Skip to main content

Alternatives to Wood in Home Building

new home construction

Yes! There Are Alternatives to Wood in Home Building!

Do You Need a Backup Plan for Rising Wood Prices?

Lumber prices soared to $1,500 per thousand board feet (MBF) in May 2021. According to an article in Fortune’s online magazine, prices are currently $545 MBF. That’s an increase of 40% since the low of $389 MBF that occurred in August. The pre-pandemic lumber market ran between $300 to $500 MBF, so the October prices are still running high. What’s worse, some forecasters are predicting near-term increases. The good news is, there are alternatives to wood in home building.  

Work with the versatile home builders at Flegel’s Construction to explore the options below for your new build or remodeling projects.

Alternative Materials for Home Framing

Framing refers to the skeletal structure that supports the rest of your new home construction. It creates the outline of the house and supports the roof. Some materials can double as the walls and the framing. Steel, concrete, bamboo, and even straw bales are potential alternatives to wood. Let’s take a closer look.

  • Concrete. There are several forms of concrete that make for an affordable alternative to the soaring cost of wood:
    • Concrete block framing. You can see this construction in industrial buildings, but it can also be used for residential homes. Concrete has several positive features, including its resistance to floods and fires. It withstands strong winds and earthquakes. Since it insulates your home well, it can help you save on energy costs. It also absorbs sound well.
    • Insulated concrete forms (ICFs): Concrete framing, ICFs involve two hollow panels with concrete poured in between, creating a strong, durable framing material that withstands harsh weather, fires, and floods.
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable framing material that is three times stronger than standard timber. Extremely lightweight and resistant to harsh weather, it also grows quickly, producing 100 feet of usable material every five years.
  • Natural materials. Although it may seem odd, various natural materials are also an alternative, although unusual, framing option.
    • Straw bales. Some homeowners have used straw bales for a unique look and renewable source of framing materials. Home builders apply plaster over the bales to strengthen and preserve the structure.
    • Earth and rock. Compacted earth and rock forms a strong framing material that’s typically mixed with cement for durability.

Team up with the industry’s leading construction professionals to find suitable alternatives to wood in home building or remodeling projects for your industrial, ranch, Mediterranean style, or Eichler home.

Contact Flegel’s today to discuss alternatives to wood in home building in the Bay Area. We can help you meet your aspirations for a more sustainable, durable home personalized to your specifications.

alternatives, bamboo, concrete, home construction, materials, natural materials


2018 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour

2018 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour

Join us on June 9th for the 2018 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour. Be sure to see our project “Sunnymount Avenue” along the route!

Read more

Make Your Bathroom Kid Friendly

Make Your Bathroom Kid Friendly

Flegel's Construction Co., Inc. can help you discover "10 Ways to Make the Shared Bathroom Welcoming for Kids."

Read more


  • Video Testimonial

    Read more

  • I would hire Scott again in a heartbeat

    I would hire Scott again in a heartbeat. He did our Eichler total remodel from roof to radiant. The workmanship is 5-star. Scott understands the uniqueness of Eichlers and modern design.

    Read more

  • I am confident that your expectations will be far exceeded…

    “Our home in Palo Alto was in need of help. Built in the early 1950s and barely updated since, there was a lot to do. Over 12 months and two phases, our home was transformed into the perfect mid-century modern oasis for our

    Read more

  • As easy for as us as possible…

    “We interviewed at least 7 contractors for our Eichler remodel and decided on Flegel’s construction and I am so glad we did! Working with Scott and his crew was such an pleasant experience. We had heard so many horror stories

    Read more

  • Stands by his work…

    “I cannot say enough about Scott Flegel. He is on the ball. He works on the project with his employees. He has very high standards and his employees follow his example. Our architect has come back to look at the project

    Read more