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Concrete Vs. Timber Frame House

Updated July 19, 2017

Modern residential buildings are generally framed with either a combination of concrete and steel or with timber. Each has a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of material will depend on the nature of the project.

Cost

Wood as a construction material is comparatively cheap and requires much less expertise to work with effectively, which makes it a better candidate for DIY work. Concrete and steel are more expensive and require proper formworking skills which may require the hiring of skilled workers.

Form

Concrete can be made into a variety of shapes by creating the proper formwork. This allows for smooth curves or intricately textured surfaces that would be too tedious with wood. Wood is better for straight lines and framing.

Durability

Reinforced concrete is one of the most stable construction materials; the combination can resist both shear forces and compression forces. Properly made reinforced concrete buildings can last thousands of years. By contrast, wood-framed homes are more flexible and generally more resistant to earthquakes, but decay quickly.

Vulnerabilities

Wood-framed homes are vulnerable to infestations by wood-boring insects, as well to as moulds and water damage. Concrete homes are basicly impermeable to insects but can sustain damage as they swell and contract due to moisture and temperature changes.

Climate Control

The higher mass and density of concrete construction makes it a better insulator. A home with concrete construction will retain heat or cold better than a wood-framed home.

References

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About the Author

Evan St. John is a freelance writer from Austin Texas. St. John graduated from the University of Texas with degrees in English and Linguistics, and is a regular music review columnist on AustinSound.net.