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Pros and Cons of Concrete Drywall in Hurricane Country

Pros and Cons of Concrete Drywall in Hurricane Country

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Whether you are considering building a home or rebuilding because of damage from a hurricane or other disaster, it’s time to think about using concrete drywall. For many storm victims, if the Sheetrock survived the storm and did not have to be removed because it was blown down or soaked, repairing the structure would have been much easier. If you are rebuilding after a disaster, however, be sure to check with your insurance company before deciding on concrete walls because they could be considered an improvement and may not be covered by insurance. In any event, there are a number of pros and cons connected with concrete drywall to consider.

What is concrete drywall? Instead of using Sheetrock to create the walls in a home, concrete walls are used. There are several different ways to build concrete walls. Some builders favor precast concrete block construction in which the concrete is put together offsite. Others prefer poured concrete together with steel framing, which helps to strengthen the concrete.

Advantages of concrete drywall. Strength is one of the greatest benefits of concrete. According to industry testing, concrete drywall can withstand winds up to 250 mph, capable of standing up to some of the most powerful tornadoes. Concrete also stands up well to water, even if exposed to water for a considerable period of time. While concrete drywall is often chosen because it can withstand the winds and water from a hurricane, there are other important benefits as well. Concrete cannot be digested by termites. This is particularly important because many coastal areas of the U.S. that are at risk for hurricanes also have problems with termites. The strength of concrete has long been recognized by experts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that concrete be used to create safe rooms to protect against tornadoes. In addition, concrete provides additional protection in the event of a fire and offers much greater sound protection. Finally, many insurance companies are now offering discounts for homes built with concrete drywall.

Disadvantages of concrete drywall. The main negative associated with concrete walls in a home is the cost. It’s possible for the walls to be two to three times more expensive than traditional Sheetrock, according to published reports. It also can be more difficult to find a builder with concrete expertise to help with the aesthetic appeal of the final product. Experts say that in some areas with high water tables, seepage can be a problem in basements and may require additional drainage along with interior waterproofing.

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