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- Should You Consider a Concrete House?
Should You Consider a Concrete House?
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Concrete systems are more expensive at the outset. Typical concrete systems generally add about three to five percent on average to the price tag of a home, says Thompson. “Keep in mind that this is a one-time financial hit but the savings is perpetual. The resulting energy efficiency more than offsets this increase."
When checking on relative costs, it’s important to compare apples to apples. Some factors influencing costs include:
- Price of concrete in your area
- Price of the concrete system in your area
- Local labor rates
- Competitiveness of the local marketplace
- Experience of the crew
- Design of the home
- Local building codes
“In Florida, where you have strict building codes due to wind activity, wood-frame construction can cost a lot more to meet those requirements,” says Thompson. “When the cost of the wood-frame home goes up, concrete construction can be equal to or even less than an identical wood-frame home.”
Consider the Possibilities
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are considering concrete for your next home.
- Visit construction sites in which the contractors you are considering are using the various concrete wall systems. Talk with them about which system makes sense for your site.
- Interview builders that use the system you want. Ask for references and talk to those homeowners about whether the builder was on time, early or late with their project, and whether the project was on budget. Ask about their experience of living with that type of concrete system home.
- Know that good planning is essential. It “eliminates all of the problems and headaches of construction,” says Friemoth of Walls Are Us Inc. He says it is important to have subcontractors, such as plumbers or electricians, familiar with or open minded to concrete construction methods. Coordinate with your builder. Make sure you take the time you need to be comfortable with the designs and options you have chosen. Outlets, windows, utility runs and rough openings need to be factored in at the design stage.
- Be aware that future remodeling is possible but does get a bit more complicated. Because concrete is stronger, more steps will be involved. However, says Thompson, an addition, even a wood-framed one, will be stronger because it will get lateral support from the concrete systems. Remodeling most interiors will be similar to other homes since interior walls are usually wood framed.
- Remember that if you have chosen a home design based on wood frame construction but want to go with a concrete wall system, the thickness of the concrete wall, which may be six inches in difference, will affect the plan.
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