Why Are Houses in America Made of Wood? 10 Reasons

If you’ve been to countries other than the United States, you’ve probably noticed how rare it is to find houses made of wood compared to America.

Cement, steel, and bricks are the staple materials used in building houses worldwide, so why are houses in America made of wood? As it turns out, there are multiple reasons that explain why people in the United States prefer wooden homes.


In today’s article, we’ll discuss each reason to help you better understand their standing. Let’s jump in!

1. The Law Allows It

In many countries nowadays, building codes and regulations prohibit or limit the use of wood in building homes. This has to do with a bunch of safety and presentation aspects, so even if they wanted to, people in such countries can’t freely build their houses out of wood without being subject to legal ramifications.

On the other hand, the United States doesn’t enforce such laws and regulations. Some states have building codes to govern the building sector, but nothing actively prevents people from building wooden homes.

Example of a wooden house

2. It’s in the American History

Building wooden houses isn’t some new trend in America, it’s embedded in the country’s history since the very beginning.

People in the United States have been doing it for centuries now, specifically since the end of the 1500s and the start of the 1600s. This is the period during which Europeans first arrived in the country and began building houses and shops out of wood.

Choosing wood as a building material wasn’t only because it was widely available, but also because it supported quick building.

Getting done in a short time was crucial for colonizing purposes. Working with cement and bricks needed a significantly longer time.

3. Wood Is Readily Available

One of the main reasons that Americans use wood in building houses is the availability of the material. 

Thanks to the vast areas of forests across the country, tree cutting and commissioning into construction-grade wood is readily feasible. Consequently, finding and buying wood to build a house is an easy task.

4. Wood Costs Less

If we look at it from a purely economic point of view, it’s easy to figure out why so many Americans prefer building wooden houses — wood is a lot cheaper than other building materials including cement and bricks.

As such, most people look at it as a chance to save some extra money on construction and put it in another area where it’s needed.

5. It Facilitates Moving

According to the United States Census Bureau, an American is expected to move houses an average of 12 times throughout their lifetime.

For this to be possible, their houses need to be built quickly, efficiently, and at a relatively reduced cost.

Enter wood, a material that allows you to build houses in a short time at a much lower price than cement and bricks.

Wooden house in the USA

6. It Saves on Contributions

Contributions to the government on houses are obligatory in the United States. The sum of money depends on various factors including the size of the house, its state, and the materials used in building it.

In most cases, wooden houses have fewer contributions than cement or brick homes.

7. Wood Is Easy to Work With

It’s pretty common for Americans to build their houses themselves without being experts in the field.

This is because wood is an easy material to handle and work with. All you need is a certain level of research skills and handiness, along with proper tools and equipment.

As such, many people in the United States prefer doing it themselves to ensure the quality of the outcome. Not to mention, it allows them to save on labor costs.

A small wooden house.

8. Wood Is Generally Safe

When it comes to resistance against natural elements, light tornados, or low-intensity earthquakes, wood does a good job of offering reliable protection thanks to its higher flexibility compared to bricks and cement. Cost-wise, wooden houses are less expensive to fix up if they sustain damage.

That being said, you should note that brick and cement basements are common to include in houses located in regions where natural disasters tend to strike.

9. Wood Is More Environmentally Friendly

Just as wood is safe for residents, it’s also safe for the environment. As a renewable and sustainable material, wood is surely a greener option.

Construction involving cement, steel, and bricks typically results in harmful gasses and fossil fuels, contributing to the increased carbon footprint and the greenhouse effect.

Wood, on the other hand, doesn’t pose such environmental issues.

10. Wood Is a Good Thermal Insulator

Efficient thermal insulation is another reason why houses in America are made of wood. The inability of wood to conduct heat means that it can serve as a heat insulator when used as a building material.

As such, wooden homes are typically warmer indoors in cold weather compared to brick or cement houses. This is also beneficial when it comes to energy efficiency.

Similarly, wooden homes tend to be cooler indoors in hot weather than other building materials. This can be attributed to the absorbent nature of wood that allows it to take up moisture from the air, reducing ambient humidity and producing an air-conditioning effect 

11. Wood Absorbs Noise

Wood offers the ability to block outside noise as it naturally absorbs sound waves. Consequently, you won’t have to suffer through the hustle and bustle outside of the house.

12. Wood Supports Design Versatility

Last but not least, the flexibility of wood as a construction material gives designers, architects, and builders plenty of room to come up with different ideas for houses compared to bricks and cement. This boosts versatility in terms of layout and appearance, which is a plus for many Americans.

Wrap Up

There you have it, 12 reasons to answer the question: why are houses in America made of wood? As you can tell by now, this preference is justified and doesn’t look like it’s going to change soon.

Wood is affordable, available, easy to work with, safe, and environmentally friendly. It’s a good thermal and noise insulator, plus it can save you tax money and labor costs.