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A Case for Wood in Construction

by Craig Hoffman | Wednesday February 16, 2022 | General

After thousands of years of use as a building material, wood is still the first choice for most designers, contractors, and building owners. Wood frame structures dominate residential construction in the U.S. In fact, more than 90 percent of American homes are built with wood frames.

Despite its popularity as a building material, wood still gets a bad rap in some quarters. We use wood in our fireplaces, so it must burn easily in a house fire, right? The tallest skyscrapers are made from concrete and steel so it must be best for my house? At times, wood became reserved for interior details, playing a supporting role in projects where concrete and steel did the heavy lifting.

But wood still remains the primary construction material for buildings. Contractors like Quarry View Building Group look to wood for both the frame and interior parts of a building. New protective treatments for lumber and a desire to construct “greener” buildings has revitalized wood’s dominance as the go-to building material.

Why Wood?
Wood has several benefits to make it an excellent building material to use in a wide array of construction projects. One such benefit is its thermal properties, which give it an advantage for its resistance to high temperatures. Unlike steel, which can expand or even collapse in high heat, wood actually dries out and becomes stronger. In addition, the heat conductivity of wood is relatively low in comparison to other materials such as aluminum, marble, steel, or glass. This gives wood an advantage for use in walls, floors and ceilings.

Wood also contains superior acoustic properties. It can absorb sound and echoes better than other materials, especially for use where acoustics are important. Wood is resistant to electrical currents, making it an optimal material for electrical insulation. Finally, wood is an exceptionally light material in proportion to its tensile strength, making it the preferred construction choice for surfaces that take a constant beating such as flooring or heavy-duty building materials such as structural beams.

Wood in Construction
Platform framing has dominated the housing market in the past few decades and is widely used in commercial and light industrial applications as well. Platform framing uses wood construction of each floor on top of one another. New and innovative materials in panel products for floor and roof sheathing combined with prefabricated components and modules help contractors become more efficient with both time and resources.

Exterior Walls
Wood-frame walls have been the predominant choice for houses in the U.S. for more than three centuries. Masonry walls are a distant second. There are typically layers in an exterior wall, including wood framing of 2×4 or 2×6 lumber. The second layer consists of sheathing, which is often made with oriented strand board or pressure-treated plywood depending on the project. The third layer is a protective barrier such as house wrap or tar paper, and the fourth layer is the exterior of the house which can be siding, stones, brick, etc.

Ceiling and Roof
Roofing systems typically use the laying of wood planks or sheets to form the upper frame. Decking, also known as sheathing, is the boards that fill the spaces between the roof’s structural components, such as trusses and joists. Decking provides a flat plane to which shingles can be fastened and workers can use it as a path.

Wood is also an excellent ceiling material to add warmth and character to a home. Whether its exposed timber frame beams or tongue and groove wood ceiling planks, hardwoods above our heads adds refinement to any room.

Wood Decks
A popular method of expanding the living area of a home is to build a wood deck adjacent to one of the exterior walls. Many people prefer real wood for their decks because of its natural, warm appearance. Common and inexpensive options include using pressure-treated lumber that’s been soaked in anti-rot and insecticide agents.

There are weather-resistant woods such as cedar or redwood used in outdoor decking. These types of decks have a beautiful look-and-feel and resist warping, cracking, or other weather damage. Gaining in popularity are composite decking materials, composed primarily of a mix of recycled plastic and wood fibers. They are advantageous for their low-maintenance – no sanding, refinishing, or staining needed.

Other Wood Buildings
There are many additional uses for wood in construction of “other” types of buildings. It’s the main material found in many sheds, from backyard storage spaces to more elaborate garages and workshops. Wood finds its way into larger structures like cabins and bridges. Even the barn is still primarily built with lumber.

Commercial Construction
More designers and builders are embracing wood as the material of choice for commercial construction projects too. Office buildings, commercial meeting facilities, churches, and schools are some of the types of projects that have benefited from this type of construction.

Wood framing’s ability to manufacture larger panels off-site cuts down on construction costs. And upon completion, designs incorporating mass timber deliver not only great strength and durability but also an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere and perception of environmental sensibility that a firm’s employees, customers and visitors appreciate.

A Case for Wood from Quarry View Building Group
The choice of a builder can bring your wood framed home to life according to budget, needs, and requirements. Quarry View Building Group has extensive experience in building timber frame homes and businesses to get the project done right. We’ll work with you to incorporate wood framing or accents into a building that will bring out all the beauty and benefits of wood.

Quarry View Building Group is a premier construction firm specializing in custom residential homes and event venues. Using state-of-the-art design technology along with Amish-quality building prowess, our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau means satisfied clients that have created stunning structures with the expertise and professionalism of a quality builder. Contact Quarry View Building Group today for a consultation on your next project.