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Question about house construction in the US.

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CX

posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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Could anyone explain why so many houses in the US are made from what appears to be so many slats of wood?

Looking at some of the post Sandy pics, i can't help but wonder why so many houses are made like the straw house in the Three Little Pigs? I see this a lot in places where they have a lot of tornadoes too, houses tossed away like blowing a pile of sticks down.

Is it something to do with the climate there? Is it cost?

Are there flaws in having brick houses there like we have here in the UK?

Apologies for the question if its a little raw at the moment, but it almost bugs me to see people lives ruined when a stronger build may have been the answer? I know little about construction though so i thought i'd ask here.

Thanks,

CX.




posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 01:19 PM
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post a picture or link so i [we] don't give you confusing answers like maybe they use the metric system there and a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of plywood end up being 4 cm by 8 cm ?



posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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Except in the south most houses in the US are "stick built." Why? Because the raw material is abundant. Stone and brick aren't. Today houses are usually built with 2" x 6" timber for the walls to allow for R-19 insulation, covered in 4 x 8 plywood or "composite" boards, then the actual siding. Older houses have 2" x 4" walls. The siding on the outside is also usually wood. but increasingly composite or wood/plastic blends; the inside walls are gypsum board. Floors and ceilings are made with 2" x 10" or 12" boards. Most houses are built on a poured concrete foundation or slab. Newer houses have earthquake strengthening requirements. The "Building Code" governs everything. Going from the inside to the outside:

paint->wallboard->house wrap->insulation in 2x6 cavity->plywood->siding->paint

Now, about durability. It depends on what you are trying to be durable from. A Hurricane with 100mph+ winds is hard to beat for destructive power. If it's a direct hit, anything will go. This last storm had a lot of flooding involved. Once again, doesn't matter if you have a house made from sticks or stones. The water doesn't care. The reason the destruction was so severe is because people built so close to the water.

If we're talking earthquakes, a stick-built house may fare better than one made of brick. If we're talking fire, a slate or tile roof is going to be better than cedar shakes. I've seen some of the stone buildings in the UK. Some of them lean on one another. One earthquake and the whole town would fall down into a heap of stones. But then, you don't have many earthquakes.
edit on 11/5/2012 by schuyler because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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The USA seems to get more seriously bad weather so its probably easier/cheaper to just rebuild than it would be to design building suitable for Sandy/twisters etc as we in the UK are pretty gifted with reasonably good weather except when Michael Fish does the weather forecasts



posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 03:11 PM
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reply to post by CX
 


I've often wondered this too. The only justifications I can come up with for this practice are the benefits to the construction industry. If these houses survived hurricanes and tornadoes and even forest fires in the west, there'd be a no rebuilding industry and the reduction in the need for new wood would adversely affect that trade as well.

Storm surges are one thing but hurricane winds aren't all that high. We regularly get speeds of 80 mph plus in the UK. However, tornadoes are another story entirely. Those winds are so high that wooden homes become airborne and turn into lethal missiles. Can you build hurricane proof homes? I don't know, but my gut tells me there'd be less debris around killing people and animals, and destroying other property if everything was built of stone and/or brick.

Any suggestion that it's easier and cheaper to rebuild with wood every time because stone isn't so readily available seems ludicrous to me. Perhaps I should be grateful that living in Britain, this teeny tiny island, we're lucky because we have stone beneath our feet. It must be difficult building in America where stone is so hard to find.



posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 03:29 PM
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IT really depends on the year of construction, and the location. But you are right that newere houses are pretty shodily built. I wouldn't buy a home that is newer then 15 years.



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