A Comparison between Precast Concrete and Wood or Steel Framing: a Look at Which is Best for Your Project
submitted on 19 October 2021
Structures made from wood, concrete, and steel are the most commonly seen in construction projects, and all of these materials have their merits. But if you are wondering which material is the most feasible, not to mention the most cost-effective and reliable, look no further – here's a comparison between precast concrete and wood or steel framing: which is best for you?
The value of cost
Two of your foremost considerations when it comes to your project are the construction expenses and your TCO or total cost of ownership. Whilst you will have to think about a solution for framing that will allow you to stay within your set budget, it’s even more essential to remember that a material that may seem costlier at the onset may end up letting you save more in the long term.
That said, whilst steel and wood framing are often less costly compared to precast concrete, the benefits of concrete make up for its initial cost over time. Experts can confirm that both precast concrete and cast on-site concrete can effectively pay for themselves over their lifetime, and since both are also resistant to damage and fire, they are the most cost-effective materials overall. Another aspect you may want to consider is that precast concrete also trumps concrete cast on-site in terms of money and time saved.
Precast concrete vs. steel frames
Without a doubt, steel frames are popular as a material for construction because they are aesthetically appealing and modern, and they do come with some environmental benefits as well. Steel frames are efficient and do not require too much labour on-site compared to concrete cast on-site, and they are also known for their sustainability since steel framing reduces the removal of extra waste.
But precast concrete comes with its own set of benefits over steel frames, because it is durable, versatile, and comes with great thermal properties, as attested to by precast concrete specialists like JP Concrete. Concrete is renowned for its durability and strength, and it is often perfect for larger buildings or structures. It is also quite versatile because you can incorporate other materials into the concrete to add more strength and appeal as well as insulation. In terms of the cost of labour and efficiency, precast concrete is much the same as steel, but concrete has more durability and boasts premium thermal efficiency over steel.
Precast concrete vs. wood frames
Wood frames are also a common sight when it comes to residential building and construction projects, and it is a safe material to use for structures that can reach up to five storeys. Wood frames come with more than a few benefits, such as a lower cost (initially), ecological-friendliness, and a natural aesthetic appeal. But everyone can agree that in terms of durability and safety, wood offers a lot less compared to precast concrete. Precast concrete has other benefits over wood frames, too – it is safer and comes with other economic advantages. For instance, concrete is fire-resistant, and it can offer better protection for multiple-dwelling and residential buildings such as apartment complexes and structures constructed in areas that are prone to weather disturbances and storms.
Moreover, precast concrete boasts thermal efficiency that can reduce the cost of energy and the total cost of ownership. A concrete structure can save you in both heating and air conditioning as opposed to wooden framing.