Alternatives to Wood in Construction

wood alternatives in constructionWood is a material which is used extensively in construction. It is a durable and plentiful material which is easy to use and can be cut into various lengths and sizes. Wood also provides a number of benefits including:

  • Thermal elasticity from temperature changes
  • Acoustic properties via sound isolation
  • Resistance from electrical charges and oxidation
  • Is easy to repair and maintain

While these properties make wood perfect for many different construction applications, such as for the framing of most residential housing, it can also pose a number of structural disadvantages which may affect its use in construction. Wood is known to shrink, swell and deteriorate under certain conditions, as well as produce biological diseases and fungi if not properly treated. Wood is also prone to the elements, including damage from moisture and insects such as termites.

Thankfully there are a number of different alternatives to wood, which not only present a number of alternative strengths, however also mitigate some of the shortcomings that wood may provide.

Wood composites

Wood composites are a type of material which combines wood with recycled plastics or other components in order to provide a product that is stronger and in some cases, even cheaper. Wood composites have the advantage of not requiring any finishing, staining or maintenance, and are considered very durable. There are even some specialised wood composites that are immune from fire and heat, providing an extra layer of safety for our constructions.


Bamboo is natural raw material which is comparable to wood in many ways. Unlike most woods, bamboo has an incredible capacity to absorb energy, providing it with a higher bending strength than compared to wood, which is ideal for seismic-resistant constructions in earthquake prone areas. Furthermore, bamboo is easy to cut, handle and repair, and is incredibly light despite of its strength.


Hemp is being widely adopted as viable building material in recent years, due its ability to grow easily without herbicides or pesticides and its vast range in utility. In fact, hemp is considered to be one of the most productive fibres to grow, generating up to 25 tons of construction-grade fibre per acre. Hemp can be used in nearly everything, from concrete, insulation, fuel, cloth, wax, resin, rope, paper and just about anything you can think of!


Stone has long been an ancient building material, used to construct the houses and castles that once made up a large portion of medieval Europe. Stone is still used today for its wonderful insulation properties, which prove incredibly useful during hot summer periods. Furthermore, stone is a very heavy and durable material which provides strength and resistance from most biological factors, such as mold.

No matter what building material you decide to use for your next construction, ProjectLink contains a vast library of materials which can best suit your construction needs.

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