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Warm roof build up detail

Enhancing Aesthetics and Efficiency: The Warm Roof Build-up on Oak Timber Frames

Oak timber framing brings a timeless charm and robust strength to homes, extensions, and garden buildings. An integral part of maximizing both the beauty and efficiency of these structures is the implementation of a warm roof build-up. This modern roofing technique not only showcases the majestic oak beams but also offers significant insulation benefits, creating a roof that’s as functional as it is visually appealing.

What is a Warm Roof?

A warm roof construction is designed to keep all the insulation above the structural and decorative elements of the roof, which means the oak beams remain exposed internally, adding to the building’s aesthetic. This method differs from the traditional cold roof setup, where insulation is placed below the rafters, hiding the structure’s framework and requiring additional interior finishing.

Components of a Warm Roof Build-up

1. Waterproof Membrane: The build-up typically begins with a waterproof membrane that is laid directly on top of the oak rafters. This layer is crucial for preventing water ingress and protecting the structural integrity of the wood.

2. Insulation Layer: Above the waterproof membrane, a substantial layer of rigid insulation boards is installed. These boards are designed to fit snugly between the rafters, minimizing thermal bridging and maximizing heat retention. The thickness of the insulation varies depending on climate needs and energy efficiency targets but is typically substantial enough to meet modern insulation standards.

3. OSB or Plywood Decking: Following the insulation, a layer of OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood is applied. This layer serves as a base for the final roofing material and adds an additional structural element to the roof.

4. Underlayment and Roof Covering: A further waterproof underlayment is then laid over the OSB or plywood to provide extra moisture protection. The final layer—be it tiles, slates, or metal roofing—completes the roof, ensuring it is weatherproof and durable.

Aesthetic and Environmental Benefits

The beauty of a warm roof on an oak timber frame is in its ability to blend traditional craftsmanship with modern performance. Internally, the exposed oak beams offer a stunning visual element that embodies rustic charm and elegance. Externally, the roof can be finished to complement the architectural style of the building, whether it’s a classic or contemporary look.

Environmentally, the warm roof build-up is highly effective in reducing heat loss. By placing the insulation above the rafters, the entire roof structure is kept at or near room temperature, eliminating cold bridges and enhancing energy efficiency. This not only helps in reducing heating costs but also minimizes the carbon footprint of the building.


The warm roof build-up is an exemplary choice for oak timber framed structures, providing an optimal balance of aesthetic appeal and environmental benefits. By embracing this roofing technique, builders and homeowners can enjoy the dual advantages of a visually stunning interior and a highly efficient, sustainable roof structure.

An oak framed roof shot
Warm roof build up detail