Why is wood the preferred construction material in California?
In California, most construction involves the use of wood as the main construction material. If you intentionally clicked on this post, chances are you are curious as to why most houses in California are made of wood.
In Spite of the many disasters befalling wooden houses, most notably, November 8, 2018, campfire of Butte County, Northern California. With over 18,800 structures brought to the ground by the fire. One is left to wonder, would there have been more time for the firefighters to put the fire out if the construction material of those structures were concrete. Research show an aggregate loss of over $5.1 billion due to wildfire.
However, there are reasons why the people of California prefer wood as their main construction material. This article discusses the reasons wood is the preferred construction material in California.
Reasons Why Wood Is Preferred in California
In California, the use of wood as construction materials is aided by its availability. The location of most forests in the US is California. The ease of access to this construction material together with wood being easy to work is another reason.
From the previous point, it is evident that wood is in abundance in California and as such prices will be significantly less than that of other construction materials. In California and in the US as a whole, wood as a construction material is inexpensive. Especially in areas where cultivation, transportation, distribution, and the internal market is efficient. With the availability of other materials and techniques, you’d think there would be a change at some point. However, California is so ingrained in wood construction that a change would have to be a less expensive option or based on a very viable argument.
Studies show that Californians have a very high tendency to relocate. In other words, a high mobility rate. Wooden homes are affordable and easier to construct than other construction material homes like concrete homes. So, with wooden homes, they can relocate easily.
In California, taxes on wooden homes are much lower than taxes on concrete homes. Depending on the state in which the house is built, taxes on wooden houses can be much lower than taxes on houses built with cement and brick.
Unlike the south of the US, in California, exterior wood structures are less affected by termites and degradation by other elements. Additionally, housing insulation with wood frame and wood-clad serves during the California winter.
Concrete wall construction is quite expensive in California with a very notable difference between concrete and wood construction in terms of cost. Asides the availability of wood, it is easy to work with, a complete wooden house construction takes an average of 12 to 14 weeks.
You may have seen some new homes looking like brick wall construction, however, most of what you see are brick surface decorations.
Why Not Concrete?
There are questions as to why wood is the preferred construction material? Maybe the main should be why not other materials? Or why not concrete? To be specific. The fire-resistant property of concrete is a point that should be in consideration. Concrete masonry units (walls) have a higher fire insulation property than wood.
Also, filling a CMU block with filling materials will increase its fire rating from 2 hours to 4 hours. Whereas the fire rating of a wooden frame is about 1 hour. Insurance A CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit) wall has a higher fire insulation property compared to a wooden frame wall. A CMU block has a fire rating of 2 hours which is upgraded to 4 hours if it is filled with filling materials.
California contractors and homeowners prefer wood because of so many reasons. The most notable being its availability and inexpensiveness. Also, construction with other materials is expensive and the cost of labor for such materials is quite high. The idea of demolishing and rebuilding is easier with wooden houses which are very common in California.