Tag: natural materials

new home construction

Alternatives to Wood in Home Building

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.

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