Difference between Concrete Prefab, Steel Prefab and Wood Prefab

on September 4, 2014

Increase in the dwelling demands and prices of land has led to the increase in prices over the past few years. Property prices have reached to inflated levels even above the real value of a house in certain areas. However, so far the prices are still the same and will remain the same if not increase as the property sellers are unwilling to pull the prices to normal values

People nowadays with limited budgets are unable to afford to buy a house and most of them are renting instead of buying. Other building types that are widely used in different countries began to attract our attention and they come in the form of prefabricated houses and they bring along a series of advantages such as fast production, price advantages, being detached, safe, etc.

Prefabricated houses are of three different kinds, concrete prefab, steel prefab and wood prefab.

We are going to talk about the differences between concrete prefab, steel prefab and wood prefab

Durability and maintenance:

Concrete is durable and maintenance free and can last for a period of more than 100 years. Concrete prefabricated houses produced 50 years ago are still standing so far and one example is the prefab boxes that were produced my Mega prefab in 1987 for the Lebanese army and are still being used till now. In addition to that, concrete boxes are more resistant to hurricanes and earthquakes. Steel prefab on the other hand requires maintenance as it is well known that steel starts corroding when in contact with oxygen and humidity. If a steel frame is next to the sea or then it will corrode at a faster rate thus needing a repaint and panels replaced every few years. Wood is a material that requires more maintenance than concrete and steel as it is susceptible to many elements such as rot and decay due to moisture, and to infestations of termites. It requires paint and maintenance on a yearly basis and provides little or no protection against hurricanes, floods or even high winds.

Comfort & Well:

Concrete prefab is sound proof as the ground slab is stiff enough to eliminate sound or avoid transmitting noise thus providing a comfort within the house away from the noises outside.

In steel constructions, the walls are so thin and light that is provides inadequate sound insulation. Walking on the ground slab is always noisy and transmits vibrations.

Wood has to be treated for sound insulation, adding cost and work to its already costly structure. Wood floors creak and make loud sounds when walked upon, wood suppliers would generally add concrete slab on grade to get rid of the problem on the ground floor.


It is a known fact that it is harder to break into a house made of concrete instead of a house made of wood or thin steel panels. Taking into consideration that all houses contain a thick door made of steel, a concrete house requires hammers and lots of materials to break in, and while a steel house needs a steel blade saw to cut a hole in a wall and same for a wood house.

Fire weapon resistance:

The concrete walls and ceilings of the Mega Box are bullet proof because the reinforced high strength compressive concrete (B35). Bullets from a light automatic personal weapon at a distance of 20cm will not penetrate trough the walls. The Mega Box will resist the blast of a grenade or rocket grenade (RPG) if not directly hit. The steel portacab is not bullet proof or blast proof. A hand grenade exploding in the proximity will deform it and make unusable. Bullets penetrate in wood houses with ease unless big logs are used. Hand grenades will damage the house beyond repair and will probably set it on fire if it explodes in its proximity.


Each module weighs 18 Tons, and its mobility is exceptional. It is highly robust and stiff to be displaced to other locations without structural damage. The steel portacab weighs only 2T, removing it more than once will deteriorate it because of its flexible and weak frame structure. Wood houses are not mobile, as in they have to be completely disassembled including all electrical and mechanical work. In many area’s they are not considered to be prefab and will require a construction permit.