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Why are American houses made out of wood?


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Old 21-06-2006, 10:46
stapler
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Originally Posted by Knarf44
Have you considered the possibility that the insurance companies insist properties must be timber framed as they are easier and cheaper to replace than a brick built.

Also, I am sure that these American Homeowners are not quite as dumb as your post is suggesting.
I'm surprised they can get any insurence seeing as they built the town knowing that sooner or later their homes were going to get swept away.

As i said, the town was built where they knew full well it was notorious for tornadoes, it dosnt take a genius to work out it was a bad idea.

Would you park your car knowing there was a runaway steam roller heading toward it ?
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Old 21-06-2006, 10:46
Mental Pygmy
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Originally Posted by Examinus
I'm watching Wife Swap on mute and their house is made of wood. So, going from a generalisation, why are a lot of American houses made of wood?

What if a wolf came along?
Timberframe is good method of construction houses up to 3 stories. It is a cheap material, with good strength and insulation properties, allows for much speedier construction, which means manpower costs are much reduced, along with onsite pollution and noise. And with the panels you get you a) Won't be able to tell its timber framed b) offer on most cases superior insulation properties to Brick. But you can also clad in brick timber framed houses.

As for Hurricane damage, most things will be damaged by a Hurricane, due to the sheer Delta Ps created. A Solid Core house will at the least lose its roof, and as for some our our old, relatively flimsy cavity wall houses, I would say timberframe would probably standard up just as well as these.
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Old 21-06-2006, 11:03
Examinus
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Thank you.

Aren't bricks interesting?
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Old 21-06-2006, 21:09
Scrumdiddly
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I always assumed it was because a brick house will be blown to bits in a hurricaine or tornado just as easily as a wooden house, and it's easier and faster to rebuild a wooden one.
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Old 17-05-2008, 06:59
GrimmGhost
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*bump*
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Old 17-05-2008, 07:11
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:15
opinions4u
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Speak for youself, mate............
That made me spill my wine laughing.

Wood (the kind from trees, rather than the morning variety) can be cheaper or more expensive than brick construction, depending on the method of construction as far as I know. It's not all about money though. Wood suits cold dry climates and I think it's also traditionally used in places where earthquakes are a consideration as they withstand quakes better and are less likely to kill you if they fall down on you.
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:21
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Because a lot of the settlers including the 17C British and later the Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans, Russians etc traditionally made houses from wood.

Also the pioneers had to make houses from readily available materials - there were no brick kilns & quarries so they had to make log cabins - which is why that's a traditional American look.
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:34
Jules Winfield
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Timber-framed houses are cheaper, more energy efficient and quicker to build. It's far easier to bang a load of 2x8s together than it is to build up a brick wall course by course. You can stuff the walls full of insulating materials between each stud (which lowers your energy bills).

If you ever get the chance, watch "This Old House" on one of the Discovery cable channels (an American home improvement programme). Most of their projects are in the New England area, and you see plenty of wood construction.

I personally think that timber-framed houses look far better than brick ones.

Edit: more info here: http://www.timber-frame.org/index.php?page=46
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:48
Old Man 43
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Hurricanes & Tornadoes will destroy brick houses as effectively as wooden ones.

In the case of Hurricanes the wind speed is so strong that brick buildings would not be able to stand up to it. In fact because wood has some give in it I would say that wooden houses would survive longer. If this country was ever hit by a real Hurricane (especially one as strong as Katrina) most houses in its path would be destroyed.

As for Tornadoes it is not so much the wind speed that is destructive it is the air pressure differential between the centre of a Tornado and the air pressure in the houses that causes the most damage. The houses explode. The more solid the house the more likely it is to explode. The only buildings that can survive a strong Tornado are made out of concrete and have no windows. Anyone fancy living in a concrete bunker.
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Old 17-05-2008, 21:57
Eater Sundae
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Referring back to the OP the actual method of construction used widely in the USA is called timber frame. There are lots of arguments for and against timber framed houses but it is a very speedy and efficient way to build houses. Also, it is a construction method gaining popularity here in the UK as it is a much more "sustainable" form of construction than traditional brick built houses. "Sustainability" is the Government's new buzz word and essentially means low environmental impact.

