Wood buildings have been a popular method of construction for buildings such as commercial, institutional and industrial. However, recently, people are choosing metal over wood to build their house. There are many advantages to metal buildings have over wood buildings, and will be discussed in this essay. Such advantages are versatility, durability and sustainability.
The Durability of Metal Buildings
First, metal buildings are more durable than wood buildings. Wood are susceptible to damage by mold and termites. In a recent study, it has shown that termites damage approximately six hundred thousand wood-framed homes per year in the United States 1. In a flood zone area, buildings are often exposed to water. Wood, when exposed to water, can potentially lead to mold problems. Therefore if a wood building is continually exposed to water, mold problems will likely appear, and if it gets serious enough, the entire structure will need to be replaced. Metal, on the other hand, is resistant to termites and mold. Therefore, if Metal buildings are exposed to termites or water, little to no damage will be incurred as compared to wood buildings.Thus, metal buildings are more resilient than wood buildings.
Metal Buildings and Sustainability
Next, metal buildings are more sustainable than wood buildings. When buildings are demolished, the rubble is hauled away and recycled, however, not all of it can be recycled. The ratio between waste that can be recycled over the total amount of waste gives the recycling rate2. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), metal has an average recycling rate of eighty-eight percent 3. In addition, it has been shown that metal can be recycled continually with no degradation in performance, even from one product to another 3. However, wood has an average recycling rate of fifty percent and a degradation in performance when recycled 4. Having a higher recycling rate and no degradation in performance when recycled from one product to another, shows that metal buildings are more sustainable than wood buildings.
The Versatility of Metal Buildings
Another advantage metal buildings has over wood buildings is versatility in home building and remodeling. When metal buildings are built, there are usually no load bearing walls. This means that the interior walls do not impact the structural integrity of the building. On the other hand, wood buildings have load bearing walls, which will impact the structural integrity of the building if they were removed. Over the past few years, people have been choosing to remodel their homes instead of selling it and buying a new one. According to Houzz and Home survey, forty percent of the one hundred thousand responses said that they were planning to build an addition or remodel in the next couple of years5. Therefore, if a home builder decides to make changes to the location of interior walls, it would be easier to do for a metal building than a wood building. Metal buildings are subsequently more versatile than wood buildings when it comes to remodeling or building designing.
There are several advantages metal buildings have over wood buildings, which could explain the popularity for using them as commercial, industrial, institutional buildings, and residential buildings. These advantages include the durability of metal, being resistant to termites and mold, having a higher recycling rate than wood, which reflects sustainability, and being versatile when remodeling or building designing due to having no load bearing walls.