Why are most houses in Canada made of wood?

If you’ve never been to Canada, one of the first things you’ll notice when you move there is that most homes are built using wood. While the idea of using wood for the whole construction of a house might seem strange in some countries, it’s very common in Canada. So, why are most houses in Canada made of wood?

Most houses in Canada are built with wood. But some use stone, brick, or concrete. Wood is the number building material because of its cost, ease of use, insulating ability, and the Canadian climate. However, wooden homes face issues such as less durability, vulnerability, and lower resale value.

In recent years, modern houses in Canada have started using bricks and concrete. But wood remains the most common option, especially for residential homes. Here, we look at the common materials for home construction in Canada and why wood is the most preferred.

What is used for Home Constructions in Canada?

Canada has its own construction culture, which is a result of decades of practice and other factors. While there are diverse styles of houses, the materials are limited. When classified by materials, there are four kinds of houses that are common in Canada. These are:

1.      Wooden Houses

Most houses in Canada are built using wood, and they have a concrete foundation that provides the needed support. However, the construction of wooden houses is a manual process. There are various types of wood used for construction. As a result, wooden houses usually vary in style.

2.      Brick Houses

Most modern houses in Canada are built using bricks. They last longer than wood and give the house a sophisticated appearance. In Canada, most brick houses usually combine both wood and bricks for the wall. The bricks usually serve as facades atop the timber wall.

3.      Stone Houses

Stone houses are most common in southern Ontario. They’re built using fieldstone, which is mostly collected from streams and fields. These kinds of houses are very strong and last longer than brick houses. But the building process is labour intensive.

4.      Concrete Houses

Concrete homes are gradually becoming more popular in Canada as people seek eco-friendly options in construction. In addition, most large-scale buildings, such as skyscrapers are built using concrete.

Why Are Most Houses Constructed Using Wood?

Most Canadians build their house with wood due to the following reason

1.      Cost

The cost of wood is the primary reason for its prevalent use in home construction. Canada holds 9% of the global forests and the forestry industry is quite huge here. With over 30% of the country’s landmass being forest, wood is easily available. In addition, the cost of acquiring and transporting is very low, making them the cheaper option for home construction in a very expensive real estate market.

2.      Climate

Canada’s climate also affects the choice of material used for home construction. Wood is generally suitable for Canada’s climate regardless of the conditions in that particular area. The same isn’t true of brick or stones. For instance, brick houses aren’t suitable for humid areas since they have pores in which mold can form.  Wood also has more resistance to erosion in humid areas compared to brick and stones. This makes them a better option.

3.      Insulation

Even though most people talk about how cold Canada is in the winter, people forget it has four seasons. In the summer, the weather can get really hot, depending on your location. For example, the temperature in the Prairie provinces can be very high during summer. In this weather, a wooden house is better because the wood can insulate. As a result, it doesn’t retain heat, making it easy to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

On the other hand, bricks and stone houses will help you enjoy a warmer winter, but when summer comes, they retain heat which means you’ll have to spend more on cooling.

4.      Ease of Use

Another reason most constructions in Canada use wood is that it is easier to use than bricks or stones. When it comes to building materials, wood is one of the easiest to transport. They are also very flexible and the builder can shape them into just about anything. As a result, it takes less time to construct wooden homes compared with other kinds of homes. The ease of using wood also extends to when you need to tear it down. You can easily dismantle a wooden house.

Challenges of Wooden Houses

Even though most houses in Canada are made of wood, wood isn’t without its blemishes. Some of the disadvantages of using wood for home construction include.

1.      Vulnerable to Pests and Moisture

Wood homes can be damaged by a termite or dung beetle infestation, and moisture can also cause rot and mold in the houses. To prevent pest damage, wooden houses need regular chemical treatment.

2.      Less Durable

In areas where the weather conditions are extreme, such as where the snow is heavy, and there are many snowstorms, wood stands less of a chance than other materials. In such areas, it’s usually better to build a brick or stone house. Wooden houses are also more vulnerable to fire damage. But even in brick and stone houses, fire can still damage properties and cause significant cracks in the walls if not put off quickly.

3.      Lower Resale Value

Wooden homes have a higher potential for wear and tear compared to other buildings. This is why their resale value is usually lower compared with that of brick houses. Brick homes have natural aesthetics, and they don’t require painting. Therefore, it generally requires less maintenance to keep a brick house in good condition compared to a wooden home.

In Conclusion

Canadians build most of their homes with wood, just like Americans. There are several reasons for this, such as the low cost and accessibility of wood and the Canadian climate. However, wood has its problems too, but those issues can be overlooked when one considers the benefits of using wood.

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