Whether you’re adding a shed to your property, expanding with a new room, or building an entire house, the cost of lumber is likely going to affect your plans. Though not quite as high as it peaked early in the pandemic, buying lumber in any quantity still isn’t exactly what one would call a cheap endeavor. There may be a bright side to all of this, however; the high cost of lumber is highlighting the fact that there are actually a few alternatives to wood out there that you might not have thought of.
This doesn’t mean that you can completely avoid the use of wood in every project, of course. Some projects work better with alternative materials than others. Still, the fact that there are options out there other than just using lumber for everything might help you to think outside of the box and find at least some cheaper (and in some cases, possibly even better) options when planning out your next construction project.
Non-Lumber Construction Materials
Lumber is probably the most well-known material that’s used for framing construction and building out projects, but it isn’t the only option out there. When it comes to creating frames for rooms and buildings, steel and other metals are not only an option but they’re actually becoming an increasingly popular one because of the added strength that they provide. Metal framing is used in everything from sheds to exterior garages to whole homes and creates very sturdy structures that can stand up well against severe weather and other events.
Metal isn’t the only wood alternative that you can use in construction around the home, either. Plastics such as composite decking and fencing are increasingly popular for use around the home, creating a look that is often reminiscent of wood while providing superior resistance to fading and weather damage. Bamboo products are also seeing an increase in use as a building material, as they have similar capabilities to wood but often come at a lower cost than wood lumber because of the fast rate at which bamboo grows. Even concrete and fiber cement are seeing a growing popularity as materials, especially given their relative strengths and the ability to mold both to a variety of shapes to better match the project at hand.
Minimizing Wood in Your Projects
Even with a variety of materials as options, you may still need to (or want to!) use some wood in your construction projects. You may simply prefer the look of wood, or have specific idea in mind that does require wood. This doesn’t mean that you have to commit to wood for the entire project, however, and you can use alternative materials in places where they aren’t visible or won’t affect the project in substantial ways as a means of reducing your overall project cost.
A great way to do this is to use alternative materials for framing and then attach wood to that frame. You can also use wood in areas where it’s strictly necessary for the project that you have in mind and then supplement that with paintable composites or fiber cement siding so that the end product can get a coat or two of paint to make it all mesh. There are a number of ways that you can be creative and keep your costs low while still giving you the look and functionality that you want in the end.
Working Without Wood
Of course, being able to use a material other than wood in your construction projects only works out if you’ve got contractors or other pros who are used to working with these alternative materials. Find professionals that have experience working with metals, composites, and other alternative materials to help you get the job done with the materials you want.