Solving the 7 Problems with Light Frame Construction Using ICF
Light frame construction has long been the standard for many new buildings. It was one of the first frame building techniques that was really able to be utilized on a mass scale, but it’s not without its faults. We’ve since developed better strategies than light wood frame construction for putting up buildings. The inadequacies of this construction have really come to light in comparison.
If you’re thinking about putting up a new building, it’s a good idea to study up on light frame construction and the many ways in which it is vulnerable and inferior to other construction materials like insulating concrete forms (ICFs).
Light Frame Construction Issues
Here are 7 problems with light frame that may have you second guessing this type of construction.
1. The Increasing Cost of Light Frame Construction
Lumber prices are at an all-time high right now. This is due to tariffs levied on timber back in 2017 and raging wildfires as well. The price increase has reached such extremes that the average price of a light wood frame construction-built home is expected to rise by up to $9,000.
2. Termites Love Light Frame Construction
Everybody knows termites love wood. When you make the frame of a building out of wood, you’re putting yourself at risk of losing potentially thousands of dollars in having to combat the problem. Termites can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of a building and lead to severe consequences down the road. Termite-proofing a building is also very challenging and costs extra.
3. Light Frame Wood Construction is Prone to Mold Growth
If your building is in an area with high humidity levels, you could find yourself dealing with a mold problem. High humidity creates a condition where moisture can condense inside the cavity of framed walls, which then gets absorbed by the wood and leads to wood rot as well as mold. Mold can then create problems for occupants of your building who might have asthma or sensitive lungs.
4. Light Frame Construction is Less Energy Efficient
Light frame construction has limited energy efficiency potential due to thermal bridging and lack of thermal mass. In typical frame construction, insulation is installed between the framing which means 25% of the wall has no insulation in it. The wood or (worse) metal studs create a path for energy to come into a building which reduces the energy efficiency of a building. Secondly, light frame construction does not benefit from thermal mass which helps to absorb heat energy and increase energy efficiency Other materials like stone or ICFs have a high thermal mass, thus allowing them to store and release heat throughout the day. Light frame construction is less energy efficient than other building systems.
5. Light Frame Construction is Vulnerable to Extreme Weather
Wood doesn’t hold up well in extreme weather. It’s pretty fragile when compared with stone, steel, and ICFs like Bautex Blocks. Strong winds can completely demolish your building which is a significant risk if you live in an area where severe weather is common. It can also be cost prohibitive to go the extra length to disaster-proof a light frame building, 25 to 30 percent more in some cases.
6. Light Frame Construction is Far From Sound Proof
Standard framed walls don’t do a great job of absorbing sound, meaning loud noises can pretty much cut right through them. If your building is near a highway or busy urban area, this can be a nightmare. There are ways to make a wood frame construction building more soundproof, but they involve extra measure like staggered studs, doubling up on your drywall, or even opting for a more expensive soundproof board such as Fermacell.
7. Light Frame Construction is Susceptible to Fire Damage
It’s no secret that a wood frame building will go up in flames much faster than one with a frame made from fire-resistant ICFs. Because fire resistance and prevention are crucial in any building, you’ll need to do much more to make sure yours is safe in the event of a fire.
Light framing, requires an ignition barrier that helps slow the spread of flames and that can withstand high temperatures until occupants have time to retreat from the building. Of course, sensitive areas where a higher fire rating is required will add to the overall cost of construction.
Light Frame Construction Has Too Many Flaws
Light frame construction is not as energy efficient as other systems, which will drive your energy bill up. It’s also bad at blocking out sound and easily traps moisture which can lead to mold growth. In addition to this, light frame construction is vulnerable to fire damage and will require you to put in extra time and resources if you want to help fireproof it.
With ICF options like the Bautex Wall System coming onto the scene, there is really no reason to use light frame wood construction anymore. It’s more expensive now than ever and it has a multitude of other drawbacks which make it a far less desirable choice for framing your building.
If you want to construct a durable building, contact Bautex to learn more about a better alternative to light frame construction.
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