Wood vs Concrete – A Quick Look Through

Construction using wood vs RCC tmt right steel fe 415

Wooden structures are lightweight, energy efficient, versatile and sustainable solutions. In Earthquake prone areas wooden structures have the advantage that the wooden framed building won’t break off easily. They are flexible, economical and more versatile compared to concrete structures. Availability of cheap wood, flexibility, and aesthetics were the major factors that induced people towards wooden structures.But the case is different for cyclone-prone coastal areas. Although the vulnerability of a structure to a cyclone is circumscribed by its siting, the possibility that a cyclone will occur, and the extent to which its edifices can be damaged by it, concrete structures are always preferred than wooden ones. Concrete buildings, although ordinarily more expensive than wood frame structures, are totally worth it in the long term.

According to the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the Insulating Concrete Form Association (ICFA), reinforced concrete offers a huge advantage to the structures. Concrete can be reinforced by steel bars, or rebar, fiber reinforcements made from glass, polymers, plastics, or graphite, which all have their own impression on the health and dexterity of a structure’s foundation. The main advantages of reinforced concrete house frames, when compared to more traditional timber-framed homes, include energy efficiency as well as disaster-resistance and protection in the face of many natural disasters.

India is extremely defenseless to natural hazards especially cyclones, earthquakes, floods, drought, and landslides. Researches show that natural disaster losses equate to up to 2% of India’s Gross Domestic Product and up to 12% of Central government revenue. On a recent study conducted by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), its found that the 12 districts, all on the east coast, are “very highly prone” and 41 “highly prone” to cyclones in our country. Building up structures that are prone to all the occurring natural disasters can be quite painful but still, opting robust concrete edifices for shelter is the best option available for now. The wooden houses aren’t an economical option for cyclone-prone countries like India.

On the bright side, concrete structures do have plenty of solid advantages over wooden ones.

Strength

Concrete structures are able to withstand up to 250-mile-an-hour winds and wind-borne wreckage. This is one of the major reasons that attract people in hurricane and tornado prone areas towards concrete structures.

Energy efficiency

Concrete homes excel at retaining conditioned air in and intense temperatures out. Concrete’s mass decreases the passage of heat moving within the wall making them energy efficient.

Temperature control

The tight building enclosure of concrete houses ensures fewer hot and cold zones and limited draftiness.

Noise control

Concrete is an exceptional acoustic insulator. Concrete walls filter out noise from outside to keep you comfortable inside.

Durability

Concrete houses have longer life expectancy than wooden ones. Concrete is not affected by pests, deterioration due to biotic factors which makes it reliable in case of durability.

Fire resistance

Concrete is non-flammable. Unlike wood, It can’t catch fire by itself. Concrete does not need any further fire-protection because of its built-in resistance to fire.

Economic value

Concrete houses cost more than wooden ones in countries with abundant forest and wood but in a country like India, wooden homes are more expensive com in the long term maintenance cost other utility costs are much lower for concrete homes.

Cleaner Indoors

Concrete houses provide healthy environments with fewer air-borne allergens, molds, and contaminants than timber frame houses.

Reinforced concrete is a much smarter and cost-efficient choice over wood when it comes to home construction. It’s durability, stability, and resiliency makes reinforced concrete a natural shield for the structure’s integrity during most of all kinds of natural disasters.

Steel Reinforcement; A much better alternative

Coefficient of thermal expansion of concrete is extremely similar to that of steel, excluding large internal stresses due to variances in thermal expansion or contraction. There is no other material ever found with such similarity and this is the most significant reason why steel is used as the reinforcement. The cement and steel bond perfectly without any slippage and act as a single unit in holding the applied loads.

The selection of structural steel for a building’s framing practice brings various privileges to the building. Structural steel improves construction productivity because it aids in increasing the speed of construction and minimizing construction site waste. Studies indicate that a structural steel framing system including will typically cost 5% to 7% less than concrete framing systems. The flexibility of the steel frameworks is the other factor that makes steel a winner in this aspect. Aesthetic appeal is a big determinant of resale and sale value of the property.

Structural steel sections can be bent and rolled to create non-linear segments to further intensify the aesthetic appeal of the construction. Structural steel is typically 50 ksi material meaning that the steel has a yield stress of 50,000 pounds per square inch in both compression and tension. Which makes steel the strongest option for reinforcing.

We explored the merits and demerits of timber framing lately. Choosing a better option is questionable but still when considering long term security and economic value, concrete is the better option than wooden frames.

The Right Steel Reinforcement

RCC definitely proves to be the choice for the construction in a country like India with more abundant availability of aggregates that contribute to the concrete mix, which makes them more affordable compared to wooden structures. Especially for a country like India, with a major part of the geographical area lying in Earthquake prone zones 3 and higher and with a large coastal peninsular area, the country is vulnerable to natural disasters. With RCC structures proving to be efficient in handling all unseen circumstances, choosing the right grade of TMT for reinforcement to concrete is also a must.

Since ductility of TMT bars is the major factor contributing earthquake resistance to RCC structures, grades like Fe 415 has proved to be the better choice for construct in States that are prone to unseen natural disasters, be it earthquakes, typhoons or floods. Also grade Fe 415 proves better workability with easier bendability when employing manual labour, another reason for being a favourite for contractors especially when undertaking small and medium scale projects, especially the residential projects.

Construction of structures is definitely based on the available resources and based on the geographical conditions of an area. We believe in the motto of building right, in choosing the right building materials and in engaging in the right practices and following of ethics in construction and recommend RCC construction and right grade of TMT bars for the construct.

To conclude quoting Steve Saretsky,
” Concrete is considered to be the premium when it comes to new developments as the overall maintenance over time is generally less and can better withstand the natural elements nature throws at us.”

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