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Everything You Need To Know About Concrete vs Steel Houses

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels

Concrete is an essential part of the building process. In the past houses were not always built on a foundation but all modern houses are. Of course, not all foundations are the same, but they all work to support the house, preventing it from subsiding in the future. One of the most popular forms of foundations is concrete, making it an essential part of the building process.

However, once the foundations are sorted the building can be made from a variety of materials. Traditionally, wood-framed houses have been built. But, you’ll also find some great examples of concrete houses. That’s houses where the actual frame is concrete.

The Pros & Cons of Concrete

Concrete can be shaped in molds to form the frame of the house. These can be done on or off-site. As such it is possible to make intricate designs on the inside or the outside of the house. Concrete is generally considered to be strong and it’s impervious to pests and good at resisting most weather systems. You may be surprised to discover that concrete is also very effective at insulating a building. It’s also fireproof. 

However, concrete is not a perfect substance. When cement and sand are mixed they release a gas that enters the atmosphere and increases the greenhouse effect. You should also note that concrete homes can suffer from concrete cancer. This is when the steel reinforcements used inside the concrete start to rust. Once this happens the concrete is weakened and the house will eventually become structurally unstable.

Pros & Cons of Steel

Steel construction beams are made off-site and they are incredibly strong. They can be made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, allowing almost any configuration of the house to be built. This strength is particularly important if you live in an earthquake area. Steel framed homes generally survive earthquakes, concrete and wood ones don’t.

In addition, the process of creating steel frames has very little impact on the environment. The only issue is the heat needed to melt the metal before creating the beams. The actual material can be reused and recycled multiple times.

Steel framed homes are also very fast to make. The beams are made to spec and quality controlled at the factory. Once on-site, they are simply bolted or welded together. The entire house can be erected in just a few days.

Of course, steel isn’t vulnerable to termite and other pest attacks, helping it to last longer than other building materials.

However, you should note that steel is not the most energy-efficient option. It is very good at conducting heat, meaning that the heat in your home can be easily carried away. You’ll need plenty of insulation or have to deal with high energy bills.

The Bottom Line

Both materials have their merits but steel is likely to be the building material of the future, its strengths outweigh its weaknesses and make it the best option.


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