Is Wooden House - Better Than - Concrete House?

Is Wooden House – Better Than – Concrete House?

A room filled with furniture and vase of flowers on a wooden table

Yes and No, when it comes to the Wooden house. E.g., here in South Africa, carpenters are much more scarce than brick layers. Also, our timber industry is highly gearing towards extremely fast-growing soft-wood. Imported pine trees grow at a tremendous rate of maturity within 10 to 15 years. It, in turn, is not at all suitable for external use as the wood grain is extensive and thus also very porous). So houses tend to be built of bricks here – i.e. 99% of them would be, the rest from composites / steel sheeting / wood (in that order).

An old barn in a field
Is Wooden House – Better Than – Concrete House?

Factors To Compare Wooden House With the Concrete Ones

1. Waterproof: Timber houses are made waterproof by the cladding over the frames, and the joints (e.g., in windows) are less complicated. Brick walls can be made watertight in and of themselves in various manners – either similarly clad, or applied cementitious waterproofing. Though most prevalent would be to build the wall as a cavity wall. 2 skins of brickwork with a gap in between, tied together with cavity ties). Though joints in stuff such as windows require much more complicated details (e.g., plastic DPC behind the external layer of the cavity wall).

2. Insulation: Wood framed walls are much easier / cheaper to insulate (especially against cold) than brickwork, no need for stuff such as thermal breaks since the wood itself IS the thermal break. Where temperatures vary significantly between night and day (e.g., desert conditions), brickwork/concrete works better – absorbing the heat from the sun during the day while keeping the internal space fresh and then radiating that absorbed heat during the night into the house to keep it warm.

3. Stability: Timber can handle stuff such as earthquakes better than brickwork, due to the “supple strength” of timber allowing for some give, where the mortar between bricks is much more brittle. Though some parts of extreme earthquake zones prefer steel reinforced concrete (e.g., very much used in the middle east) – i.e., rigid strength instead of supple strength (though mostly RC walling is for large scale buildings instead of houses).

A house with a grass field
Is Wooden House – Better Than – Concrete House?


 In all 3 cases, it’s more a situation of “how it was in building”, though if equally well built, then the RC walls would last longer than brick walls, which in turn would last longer than timber-framed and added. Of course, that’s assuming a lot, which you usually cannot do just off the cuff.

There are probably many more such aspects (e.g., fire resistance, speed of construction, additions, and modifications, etc.). Usually, it’s a good idea to stick with what’s most common around your area – much easier to get contractors who know that construction method, both during construction as well as for maintenance and repairs. What you don’t want is a brick-layer trying to build a timber house, or a carpenter working on casting RC walls, or any such combination. Those are sure-fire ways of getting an evil house that leaks, falls apart, is extremely draughty, etc.

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