The Advantages of Concrete Block Construction
Advantages of Concrete Block Construction
Concrete block construction is traditionally more common in central and south Florida, while wood-framed exterior wall construction is prevalent along the panhandle, but now, those building new homes have more choices, unless neighborhood design codes strongly encourage or dictate the type of exterior wall construction that must be utilized.
Strength – Hurricane Resistance
There is a preconception that a concrete block house is stronger than a 2×6 stick-frame house. Either type of construction, in accordance with location, is designed by the engineer to meet current building codes and to withstand 140-mile-per-hour wind speed, whether constructed from CMU or wood framing (with various strapping and fastening mechanisms).
CMU is indeed more fire resistant than wood studs and plywood sheathing, although wood framing is still used and attached to the inside of CMU walls to allow for concealment of mechanical piping and wiring. If a fire occurs where CMU walls are used, wood studs (sleepers) would most likely be damaged while the CMU may or may not be salvageable.
CMU wall framing has an advantage over wood-framed construction. Still, the sleepers or wood framing pieces attached to the inside of concrete block walls are still susceptible to termites, but the potential damage to the overall structure is diminished because the wood strips are not a structural part of the home and can easily be replaced.
Flood & Weather Resistance – Moisture Intrusion
Concrete block is more forgiving to water and moisture intrusion. For example, if a garage were to flood, it would be much easier to dry out or repair damage to CMU walls. Water coming in over time will rot out exterior sheeting, window and door headers, and structural wood framing.
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