Not every commercial building is framed in steel or concrete. As a matter of fact, more and more architects who work with those who are planning a commercial build are recommending they consider wood framing for a number of reasons, especially if the structure is small or mid-sized. But even those building larger structures like shopping centers, medical centers, senior living communities, and even buildings on college campuses are considering commercial wood framing options.

Of course, every kind of structure has its own advantages and characteristics. Concrete, for example, has long been lauded for its durability, and proponents of using concrete for commercial framing say that it’s a material that helps to regulate the interior temperature of the structure. Steel is all about speed and efficiency as well as ease of construction. Steel framing can be completed with a smaller workforce than concrete framing simply because it’s lighter. It also gets fairly high grades for durability.

Individuals who aren’t in the building industry would therefore argue that steel or concrete should be logical choices for commercial builds. But to discount the advantages of commercial wood framing would be a huge mistake. Here’s why.

Flexibility in design

Consider the variety of lumber products available as well as their various dimensions, and it’s easy to understand the excellent flexibility in architectural design available when using wood. This makes both clients and architects happy and allows for last-minute alterations, when necessary, with little fuss or added expense. In addition, wood is much lighter than either concrete or steel and, as such, it’s very adaptable on site and requires a smaller workforce.


The average person probably thinks there’s no comparison between the durability of wood and that of steel or concrete. The fact is, however, that wood is very durable, especially it is treated before use so that it stands up to the elements. In addition, the so-called “compressive strength” of wood is pretty much equal to that of concrete. Compressive strength refers to is the capacity of a material or structure to withstand loads tending to reduce its size. It’s key to the integrity of the structure in question.

Environmental impact

Numerous studies show that wood has the least amount of impact on the environment when compared to both steel and concrete. By far, it releases less contaminants into the air and water than does steel or concrete, and when harvested from a sustainably-managed forest certainly uses fewer natural resources than either of the other materials.

This is certainly a feather in the cap of any company that wants to promote the fact that they care about the world around them. By using a renewable material like wood, they’ve shown a commitment to utilizing ecofriendly materials and send a message to the community-at-large that they aren’t just considering the bottom line when building new structures or adding to existing ones.

Energy efficiency

Inorganic materials such as concrete and steel are not natural insulators, but wood is! Because they have very low insulation values, concrete and steel buildings are usually colder since it’s easier for heat to escape. That means higher heating and air conditioning bills when compared to similar structures of the same size but framed with wood.

Cost efficiency

Comparisons of steel vs wood framing prices almost always show that wood is the better value. Some will argue, however, that wood buildings have shorter lifespans, but – again – comparisons have shown that there aren’t significant differences. While wood may rot if not pre-treated properly, steel can rust, causing significant structural issues as well.

In addition, wood can easily accommodate pre-fabricated elements and a wood structure is much easier to remodel than a steel or concrete framed building. That’s another money saver should you need to make changes or additions in the coming years. It’ll also save the precious time that would be spent trying to modify a steel or concrete structure, and that’s important because, for most businesses, time is money.


Not convinced yet? Want to know a little bit more about your framing options? Let the experts at Core Contracting Inc. offer you some insight into commercial wood framing and show you examples of the sturdy, cost-effective structures we’ve built throughout our years of business.

For more information or to discuss an upcoming project, call us at 760-683-8308.