This website might be of interest to some:

http://www.timber-frame.org/index.php?page=48

Personally, I think timber frame is the way to go in this country. We don't suffer from hurricanes and here in the UK they can be clad with brick anyway, so the average person in the street will still see a brick exterior and therefore assume it's a brick built house.
As well as being the house building method of the future, it's also the method of the past. The old "chocolate box" type thatched cottages are invariably timber framed.

The Grand Design Live special on Channel 4, for a week a couple of weeks ago, included a mostly timber house, also using reeds, as Kevin's self build. The programme pushed this as being the construction method of the future.

Wood - good insulation and carbon neutral, unlike cement based construction.
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Old 17-05-2008, 22:01
My name is Adam
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That made me spill my wine laughing.

Wood (the kind from trees, rather than the morning variety) can be cheaper or more expensive than brick construction, depending on the method of construction as far as I know. It's not all about money though. Wood suits cold dry climates and I think it's also traditionally used in places where earthquakes are a consideration as they withstand quakes better and are less likely to kill you if they fall down on you.
Because a lot of the settlers including the 17C British and later the Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans, Russians etc traditionally made houses from wood.

Also the pioneers had to make houses from readily available materials - there were no brick kilns & quarries so they had to make log cabins - which is why that's a traditional American look.
Timber-framed houses are cheaper, more energy efficient and quicker to build. It's far easier to bang a load of 2x8s together than it is to build up a brick wall course by course. You can stuff the walls full of insulating materials between each stud (which lowers your energy bills).

If you ever get the chance, watch "This Old House" on one of the Discovery cable channels (an American home improvement programme). Most of their projects are in the New England area, and you see plenty of wood construction.

I personally think that timber-framed houses look far better than brick ones.

Edit: more info here: http://www.timber-frame.org/index.php?page=46
Hurricanes & Tornadoes will destroy brick houses as effectively as wooden ones.

In the case of Hurricanes the wind speed is so strong that brick buildings would not be able to stand up to it. In fact because wood has some give in it I would say that wooden houses would survive longer. If this country was ever hit by a real Hurricane (especially one as strong as Katrina) most houses in its path would be destroyed.

As for Tornadoes it is not so much the wind speed that is destructive it is the air pressure differential between the centre of a Tornado and the air pressure in the houses that causes the most damage. The houses explode. The more solid the house the more likely it is to explode. The only buildings that can survive a strong Tornado are made out of concrete and have no windows. Anyone fancy living in a concrete bunker.
As well as being the house building method of the future, it's also the method of the past. The old "chocolate box" type thatched cottages are invariably timber framed.

The Grand Design Live special on Channel 4, for a week a couple of weeks ago, included a mostly timber house, also using reeds, as Kevin's self build. The programme pushed this as being the construction method of the future.

Wood - good insulation and carbon neutral, unlike cement based construction.
This thread is from 2006!
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Old 17-05-2008, 22:03
Examinus
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This thread is from 2006!
And a very good one it is too.
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Old 17-05-2008, 22:31
seacam
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I'm watching Wife Swap on mute and their house is made of wood. So, going from a generalisation, why are a lot of American houses made of wood?

What if a wolf came along?
Hello Examinus,

As has already been stated, it really is a simple question of supply, America, Sweden, Canada, Finland and other countries are swimming in timber.

The major drawback to using all timber in house building is termites or wood boring creatures, especially in America, it can be a real problem.

These creatures can eat timber houses especially if the timber has not been treated properly or at all.

I am told that in certain states in the USA, infestation is so rife, they are moving away from timber built to brick and mortar as the only way to combat this problem.

Having said that and I have wrote it before on these forums, I have been in properties here in the UK where the only thing preventing the house falling down is the wood worm holding hands.

The main advantages to timber built houses is the material's versatility, superb insulation properties, cheaper to build, run and maintain and overall, very pleasant to live in.

