Building houses in Canada: materials, technology, process

Canada is the world’s second-largest country with several climate zones. Not only the latitude and longitude, but also the proximity of the oceans, the presence of mountains, and many other factors influence the temperature here. The country’s main population and all major cities are located in areas with moderately cold winters and chilly summers, so detached houses in these provinces are constructed according to similar technology; the only difference is the insulation process. Let’s analyze the technology of construction of Canadian houses and the materials used.

What housing types are preferred in Edmonton and Vancouver?

There are some differences in the construction of houses in the most populated regions, and this is primarily due to differences in winter temperatures. Let’s take Edmonton and Vancouver as examples.

The first has a continental and dry climate, and the city is away from the ocean. The weather in Vancouver is temperate and humid, as the Atlantic Ocean is near. The average winter temperature in Edmonton is about -11°C, while in Vancouver it is +4°C; the difference is about 15°C.

Most of the houses in Canada have a concrete base and a wooden frame; they also use brick and siding as cladding. In colder regions, the cost of insulation is higher – you have to use more insulation, i.e. install energy-efficient windows. For instance, Edmonton’s popular Ecoline windows have three or two chambers and coated glass, while those designs installed in Vancouver, can have just one or two chambers, but theirglass always has an oxide coating. The window profile material is either PVC or wood.

Technologies of Canadian house construction

In Canada, every 9 out of 10 houses in the southern most populous provinces are built according to frame technology that uses mineral wool insulation. In northern areas (Alaska, Yukon), they build more expensive houses made of SIP-panels, whose main advantage is the high production speed.

The house building process according to frame technology can also be very different: some houses are built on-site by professionals, while others are partially or completely made in a factory, and then “fine-tuned” on the site. The ratio is about 85 to 15 in favor of the first.

Frame technology proved popular because of an important advantage: such a house is inexpensive and warm, which is a big plus for chilly Canadian winters. If you also install Ecoline windows somewhere in Edmonton or a more northern region, you’ll feel comfortable even in extreme cold. Heating bills in an energy-efficient house are lower than in other buildings, which is also very important.

It is believed that the house built on the site is of higher quality, which is why it is so popular. However, we think that factory-built houses are not inferior in this component.  Factory production techniques can be divided into three types:

·         Construction with partial use of factory components.

·         Construction of modular houses.

·         Installation of a fully finished factory house on the site.

In the first case, they bring a specific list of parts to the site, which are subsequently assembled into a single structure. These can be door and window frames, ceilings, roofing, floor joists, etc. This technology is of the mixed type.

In case of modular construction, panels of a certain width and length are produced at the factory, then delivered to the site and installed on an existing foundation with a crane. This method is fast and inexpensive, and allows you to build a house of various sizes and configurations. The technology is also used for high-rise construction.

The ready-made house is completed at the factory. It comes with electrics, plumbing, and even cabinets and other furniture at times. The building is mounted on a fixed steel chassis and delivered to the site with the foundation already prepared. After the installation, they wire up the house and get it ready for use. In such homes, they often install Ecoline windows from Edmonton, which are said to be highly energy-efficient. The main drawback is the lack of individuality: all buildings look generic. But it’s fast, convenient and cheap.

What kind of materials are used?

Frame production in Canada most often uses wood, and as for cladding – they use siding of various kinds. Why is wood so popular? It has several advantages over other materials:

·         Low cost: it is cheaper than other materials, even metal. So, with frame technology, such a house comes out cheaper than others.

·         Low weight: wood is a lightweight material, which helps save on foundation production.

·         Quality thermal characteristics: in a wooden house, no cold bridges are created; it takes less energy to heat it.

·         Eco-friendliness: it is a natural material, harmless to people.

Besides, the wooden frame is perfectly suited for cladding with siding or facade brick, and it allows you to build houses without limiting your imagination. Building houses from other materials, such as stone or brick, costs more and takes longer, so they are less popular. Although there are advantages (appearance, durability, etc.) in using them as well.

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