Perhaps one of the most popular topics in conversation these days is how we can be more sustainable. Be it with our food or our clothing; it’s our responsibility to try and make the best possible choices for our planet.
The same goes for construction. That’s why we’re exploring the advantages and disadvantages of timbercrete as an alternative to concrete.
If you’re interested in being more eco-friendly with your building, get in touch today and speak with one of our trusted structural engineers in Cornwall.
What Is Timbercrete?
Also referred to as woodcrete, timbercrete is a sustainable alternative to concrete made from recycled wood.
Timbercrete is made by mixing a blend of waste timber (or cellulose) with cement and sand. Once made, Timbercrete can be used in construction as bricks, panels, pavers or even blocks.
Advantages of Timbercrete
Below, we’ve explored the key advantages of using timbercrete instead of concrete.
There are plenty of reasons why timbercrete is an excellent alternative to concrete, but most notable is how environmentally friendly it is as a building material.
Unlike concrete, timbercrete works as a carbon dioxide trap. When the timber waste breaks down, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thus negatively impacting the environment. This cycle can be broken by turning that waste into timbercrete as the cellulose is preserved and never breaks down.
Since timbercrete is simple to make and involves such a low energy manufacturing process, it’s much cheaper to produce than many other building materials.
When tested, timbercrete was also shown to have better thermal efficiency compared to ordinary concrete or bricks. This means that by using timbercrete, you could also be saving yourself money in the long run by cutting your energy bills.
Timbercrete is also 250% lighter than concrete or clay, meaning shipping costs are significantly reduced or cut entirely if manufactured in the UK.
As far as lifespan goes, timbercrete will last as long as any other concrete product. However, timbercrete is shown to have much better versatility than concrete.
Unlike concrete, timbercrete can be nailed and screwed into place, making it much easier to work with. Tests have also shown that a 190mm timbercrete block has the highest possible fire-resistance rating for building materials in Australia.
Timbercrete has also been shown not to wear when exposed to extreme weather conditions and has superior bracing values for earthquake or cyclonic areas.
Disadvantages of Timbercrete
When compared with concrete, there aren’t any definitive disadvantages of note. Because timbercrete is a lesser-known building material, some contractors prefer to stay away simply because they haven’t worked with it before.
There is also the possibility that when it comes to upfront cost, timbercrete could cost more than concrete to produce. However, when this is weighed up against the amount of money that can be saved through thermal efficiency and manufacturing costs, it doesn’t seem like much of a disadvantage.
Overall, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and cost effective alternative to concrete, then timbercrete may be the best option for your next build.
Why not check out our blog for more information on energy-efficient building materials such as Ferrock or Hempcrete?