Have you ever wondered why a large number of houses in America are made using wood? Have you wondered why it is not instead made from concrete or wood? You may even wonder why with the repeated issues of natural disasters Americans prefer to build their houses using bricks. The irony of it all is that most other developed countries opt for tin or concrete to do their construction. This is mainly because these materials are less expensive and more durable. This makes one wonder why are American houses made of wood? We will answer this and other related questions in this piece.
Why are American houses made of wood?
In the US, there is no existing building code. But we do have building codes that are locally adopted at the state or city level. Several governing bodies have opted to implement a building code known as the international building code. Even with this, there are various versions of this code which have been used from the 2000 version to the latest.
It, therefore, suffices to say that the building code usually does not favor a material over the other. The major determining factor in this regard is simple economics when it comes to choosing one material over the other. In America, wood is quite cheaper than concrete or masonry for the construction of homes. Also, Steel is a less expensive material and is only used in high design architectural masterpieces. Also, wooden frames are known to perform well during extreme storms especially when they are well constructed. Also, wooded homes are often able to support lateral bracing systems which thus makes them quite resistant to wind. This means that if it is well constructed, it would not just collapse overnight due to wind.
Why Do Americans Prefer Wood For Building Their Homes?
One remarkable feature of homes built in America is its beautiful design and simplicity. But from what we have seen so far, most Americans prefer using wood to construct their homes. This makes us wonder what the reasons may be. Here are some reasons why Americans can’t just stop building wooden houses:
1. Availability of materials
In America, there are large collections of forests where the process of tree cutting often occurs. Due to this reason, it is often quite easy to get wood. This is in addition to the fact that wood is often quite easier to repair, work with, and locate.
At the start of the 17th century, the British came to the Northern part of America and this meant houses had to be built. This had to be done in a rather short time due to the pressing nature of the need. In this situation, wood became the ideal choice because it meant that the work would be faster when compared with other materials such as brick and cement. Wooden homes simply started as a need to construct houses at a quick pace but soon they ended up becoming the trademark of the American construction industry.
3. Ease of movement
Several studies show that Americans have one of the highest rates of mobility in the world. It is a statistical fact that they can change their houses up to five times per time. This makes building wooden houses ideal because it allows them to move with ease and speed. It, therefore, means that cheap houses are made available at a quicker pace.
4. Economic angle
The enormous availability of wood in America is one reason why the price of this material is often considerably less expensive than materials such as cement and brick.
5. Ease of use
With the right skillset and equipment, you should be able to build your own wooden house yourself. There used to be several kits in the American market which permitted the owner to construct their own wooden houses. These packages often consisted of everything needed for building within a few months. It is required that you have some construction and architectural knowledge for starters, but even with this, working with wood is often quite easier.
6. Lower taxes
Taxes on homes built with wood can be considerably lower than a house built with other materials depending on the state of the house.
7. They are considerably safer
Unlike the case of brick, wood is one flexible material which is capable of resisting low-intensity earthquakes. It is however normal for areas prone to attacks from natural elements to deploy the use of brick basements. Also, if the house gets damaged when attacked, it is often easier to renovate it due to the affordable nature of the material.
8. Energy efficiency
One other reason why American homes are built with wood is that they serve as a wonderful thermal insulator. Wooden products are known to have lower embodied energy while also isolating heat from cold. Due to this reason, buildings that are made from wood usually remain quite warm even during the coldest periods. This makes them quite energy efficient when compared with homes built with other materials. Also, wood is known to be able to easily absorb humidity and also serves as a natural air-conditioner. Wood also serves as a natural insulator of noise hence you have very little to be concerned about when it comes to disturbance.
9. The flexibility of building design
Wood is a very flexible building material. This means it gives the builder enough room to tinker with design ideas. Also, the material can be remodeled, resized, and cut with ease. This, therefore, makes it architecturally versatile. You will also have the needed freedom to select the ideal layout for the home. Also, if you desire to renovate or remodel your house after a while, it is quite easier because it is a material that is easy to adapt.
10. Sustainability and comfort
Homes made from wood are generally quite healthy and safe for the environment and the occupant alike. Wood is the only material capable of being sustained and renewed. It is a scientific fact that houses made from concrete and steel lead to greenhouse gases, fossil fuel production and different pollution. Also, a wooden house is one sure way to lower your carbon footprint. This is added to the fact that a wooden house should go a long way in assisting your mental well-being. Wood has a relaxing and calming effect. Some wood types are known to release terpenes when they are exposed to high temperatures. Terpenes are known to come with their unique benefits such as reduced stress, increase in cortisol and they cause the forest bath effect.
What Are The Types Of Wooden Houses?
- Homes made of logs: These types of houses are often assembled or built on a plot using trunks which give it a unique final appearance. One unique plus to this system is that the wood thickness functions as a good interior that regulates temperature and humidity.
- Mobile houses: Such houses are often built in a factory and are often moved in chunks to their final place. They are usually made in several sections or in several components depending on what the final size may be. The walls of such a building are often made from finished wood and other finishing types.
- Light wooden framework: this is usually used in homes in Canada. Small components are often used in this one.
What Is The History Behind The Wooden Houses In America?
From history, the building techniques have been passed on from one master to the other using verbal means, experience, and demonstration. Floor plans, designs, engineering details, and methods were communicated using rules of the hand rather than any document or scientific study. Every part of the world has its variations in tools, traditions, and materials.
For instance, in the new world, carpenters that found themselves there came with the traditions they learned. They, however, had to adapt to new climate, materials, and cultures. Due to the diverse nature of the people that found their way into America, it made carpentry history of Americans to be quite complex. It should be noted that it is only about five centuries old which is just a small portion of the history of other regions.
From what we have seen thus far, it is obvious that homes made of wood come with their unique ups and downsides. This does not take away the unique position of wooden houses as the number one category of houses in America. Even though brick houses may last for centuries, wooden houses are known to be more flexible and simple. Wooden houses are also known to be resistant to erosion and earthquakes. This is coupled with the fact that wooden homes are often cheaper and quicker to construct. Wooden houses tend to burn slowly when they catch fire. The worst thing that could happen when they burn is that they would burn to ashes. But when compared with houses made of brick, they will not evolve much heat.
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