Concrete in Design & Construction
The word concrete can bring up thoughts of cold, grey and uninviting images in the minds of many but this is far from what concrete really is. Concrete is a well thought out and engineered material that dates back hundreds of years. Its strength and versatility is the reason it has been used in constructing some of the worlds most recognized structures including the Pantheon Dome. While the Romans didn’t have the technology we have today, such as steel reinforcements, additives, and sealers, they did have the best building material known to man…concrete. Today’s concrete is more stable, more structurally sound, and even with hundreds of years of inflation, more cost effective.
A Little History
American inventor Thomas Edison didn’t stop with the advent of incandescent light Among many of his patents was one for a concrete home. He actually patented and built his own monolithic concrete home in Ohio. Unfortunately during that time in history, the labor cost to construct such a building was out of reach for most Americans. Fast forward to present day and the hurdle of labor cost for a SOLID constructed home isn’t much of a factor when compared to a traditional wood frame home.
Structure & Design
There are many reasons to choose a concrete structure over a wood frame home. Concrete has long been known for its strength and its ability to withstand high winds, earthquakes, and most anything mother nature has up her sleeve, but again concrete is more than just a product of brute strength. Today’s concrete can be formed and molded to any shape imaginable. From flowing ribbon like walls to spherical domes, concrete can be formed to meet the architectural demands of an ever changing world. Homes constructed out of concrete can span the scale from the very modest traditional all the way to bold and contemporary. Whether you’re looking to blend in or stick out, choosing a concrete home is a sound investment.
Safety & Durability
Chances are you, or someone you know, has been or will be affected by fire at some point in your life. As far back as The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, city planners, developers, and builders alike took notice of fire caused tragedies and put in place measures to prevent such devastation from happening again. How did they do it? The use of concrete played a large factor in the way they built after the fire. Wood combusts at 375 degrees F whereas concrete can withstand temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees F. Fire is slowed down considerably by concrete, giving occupants more time to safely escape. Homes built with wood frame construction can’t contain fire like their concrete counterparts.
According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, homeowners can expect on average a 20 to 25 percent savings in annual heating and cooling cost when choosing concrete over wood frame. This can add up to huge savings over the life of the home. Savings vary depending on the number and type of windows, doors, and the regional climate. The energy savings are a result of the outstanding insulation values of concrete and an overall more tightly constructed home. There’s less opportunity for heat or cool air to escape.
Concrete homeowners report that another great feature is the absence of cold drafts and unwanted noise. These homes maintain a much more even internal air temperature and are practically draft free. The high thermal mass of concrete buffers the home’s interior from extreme outdoor temperatures. Concrete is equally effective for keeping out loud noises. Concrete walls can reduce sound penetrating through a wall by more than 80% when compared to non-concrete constructed homes. On average, a concrete home is two-thirds quieter than a wood-frame home.
Finally, reduced maintenance is also an asset of a beautiful concrete home. While every home will require a touch here and there from time to time, a concrete home has fewer parts and fewer parts mean fewer issues. Reinforced-concrete homes not only require less maintenance they’re also more insect and mold resistant.
For more information about the benefits of building with concrete, contact our experts.