Superiority in Design Performance
Wood frame construction is cheap, fast, and everyone knows how to make it.
Concrete Block construction is more expensive, can take more time, and is limited in the labor pool – fewer people know how to build using Concrete Blocks.
Why then would we say that it may be a more superior construction material?
It ultimately depends on the application of the material to the task at hand.
The superiority of concrete block construction comes from a number of factors, each of which are helpful in the Southern California market, but also may be relevant in others as well.
To begin, the thermal mass storage capabilities of concrete block allow it to store heat. So, as the day is heating up, the house is still remaining cool from the previous night’s heat loss. The block assists in regulating the heat on the inside during the hotter part of the day, and the heat, having been stored throughout the day, releases its heat in the evening when it is cooler. Therefore, in hotter climates, concrete block can serve as a temperature regulator.
Next, compared to wood construction, concrete block has superior fire protection capabilities. Most wood frame construction acheives a much lower rating than the standard 4 hour protection afforded by concrete block construction.
Concrete block, when reinforced by steel, can achieve higher lateral strength values than wood.
Concrete grows stronger with time.
To sum it up, the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada says, “Concrete Masonry does not burn, melt or warp, and is the ideal material for fire-resistant applications. Concrete masonry also resists mold, insects, and other pests that plague other building materials.”