In America, modern concrete homes are becoming very, very popular. This makes a lot of sense, especially since, according to Chemistry World Magazine, concrete is the most widely-used building material in the world.
From this same 2008 issue of Chemistry World Magazine, we learned that over two-billion tons of concrete are produced every year. Keep in mind that this issue is from 2008, and that number has certainly gone up since then.
Why are modern concrete homes becoming so popular?
Besides the fact that cement is a very popular and very familiar building material, it is also an incredibly durable building material that can withstand noise. You can use concrete in a variety of ways, to create some very interesting homes, and due to a variety of advances in the cement industry, concrete has become a very sustainable material for the environment.
How Are Concrete Homes Built?
Modern concrete homes are made using a combination of cement, water, sand, and stone aggregates. This is also combined with various chemical properties so that the material becomes strong and durable.
Usually, though, concrete homes are made in much the same way that regular houses are made. From the concrete that is created, it is used to follow a blueprint that is very similar to a blueprint for a regular, wood-frame house. Usually, this concrete is paired with steel reinforcements and various other materials – these depend on the house itself – to strengthen it, increasing its durability, while also ensuring that it is aesthetically pleasing, rather than drab and ugly.
Concrete blocks are being used more and more due to their lack of a carbon footprint – they are very sustainable – and also because of their versatility.
To create the concrete blocks that are often used in building homes and big buildings, cement masons take concrete, and they cast it into what is known as a “reusable mold”, which is basically just a specific shape/form. This reusable mold is taken to a controlled environment and cured, which means to provide the adequate amount of moisture, along with the ideal temperature, for the concrete mold to achieve the needed effects.
From that process, it is then taken to the work site, and used. This particular process is easy and effortless, with a very small carbon footprint, which has contributed greatly to the popularity of modern concrete homes.
Generally speaking, this is the same process that is used for making any type of concrete home, regardless of how many concrete blocks are used.
The pieces are cast into the necessary molds, cured, and then taken to the work site where the house/building is being assembled.
Pros and Cons of Concrete Homes?
- Walls can be put up very quickly.
- Unaffected by termites or extreme temperatures – hot or cold.
- Good noise isolation.
- Provides isolation against hot and cold weather. Less need for a house wrap.
- Takes more time to build properly.
- Some concrete blocks – if applied in an uncreative manner look boring and drab.
4 Types of Concrete Homes
There are four very popular types of concrete used for building houses.
Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, they are all popular for a reason, and that reason is because they are very good and very durable.
1. Concrete Blocks
Concrete blocks are fairly self-explanatory. They are very popular, due to their inexpensive price, and they can be manufactured easily and quickly. Most people think of concrete blocks as being these big, solid, blocks that are usually three-by-four. Sometimes bigger. Sometimes smaller. But, the image is the same.
However, this isn’t quite right. Some concrete blocks are very small, and made for a very specific aesthetic purpose. Other concrete blocks are very large, and simply designed that way for economical reasons. It depends on the home.
2. Precast Panels
Precast panels are often built at a plant, and then transported to the site of where your home is being constructed. Generally, they look really good, but they can be a bit more expensive.
3. Insulating Concrete Forms
ICFs are foam blocks that are hollow and filled with reinforced concrete. Even when the concrete has been poured in, the foam stays in so that it can provide insulation. This particular type of concrete is generally not very pretty to look at.
4. Removable Forms
Removable forms are very conventional concrete forms. They are usually used to build basement walls, due to the many options for insulation that they offer.
What Are the Costs?
So, how much does it cost to actually have a modern concrete homemade?
As with most questions regarding budget, the answer is: that depends. But, that being said, it is quickly becoming apparent that most concrete homes are significantly cheaper than homes made of more conventional materials, such as wood.
According to a 2017 article from Curbed, written by Lauren Ro, a 1,722 square-foot home was built for only one-hundred and nine-thousand dollars. This home takes the form of a white cube, and while this aesthetic may not be pleasing, it seems the family, located in Matosinhos, is very pleased.
However, this really isn’t the full answer. Because buying a modern concrete home comes with many other, equally important, factors. Factors such as the savings in monthly heating and cooling costs.
The specific amount of money that you’ll save depends on a variety of factors, including the climate of where you live, but, according to a statistic from Concrete Network, for a typical 2000 square-foot home, it’s estimated that you’ll save about 20 to 25% on heating and cooling costs.
However, that doesn’t account for the savings in insurance costs. Many insurance agencies have homeowners policies that are up to 25% for modern concrete homes. This is because of their resistance to things like tornados, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes.
What are the Best Siding Options for Concrete Homes?
Just because your house is built with concrete doesn’t mean you have to have a concrete exterior resulting in a brutalist style. Just like wood-built houses, you can apply a variety of siding options. Here are some of the more common.
- Fiber Cement Siding – One of the most durable forms of house siding. There are 4 types of fiber cement siding you can use.
- Stucco – Very colorful, and doesn’t crack.
- Stone and Brick Veneer – Incredibly durable, very aesthetically pleasing.
- Mortarless Masonry – Durable wall systems that are supported by mortarless walls.
- Shingle Fiber Cement Siding – Very pleasing to the eye, due to their wide variety of colors.
- Fiber Cement Lap Siding – Many shapes and colors. Very pretty.
- Sheet Form Fiber Cement Siding- No warping, or insect damage. Less durable than some others, but very beautiful.