NOT JUST FOR SIDEWALKS: THE SURPRISING APPEAL OF CONCRETE HOMES
When most people think of concrete, the first things that come to mind are sidewalks, foundations, and parking ramps. While it’s true that concrete is often the material of choice for many utilitarian construction projects, did you know that it’s also highly practical for use in building homes? Concrete homes offer many benefits, not only to the homeowner, but also to the environment.
Houses with concrete walls are sturdy and safe. Unlike a traditional wood-framed house, there is no chance of damage from termites, dry rot, or fire. They are also very durable, and can last for decades with very little maintenance. Concrete homes provide excellent protection from natural disasters, and are much less likely to be destroyed in the event of a tornado (an important consideration in Midwestern America).
Concrete homes are also very energy efficient and environmentally friendly. According to some sources, the annual energy cost of a concrete home is between 40 and 60% less than traditionally-built houses. They generally also carry a lower insurance premium than traditional houses, which contributes to a lower monthly operating cost for the homeowner. And according to the National Association of Homebuilders, “concrete products are made with a combination of recycled products and some of the most abundant materials on earth,” which makes concrete a renewable source of building material.
And before you assume that a home made of concrete would resemble a fallout shelter, think again! According to the NAHB, “homes built with exterior concrete walls can accept any type of exterior finish including brick, stone, siding or stucco. A finished concrete home is indistinguishable from any other home in the neighborhood”.
While concrete houses are less common in the US than they are in other parts of the world, we hope that homeowners here in the States will start to see the merits of building houses made of concrete. What do you think? Would you live in a concrete house? Why or why not? We here at Concrete Science would love to hear your opinions!