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  /  Apartments   /  Why wood, and not concrete is used to build houses in the USA ?

Why wood, and not concrete is used to build houses in the USA ?

Economic Cause:

Wood is inexpensive in the US that benefits from vast areas for cultivation, efficient transport and distribution and a huge internal market. Even if other materials and techniques become available, it is so entrenched to use wood that the change would have to be either on the basis of price, durability, strength or another compelling argument.

In residential properties, the roof structures, internal walls and floors are usually based on wood throughout the country. Plumbing usually is located under the wood floors or hollow-framed walls that are only covered in sheet-rock (plaster of Paris sheets covered with thick cardboard).

In the south of the US, exterior wood structures are subject to termites and degradation by the elements, so the usual materials are concrete block reinforced with metal rebars and then covered with stucco for a smooth aesthetic appearance or cladding (siding or shingles) for an appearance that emulates wood surfaces or stone/brick.


In the north, there is less opportunity for termites and a wood frame and wood-clad house also provides insulation that’s useful in winter. The exterior is then covered in a decorative surfacing that can be shingles, stucco or “faux” brick.



Brick only wall construction is extremely expensive in the US since it is labor intensive and a lot of bricks are needed so that the structures are solid enough. If there are new homes with a brick appearance, they are probably only faced with brick decorative surfaced but the structural rigidity is based on either wood-frame or concrete walls.


There are other techniques such as poured concrete into wall moulds or sprayed concrete over a rigid form but they are rarely used in residential homes:

  1. They are generally more expensive since there are fewer suppliers. Most such methods are used by industry or big businesses.
  2. The market is priced by “comparable sales” of similar houses in a region. If a house is very different in construction from the others, it makes valuation difficult and, thus, the ability to get a mortgage.

Cultural Preference:
When the pioneers and settlers from Europe came to the Americas, there were far more trees than there is now, and the trees by far the only building material available to them. Even in Europe due to similar reasons, common people had wood houses, only the nobles had brick/stone houses. Thus wooden houses have become the norm.

In the US, wooden houses offer insulation. Even if one builds brick and mortar houses, one has to put layers of wood on the inside for insulation. Thus making everything out of wood seems a natural choice.


Source: https://bit.ly/2P1uW1R


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