Over the last 15 years we used pretty much every construction material available in Costa Rica.  We found out that especially in our tropical climate every material has advantages and disadvantages so there is simply no best material. Below you will find a short discussion of pros and cons of each material.

Cinder Block

Pros:

  • Local Crews know how to use it

Cons:

  • Very heavy material
  • Low Insulation compared to SIP panels
  • Time and Labour Extensive
  • The material is cost effective but very labour intensive so in the end the total cost is higher than most others
  • Pluming and Electric labour intensive

Poured Re-enforced Concrete

Pros:

  • Very Strong but also very heavy – good for foundations, slabs, foundation walls and swimming pools

Cons:

  • Very heavy material
  • Time and Labour Extensive
  • Very Expensive in Material and Labour

SIP Panel Construction

Pros

  • Lightweight for Earthquakes
  • Very fast and efficient Construction method
  • Panels can be prefabricated or prepared in the shop
  • Very good insulation which is very important for air conditioned houses

Cons:

  • Connections between panels have to be treated properly to avoid cracks

Tropical Hardwood Timber Frames (Read more …)

Pros

  • Lightweight for Earthquakes
  • Very fast and efficient Construction method
  • Frames can be prefabricated or prepared in the shop
  • Green Renewable Resource

Cons:

  • Expensive material

Treated Pine Timber Frames

Pros

  • Very Inexpensive
  • Lightweight for Earthquakes
  • Very fast and efficient construction method
  • Frames can be prefabricated or prepared in the shop
  • Green Renewable Resource

Stick Frame Construction (Read More …)

Pros

  • Very Inexpensive
  • Lightweight for Earthquakes
  • Very fast and efficient construction method
  • Green Renewable Resource

Light Steel Construction

Pros

  • Very Inexpensive
  • Lightweight for Earthquakes
  • Very fast and efficient construction method

Cons:

  • Major rust problems especially with local thin material close to the coast
  • Labour intensive since everything has to be prepared at the site and welded onsite

Load Bearing Black Steel

Pros

  • Lightweight and strong for Earthquakes

Cons:

  • Connections between beams have to be properly engineered or welded onsite
  • Depending on thickness of the steel and paint job less problems with rust than galvanized local perlings