Build with Wood instead of Steel? (10)

wood or steel to build our eco friendly home

Well our architects gave us a something to think about. Why don’t we build with wood instead of steel? As mentioned before we’ve been looking at building with steel shipping containers. Now our architects urged us to look at wooden constructions. You never know what those shipping containers have been used for and wood is … well a bit more natural and healthier isn’t it?


My father was a carpenter and I used to work with him in his company. So I do like the idea of wood, a lot. However … can we build with a more natural product for the same price as re-using containers? Our architects seem to think it is very possible. While they are doing the numbers I’m double checking with the companies that build container homes to understand their detailed cost specifications.


It’s like getting blood from a stone. I’m trying to have sensible conversations with these companies. They are so focussed on what they are selling that they don’t listen to what the client (me) is asking for. Anyway, looking at the costs alone, steel is actually not cheaper. In other words, re-purposing old shipping containers by companies here in Spain looks to be a profitable business.

Pro’s & Con’s of building with wood and steel

When we look at shipping containers, we know we can build our home fast. Within 3 months containers are re-purposed and lifted on your land. We’re also reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact by re-using products already built. On the other hand, the purpose of building a container is not to create a house but to ship goods. The container itself begins its life normally in China. I personally don’t have any control over which materials were used to create it but I’m pretty certain, they are not eco friendly. Insulation and condensation are not taken into account when building a container. So we need to ensure that is tackled when re-purposing it. I’m not giving up on the containers just yet but I am swinging towards wood.

There are several types of wooden structures we could use. I’m looking at CLT (cross laminated timber) as well as wood frame panels. All FSC wood of course and I like the look of it. It’s environmentally friendly and if we apply our eco friendly building guidelines on it it it will be an energy efficient house as well. We are not going for the traditional log cabin look. In fact the opposite but the structure itself can be made of natural eco friendly wood. mmmhhh definitely food for thought.

Build with wood instead of steel? Possible? Yes! Can we afford it? Yes! Will we? I don’t know yet – it’s another option we are looking at in a lot more detail.

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