Why are houses in the USA built with wood mostly? Why are they not built with brick and concrete?
Wood is easier to tear down when its time to build a shopping center.
Because wood is easier to repair it might break more than brick or concrete but if you damage brick or concrete than it takes alot of work to repair it whereas wood you can easily repair the damage without all the pain staking work.
This is probably as much a matter of tradition as it is the great availability of wood in this country.
Ease of Repair
Ease of modification
brick costs much more. And is much more labor intensive. Bricklaying is an art, using a pneumatic nail gun into a wooden stud is not.
Many houses are build with studded frames and brick exteriors, but those that are built solely with bricks and mortar can run almost double the cost of traditional houses.
This might change, however, as wood to build with becomes more scarce and expensive.
Canada, which exports most of its wood to the US, actually builds more houses out of brick now per capita than we do. Go figure.
We have literally thousands of trees needing to be used for something so why not build houses with it? Its much cheaper too.
Brick and concrete are more expensive and also have the added disadvantage of not adjusting well to seasonal temperature differences and frost heaves.
Houses in the British Isles are often made of bricks or concrete, but their annual temperature doesn't vary as much.
It's a matter of time and money. Wood has:
Lower transportation costs
Prefab units such as trusses are prebuilt and installed quickly
Fasteners such as nails and bolts save time - no need for the mortar to set or the concrete to harden to sufficient strength
Wood can be installed in very hot weather or very cold weather - concrete and brick mortar have a narrower installation temperature range.
Engineered lumber competes very well when longer open spans are required. There's nothing like plywood. Few people have brick roofs or concrete roofs in residential housing.
Where concrete competes very well is in commercial construction. Tilt-up walls and prefab concrete beams under concrete floors are typical. Parking garages are all concrete with steel reinforcement. Brick exteriors are a must to keep the maintenance cost low over the life of the building.
A better comparison is wood to steel or wood to structural foam covered with concrete. The weight difference is less and there are strength and insulation benefits. The cost premium is not as great.
Cost and weather conditions - typically in the US has longer dry periods so the houses is less likely to rot (I'm sure someone will tell me this is not the case) In the UK we have more prolonged "wetter" winters so wooden houses won't last as long.
Equally you could argue that they don't last long in the US either as I haven't seen many 200 year old wooden houses!
It's also a perception in the UK people shy away from anything that's not brick built (even though there are many houses are wooden framed with brick cladding and may people don't realise they are wooden framed)
Many houses in the US are built with brick, concrete or even concrete blocks. These often result in a stronger house, often with better insulation. However, wood houses are traditional and many people prefer to construct with that method. I'm not sure as to how overall cost differs between the two. Considering the rising cost of plywood, I would assume that construction costs for stick-framed houses would also rise.
Another factor might also be that the majority of the US isn't sitting on a fault line. Hence, while countries that have more earthquakes are more likely to construct buildings using reinforced concrete, it's not necessary for much of the US.
It is entirely due to cost. You can frame a house and slap up wood siding in a couple of days. Brick is more expensive and it takes a lot more manhours to install.
It's normally just a simple matter of economics.
If you visit countries or states with high concentrations of building woods (pine, fir, etc) most construction is made with wood because it is cheap and available. Examples are the northern tier of American states, Scandinavia, mountainous countries, etc. There is also easy access to quality workmen and ancillary equipment needed for the construction.
Similarly, In areas close to deposits of suitable clays, they build more out of brick because, again, it is cheap and available, and you have good access to quality workmen.
In areas where you have neither of the above (in much of Mexico, for example), concrete becomes more attractive. Since there are stones more or less everywhere, you find stone mixed in when it is economically available.
In areas where you have equal access, the decision will be more dependent on the different characterisics of the building materials. But, the basic driving force is economics.
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