch with English Heritage Buildings today. Our products offer all the benefits over flitch beams that are listed above, and we love what we do, so we want you to be able to have the best product available on the market. 

Contact us and we can discuss what you would like for your property, before you place an order and our professional carpenters and timber graders can select the wood for your frames. You can have your perfect oak building, garage or extension in no time; all you have to do is call.