Concrete blocks offer multiple advantages and few disadvantages when used as the primary structure for homes. Interior and exterior finishes provide limitless design options, blending beautifully into the most upscale neighbourhoods. The financial advantages of concrete block begin at construction and continue through each year of ownership.
In the 1950s, when concrete block became popular for homes, there were a number of disadvantages. The walls were not fully finished on the interior or exterior, making the homes unattractive, were not insulated for northern climates and had problems with sound magnification. All of those problems are easily corrected today. The early reputation influences opinion today among those who are ill-informed with quality building practices.
Concrete block homes better withstand hurricane, tornado and earthquake when steel reinforcements and poured concrete are added in the central hollow space of the block walls.
Tim Carter the syndicated columnist of Ask The Builder, states that thick masonry walls "help to maintain comfort within the home, especially if they are well insulated.” Every climate benefits from the thick wall construction that keeps the outside temperatures from entering interior spaces. Carter praises the many construction and savings advantages, adding: “The disadvantages of building with concrete block are few, in my opinion.”
Lower insurance premiums are the among the financial advantages of concrete block homes. In addition to being more resistant to wind, concrete block is not vulnerable to fire, mould or termites. The less risk to the insurance company, the greater the savings to the homeowner. Savings will vary depending on other individual factors of the home.
The materials and labour costs to construct concrete block homes are less expensive than a wood frame home, affecting the price per square metre when establishing new home values. This may be a deciding factor for professional home builders in regions where the market lacks knowledge regarding the many advantages of concrete block homes.
Concrete block homes are considered “green,” or environmentally friendly. The blocks are made from sustainable resources that are recyclable. Since the homes are not subject to the same damage as wood, the fewer major repairs will lessen the impact on landfills. In addition, the long-term savings of electricity and heating fuels preserve valuable resources.
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