AAC vs Other Materials
So, what are the advantages of Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC)?
Lightweight (80% lighter than concrete- it will even float on water!)
Strong against extreme weather conditions. Structure can be engineered according to weather concerns of the area Earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, etc.
- Non-combustible * UL fire rating of 4 hours for a 4-inch non-load bearing wall * Does not expel toxic gases when exposed to fir * Ideal for wild-fire prone areas
Energy efficient in hot and cold climates * AAC cellular structure creates unique thermal properties resulting in a “mass enhanced R-Value.” * Combining high heat loss resistance with thermal inertia * Great for large day to night temperature swings * Monthly savings on heating and cooling cost
Impervious to pests, termites and other wood boring insects.
- Mold-proof and vapor permeable walls * As an inert mineral product, AAC will not succumb mold and decay.
- Reduced sound transmission * AAC has a high STC rating (Sound Transmission Class) due to the porous structure of the material it performs as an acoustic insulator, therefore reducing sound transmission.
- Eco-friendly materials and building process * Manufacturing AAC materials does not emit any pollutants into the environment and uses a minimal amount of energy and natural resources to produce.
- Flexibility with remodeling and decorating * Interior walls can easily be moved and reassembled for simple remodeling. * AAC can be cut, drilled, shaped and sanded easily with hand or power tools. * Electric chases are easily sawn or routed in.
* Screws and nails can be used just as a wood build house.
- Legacy Value– the home will easily outlast the life of a wood-frame home while requiring less maintenance. Reducing the overall long-term expense of a home.
- Design options * AAC exteriors can be designed with the aesthetic of your choice. It can be fitted with stone, cement board siding, brick, metal & wood siding, etc. * Interior walls can be sanded down, and no additional materials are needed for a finished product. * However, interiors can be direct plastered with a base coat, followed by stucto-lite plaster or drywall compound if desired.
- Eliminates the need for sheetrock.
There are countless other advantages to using AAC not listed above. Over 60% of new home construction in most central European countries are currently built using Autoclaved Aerated Concrete. The build process is fast and efficient with a contractor trained on using the material.
Currently a wood-framed home in the US is 4-10% less expensive to build up front, but the long-term cost of owning a wood-frame home can easily offset that cost within just a few years.
How different is this material from traditional wood homes build in the USA? Below is a breakdown of just a few key issues and expenses you will find in a wood framed home:
Wood burns easily and cannot withstand a wildfire.
Easily destroyed in an earthquake o If survives seismic activity, the home is still in danger of fires resulting from gas line damage (Kobi Earthquake, Japan 1995).
- Termite damage.
- Mold and dry-rot * Especially relevant in areas with regular snow and rain.
- High wind and hurricane damage can completely destroy or cause significant damage.
- Flooding treatment is much more extensive and expensive than with AAC * Remove sheetrock to dry-out the frame and treat wood against mold before rebuilding (AAC would only require pressure washing.)
- Extra cost for sound-proofing.
- Need for insulation products which have been found to be toxic over time.
- Higher annual energy costs due to poor insulation products.
- Susceptible to structural damage and requires more longterm maintenance than AAC.
- Certain treated wood products used in homes are toxic and no longer permitted in parts of Europe.