Things You “Wooden” Know
One of the most surprising qualities of wood is its incredible strength. A wooden block just one inch square and 2-1/4 inches long can support 10,000 pounds, the weight of three automobiles.
Pound for pound, wood is stronger than steel.
It would take a concrete wall 5 feet thick to equal the insulating quality of just 4 inches of wood.
As a construction material, wood is 4 times more efficient as an insulator than an equivalent thickness of cinder block, 6 times more efficient than brick, 15 times more efficient than concrete, 306 times more efficient than steel, and 1,770 times more efficient than aluminum.
Why? Wood isn’t as dense as it looks, its cells contain millions of tine airspaces. And air is one of the best insulators known.
This is the reason a wood-frame house will keep you warmer in winter, cooler in summer. A test conducted at Arizona State University shows how wood can reduce heating and cooling bills.
The test compared the fuel consumption of two houses identical in size. One was built of wood. The other of masonry. Both structures were insulated. And both were exposed simultaneously to identical weather conditions and controlled interior temperatures.
The results were quite conclusive. During the heating season, the wood house used 23% less fuel than the masonry house. And 30.2% less fuel was used during the air conditioning season. This was in an area where temperatures frequently soar over 100º F.
There’s also a side benefit to wood-frame construction that helps insulate your house from extremes of heat and cold. It provides plenty of room for insulation materials between wall studs, floor joists and ceiling joists.
Wood windows also help you feel warmer in winter, cooler in summer. According to another test, wood windows with factory-applied weather stripping and insulating glass didn’t frost at 30º F below zero. But metal sashes frosted at only 20º F above zero.
Wood is also a valuable acoustical material. It can reflect or absorb sound waves and is used extensively in churches, auditoriums and schools for sound control.
Wood last for centuries. The Old Ironworks House in Saugus, Massachusetts was completed in 1646. Despite the lashings of New England winters, it still stands.
Wood piles were found intact after being under the streets of Venice for 1,000 years.
Timbers 2,700 years old have been found in the tomb of King Gordius near Ankara, Turkey.
Source: St. Petersburg Times, April 16, 1976