wood or stone?

In some countries, stone houses are common. In the U.S. most homes are built with wood. Why?
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Maybe we three pigs aren't as afraid of the big bad wolf here in the good old USA.

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I am thinking lumber is a lot more expensive in europe?
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Mike wrote:

Or stone is a lot more expensive in the US!
Notan
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Right... all the "old growth forests" were removed from Europe centuries ago. Once ours are all gone we'll be using steel and concrete. There is already a tiny amount of "steel stud" construction around... you can buy the studs at Home Despot now.
Reminds me, I saw some oak plywood in there this week that was stamped "China". Do we send our oak over there to be glued into plywood? Or do the Chinese still have oak forests?
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Your 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 is not made from old growth. Most lumber, 99.9%, comes from tree farms.
Sone and concrete are used where it is the tradition and readily available

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I'm confused...if are you writing from Germany (@ergebnis.de) then steel studs may be new.
If you are in the U.S., then your statement "a tiny amount of "steel stud" construction around" is out of date. Steel studs have been the mainstay of construction in South Florida for over thirty years.

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Asia has vast forests of hardwood (and we helped them to develop the plants. Soon, they'll out produce us!) Unrelated, but interesting, the Japanese have special ships that take on hardwood in the Philippines and sail directly for the US (perhaps China now). Anyway, by the time they get here, it's plywood! Been doing this since the 70's as far as I know.

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And Tasmania is destroying its old-growth forests by turning them into wood chips for paper pulp which is exported to Japan for less cost than we can buy them here - and then they are sold back to us as imported paper. Note that the Japanese don't want to cut down their own hardwood forests, but don't mind buying ours. Of course the idiots that sell it to them are also to blame. Right now there is a determined and controversial campaign being waged by the largest forestry producer in the state, Gunns, to establish a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. As well as decimating whatever trees are left, our drinking water is to be diverted to the mill at our expense (both physically and financially). With global warming becoming more and more evident in this part of the world and with our dams (which produce our hydroelectric power) at less than 1/3 full at the end of winter, it's not looking good.
Judanne Tasmania

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Perhaps because their forests have long since been depleted. Perhaps this side of the ocean, stone masons expertise is too expensive for something as large as a home. Stone quarrying is not that expensive. Ask your architect why he/she prefers standard wooden walls vice solid stone.
Stone and concrete buildings are common where there is virtually no trees to speak of.
--
Jonny



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I think the OP meant brick not stone. Here in the UK stone is used as a cladding (over brick) in parts of the UK but most houses just use brick and aerated cement block. Many timber frame houses frequently have an outer leaf of brick.
My understanding of the history in the UK is as follows...
Several hundred years ago when there was still a lot of oak trees many houses were built of oak. Softwoods like pine wern't suitable due to the climate. When oak became expensive we switched to brick. Nowadays we have moderm preservatives and we can build houses from softwoods and we are now building a lot of timber framed houses.
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The cost of stone, quarry and delivery is very exspensive in this country much much more than it used to be why? Supply and demand that is all it is. this is why the cultured stone or FAKE stone market has more than doubled in the last year alone. Its lighter eaiser to lay and has a good variety. On top of this most of stone masons in this country have either died or retired and it really is not something that was passed on to the next generation....supply and demand.... Just to give you an idea for real stone veneer (just on the outside of the house) not a true stone hoouse (stone walls ) the average price per sq' ranges from $25.00 -$35.00 snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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Here is a quote from Downing from the 1850s - being old doesn't mean he is correct -- but it is of interest to this theme:
"In this country [USA}, from the great abundance and cheapness of wood, it has, until within a few years, been almost the only material employed in constructing country houses: but as timber has grown scarcer in the forest, it has also become dearer, until, in many parts of the Atlantic States, stone or brick is equally economical.
Wood is acknowledged by all architects to be the worst material for building, and should never be employed when it is in the power of the builder to use any other. Its want of durability, the expense of painting it and keeping it in repair, and its frailness and liability to decay by the action of the weather, are all very serious objections to it as a material for dwelling-houses.
A cottage of wood is, from the thinness of the exterior, necessarily warmer in summer, and colder in winter, than one built of more solid materials. Filling in with brick decreases this objection, but does not entirely remove it.
In point of taste, a house built of wood strikes us the least agreeably, as our pleasure in beholding a beautiful form is marred by the idea of the frailness of the material composing that form. We are aware that the almost universal prevalence of wooden country houses in the United States has weakened this impression, but the strength with which it strikes an European, accustomed to solidity and permanence in a dwelling, is the best proof of the truth of our remark.
And even in this country, the change of feeling which is daily taking place on this subject, shows very plainly in how little estimation wood will be held as a building material, compared with brick or stone, by the next generation.
Brick is the next best material to wood, and is every day coming into more general use. The walls formed of it, if well constructed, have a solidity and permanence appropriate for a country house, and requiring little cost to keep it in repair. The offensive hue of red brick walls in the country is easily removed by coloring them any agreeable tint, which will also render them dryer and more permanent.
Brick and stucco (that is, a wall built of rough brick, and coated exteriorly with a cement) is, when well executed, one of the best materials for cottages or villas. It is much warmer and dryer than wood, or even stone, and is equal to the latter in external effect, when marked off and colored to resemble it. We have no doubt that in a short time it will have a very general preference in most sections of the Country.
Stone is generally conceded to be superior, on the whole, to any other material for building. This is owing to its great durability and solidity, both in expression and in reality; and to its requiring no trouble to keep it in repair, as it suffers little or no injury from the action of the elements. "
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