Timber House vs. Concrete House – Making the Choice Based on Your Lifestyle.

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Timber House

Building a timber house is not only cheaper, but also faster than building a concrete house. It’s not always about the money and speed though.  There is a lot more to it. In this blog we aim to give you a better understanding of why we think S5 Construction Timber is better and why you should choose us as your trusted supplier. 

Advantages and disadvantages of S5 Construction Timber vs Concrete

Comparison between timber and concrete

It is vital that you are well informed when choosing a building material, because just like technology, timber and its uses have revolutionised. Therefore, we make it a priority to keep you up to date. We did some research and here are some answers to our questions.

House built with concrete

Concrete House Construction

According to Wikipedia, concrete is the second most used material, It is no doubt a popular building material, and there are many reasons that prove this statement true. In this case, we will be discussing some advantages and disadvantages to using concrete as a building material:

Advantages of a Concrete House

  • It’s very durable
  • It requires less maintenance
  • It does not rust, rot, or burn
  • It absorbs & retains heat (increases efficiency in buildings and cuts heating/cooling bills)
  • It’s wind and water resistant
  • It’s non-combustible (fire safe)
  • It’s an effective soundproofing material

Disadvantages of a Concrete House

  • It’s more expensive
  • It’s heavy & difficult to transport (although lightweight concrete does exist)
  • It has limited versatility
  • It takes more time and energy to build
  • It’s susceptible to efflorescence
House built with timber

Timber House Construction

Just like concrete, timber has its benefits and its drawbacks as a building material:

Advantages of a timber House

  • It’s Cost-effective
  • It’s a natural resource (readily available, presenting promising opportunities)
  • It’s components withstand movement
  • It can withstand impact
  • It’s easy to work with
  • It has high thermal properties
  • It is pleasant in hot and cold weather

Disadvantages of a Timber house – only if not treated with CCA.

Building inspectors have found it to be a hot spot for mold growth and moisture related problems, which undermines the structural integrity.

Timber is more susceptible to water damage, fire, decay, and termites

Sustainability and the Environment

Timber is a natural, sustainable, and environmentally friendly building material. It stores carbon dioxide, which results in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2,432 metric tonnes (equal to taking 500 cars off the road for a year).

Timber is a recycle material which in return contributes to fewer greenhouse gas emissions than materials such as concrete.

Concrete is often known to be unsustainable as it takes a lot of resources to produce. Cement, a main component of concrete, is one of the world’s biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Many people assume that because cement production is bad for the environment, so is concrete production. With that said, concrete does have advantages that links it to sustainability.

For instance,

Concrete is durable—its lifespan is actually two or three times longer than other common building materials.

Concrete is great at absorbing and retaining heat, which means it will increase energy efficiency of a building and reduce HVAC expenses.

Its reflective properties will decrease air-conditioning costs in the hot summer months.

Concrete produces little waste as it can be produced in batches specific to project needs.

Which Is Safer: Concrete house or Timber house?

In general, timber structures that are not CCA-Treated are not as safe as concrete buildings. Untreated Construction Timber is vulnerable to external threats like fire, wind, insects, moisture, and mold—all of which can result in structural damage and safety risks. However, according to an article published by The Stable Company, despite its density, timber can be modified to be even denser – hence, stronger. By modified we mean CCA-treated.

CCA-treated Construction Timber offers resistance against all the various harsh weather conditions and insects that might damage the timber. The various chemicals in the CCA treatment process are all selected to serve the purpose of locking out moisture and keeping termites and other wood-eating insects away. This allows our clients to enjoy their timber homes for generations. This process also raises the probability that timber can be as strong as steel and brick, whilst retaining all of those other cherished qualities: light, sustainable and aesthetically-pleasing.

While concrete is a durable, strong material, it too poses some safety risks. For example, should a concrete structure collapse, either at a jobsite or once the building is occupied, falling concrete could seriously injure anyone who is nearby. As a builder is working with dry or wet concrete, you may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, or skin.

Furthermore, exposure to silica, a main ingredient in dry concrete, can even cause far more serious health issues, including lung cancer.

Which has a longer life expectancy between a timber house and a concrete house?

Many external factors determine the lifespan of a building, such as climate, maintenance, weather & location. A Concrete house can easily last over 100 years, but so can a timber house. 

Timber constructions have been around for thousands of years. Timber is known to be one of the longest-standing building materials in existence. Evidence of timber constructions built over 10 000 years ago shows that timber was the primary source used in the construction. 

The life expectancy of CCA-Treated Timber is usually a minimum of 40 years, but at Sabie Poles, we have a lifetime guarantee on all our CCA-treated timber products.

Which is more expensive, timber house or concrete house?

A brick wall constructed with clay stock bricks internal and Semiface external @R4.10 per brick allowed, plaster and 2 coats paint internal will cost exactly the same as a timber wall which is R1200/m², but a brick wall takes longer to build than a timber frame wall, which makes labour more costly. This price excludes the foundation of a brick house which is more costly than a timber frame house. If you don’t spend the extra money on a good brick, it will just cost you more money down the line. Cheap bricks are porous, which will result in mould growth, moisture, and, ultimately, cracks. (Costing of brick wall supplied by Abuti construction on 16 March 2022).

 Structural timber prices are actually rather reasonable. Timber frame buildings typically work out more affordable, plus there is more certainty in your costs, with less unexpected expenses, especially when using CCA-Treated timber. A timber wall constructed with 22mm CCA treated log cladding outside and 6mm Nutec boards inside and painted on both sides will cost you approximately R1200.00/m (16 March 2022).  This excludes foundations and finishings.

In conclusion

We know that all of the above questions will not necessarily make you conclude which construction technique to adopt. Considering our modern world and new lifestyles, we know that time is money. At the same time quality is just as important. The percentage of timber buildings continues to increase year after year in many parts of the world.

With High-Quality timber products you have an all-in-one package, strength, durability, sustainability and you save money. To ensure that you get the best value for your money you should ensure that you purchase from a well trusted supplier.

At Sabie Poles, our accreditation exceeds the minimum requirements to be a CCA Treated Manufacturer and supplier. All our CCA-treated products have the SABS and NRCS stamp of approval. We strive to provide the best high-quality products to serve your building needs at a reasonable price.

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