In many, many case, timber houses are very much stronger then brick built.

To those FMs that are writing timber houses are easily blown away, the same can be said of traditional built properties, believe you me and I've witnessed it, once properties are hit by a tornado, it really doesn't matter what the bloody things are built of, they are going down or up as the case might be, as was experienced by brick built home owners recently in this country.

To one Fm, it's not a question of loosing a roof, loosing a roof can cause a huge amount of damage to all walls of a property, a roof coming off can take a third or forth floor with it, again I know, as with most builders here on DS, we have done enough insurance claim work to see the damage a roof coming off can do.

Timber houses are absolutely fabulous, as a youngster, I have many happy memories of living in Finland, the kindness of the Finish people and our wonderful, most excellent log cabin.

Even in 10/15ft snow drifts outside we were always safe and toastie in.

If any one is reading this, if you get a chance to build your own property build it in timber, I promise you, you won't be disappointed.
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Old 17-05-2008, 22:55
La Boheme
 
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This thread is from 2006!
So...?
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Old 18-05-2008, 00:01
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I can understand a burning issue of the day being resurrected in a previous incarnation but...

Wood houses? But since it's here.

I'm not sure if this has been mentioned but here in the UK land prices are the major part of the house cost. The difference in price between a brick house and a wood house would therefore be slight when land cost is the major factor.

In the USA land can be dirt cheap I believe, so using brick might double the overall cost to build and therefore the purchase price.
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Old 18-05-2008, 00:29
swingaleg
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This thread is from 2006!



When I saw it I thought 'blimey, someone has dragged that up from a couple of months ago'............
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Old 18-05-2008, 04:58
ddogg
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As well as being the house building method of the future, it's also the method of the past. The old "chocolate box" type thatched cottages are invariably timber framed.

The Grand Design Live special on Channel 4, for a week a couple of weeks ago, included a mostly timber house, also using reeds, as Kevin's self build. The programme pushed this as being the construction method of the future.

Wood - good insulation and carbon neutral, unlike cement based construction.
yeah it is I was shocked by the posts saying this is new method it's used in NZ for the last 70 years my house is a timber frame and plaster clad on the outside
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Old 18-05-2008, 05:09
Claratana
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Most houses where I live are timber framed - some are steel.

Ours is timber with a brick veneer.
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Old 18-05-2008, 05:43
ddogg
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Most houses where I live are timber framed - some are steel.

Ours is timber with a brick veneer.
Yeah most modern Aussie houses and New Zealand look very much the same from i see on Aussie made TV programmes
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Old 18-05-2008, 08:43
My name is Adam
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This should not need to be explained to you.

Do you really not know why I pointed it out?
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Old 18-05-2008, 08:58
Examinus
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This should not need to be explained to you.

Do you really not know why I pointed it out?
Give it a go.
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Old 18-05-2008, 10:10
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This should not need to be explained to you.

Do you really not know why I pointed it out?
Why do you have to be so rude to people?

Timber framed houses are certainly becoming a lot more popular. I know of a lot of developers who are very keen on them
I believe that speedy construction is one of the main benefits. Also quite interested in the modular construction method where concrete block are factory made and then constructed on site. There's a company in York that does that for everything from houses and factories to health centres. The methods are constantly evolving so I don't see why the discussion shouldn't follow suit!
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Old 18-05-2008, 10:13
My name is Adam
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You really do charm people wherever you go don't you!
Why do you have to be so rude to people?
You have a lot of attitude for a "new" poster.
WizNet, are you going to answer my post here:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/s...2#post23760852

Or continue to ignore it?
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Old 18-05-2008, 10:14
lioncelt
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We don't often, in this country, buy houses outright. We borrow huge amounts over long periods of time (eg 100,000+ mortgage over a lifetime!). We want to do that, I think its cultural as much as anything, & we want to leave our houses to our children. Oterwise we'd have to look at cheaper materials like wood (in fact some people are going this way with smart, well built chalets/park-homes but they do depreciate in value.

I don't know for sure, but I don't think mortgage companies like lending for wooden houses.
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