Are 3D Printed Houses Hurricane Proof?


While some people have predicted how the world will shape a hundred years from now, others predict how homes will look like 50-100 years from now. Whenever 3D printed houses come up, many would ask about the safety of 3D printed houses in adverse weather conditions.

One might ask, are 3D Printed houses hurricane proof? Yes, 3D printed houses are hurricane and waterproof like any other house in a similar situation.

However, what exactly is a composite 3D printed home? We shall have a look at both the negative and positive aspects of 3D printed homes and their future possibilities.

To learn more about the safety of 3D printed houses, do check out our articles on Are 3D printed houses fireproof? and Is a 3D Printed Home Structurally Safe?

3D Printing Is Here To Stay
3D Printed Houses in a Hurricane

Can 3D Printed and Composite Homes Help Us Survive Climate Change?

We have been made to believe that plastics are bad and are not environmentally friendly. Some believe that plastics are not very strong or are not aesthetically pleasing. However, it is time to build 3D printed, composite houses!

Here are some of the 10 key reasons why 3D printed composite homes are the future and why they could be a vital part of how they can help us survive with the impacts of climate change.

  1. 3D printed composites can be made much stronger than metals. Modern race cars, airplanes, boats, bullet-proof vests, motorcycles, bikes, among others are increasingly built using composites (such as Kevlar or carbon fiber).
  2. Composites can be designed uniquely to withstand tremors (earthquakes), impacts (debris), and sustained force (hurricanes).  You can build strong structures capable of withstanding very strong winds, floating in floods and even cheaply and easily movable.  For more on this, check out our post Will 3d Printed Houses Stand the Test of Time? Durability/ Strength/ Sustainability !
  3. Current 3D printing techniques enables any design to be made virtually using composites. Once the design has been built, you can save the ‘’molds’’ in software to print more again and again without having to re-do the entire design.
  4. Composites are waterproof and mold/mildew resistant.
  5. Unlike other methods, composites will not lose strength in curves. It gives you an opportunity to build more aesthetically beautiful designs without paying any penalty. Curved exterior shapes, large open rooms, and curved staircases are all plausible
  6. Composite homes are truly modular. A house can be loads of total pieces, instead of thousands of houses today. This allows them to be easily constructed on site, upgraded, and even moved.
  7. Composites require less energy to produce compared to wood construction. Constructing a wood house requires burning the fossils fuels of composite homes construction many times. Composite homes are more stable, require less foundation work and weigh less. This further reduces energy consumption required during construction. You can recycle composite homes nearly 100% into anything.
  8. You can build electrical, HVAC, plumbing and other services right into the structure to reduce the time taken and cost of construction. Composite homes are more fire-resistant compared to other conventional construction.
  9. Composite homes are extremely energy efficient. The materials used for composite construction are naturally poor heat conductors (good insulators) and airtight. 3D printing in a controlled environment gives more opportunities for increased heat exchange optimizations and insulation.
  10. The cost of producing composite homes can be 1/10th of the cost needed to construct conventional homes. They are a solution to environmentally sustainable, safe, and affordable housing for those in the bottom pyramid in the developing world.

On another note, check out our article on 3D Print Swimming Pools! Also find out if 3D Printed Houses Can Have Basements?

Advantages and disadvantages of composite homes – How is it changing the industry?

Advantages of 3D printed homes

When people began talking about applying 3D printing technology in the housing industry, after most industries had already adopted this technology, they realized how vital and profitable it can be. The resulting benefits of 3D technology in real estate made it look like it was invented specifically for this industry.

  1. Relatively low-cost- 3D technology in housing reduces cost in many ways. It eliminates labor cost almost entirely, since you don’t need to hire laborers for construction. It is now possible for low-earning individuals to think about constructing houses at relatively low cost compared to traditional construction methods.
  2. Saves time – 3D technology enables you to build homes directly from the digital designs. This makes the process of home construction error-free and rapid. Using 3D technology, it is possible to build a home which would take months using traditional methods in just one day. Most countries like the USA, China and Russia are today using 3D printing technology in construction industry.
  3. Infinite design possibilities- Apart from saving time and lower construction cost, 3D printing technology brings about another key possibility of infinite designs. The old construction poses some design limitations. However, 3D printing technology does not have these limitations when it comes to design. 3D technology is helping architects come up with unlimited creative and unique home designs.

Disadvantages of 3D printed homes

While there are many advantages of using 3D technology in the construction industry, the technology is new with a few challenges here and there. Some of these challenges include:

  1. Challenges with finding raw construction materials – Finding quality raw construction materials has been a challenge ever since 3D printing technology was invented. The construction materials used in 3D printing technology are not the same as those used in traditional construction. Most 3D printers use specific materials that are not easily available. This means that you may not use raw material used on one printer on another printer.
  2. Negative impact on manpower – Most construction jobs are already automated with this age of digitization. With the 3D printing technology, there is a big impact on the housing industry and manpower. The demand for skilled manpower has reduced, leaving these skilled laborers in a jeopardized state. 3D printing technology will also threaten the livelihood of individuals supplying construction equipment and materials. All these in return also have a negative impact on the country’s economy.
  3. Moving and safely operating the 3D printer on-site can be a challenge and requires specialized skills.
  4. Although the 3D printing process is very fast, the rest of the work and aspects makes it slow. This may make it take longer to complete than planned.
  5. There are risks involved during construction since 3D printers will print everything on the design or model all at once, and it is difficult to correct any error once the model is printed. 

However, even with these few challenges that come with 3D printing technology, we cannot deny all the great benefits that come with this great technology within the construction industry.

Hurricane and rain effects in 3D printed buildings

Precautions that need to be taken against climate effects on 3D printed houses

With the fascination that comes with 3D printed homes, one of the questions that come in is ‘’are 3D printed houses safe?’’ 3D printed houses are similar to the traditionally constructed concrete and wooden houses in a vast range of ways. Concrete material is thorough and has been deployed in the construction industry for decades. Concrete walls have proved to be much safer than other common building materials known in the industry. It is still a perfect building material for many modern structures to date.

Just like any other structure, 3D printed homes must meet the local government laws and regulations. 3D printed houses must be up to the code of regulations set; hence safety is always a top priority. 3D printed houses are structurally sound.

Comparison between other building materials such as concrete and wood

One of the key benefits that 3D printing technology has presented to construction workers as compared to concrete and wood may be a reduction in site injuries. Considering that building a house using concrete or wood is difficult and poses more danger, this may be a welcome development. With 3D technology, workers have a smarter time performing their job with less worker’s compensation paperwork.

Wooden material has been in use in homes construction for decades now. However, it is weaker compared to concrete mixes and is easily damaged. Both concrete and wooden concrete constructed houses are completely legal and safe when done properly. However, concrete houses are not vulnerable to certain elements like wood. For instance, concrete homes are more resistant to pests and fire compared to wooden and 3D printed homes.

While wood structures are susceptible over time, concrete structures are much more resistant to aging issues such as molds.

As for costs comparison, you can see for yourself in How much does a 3D printed house cost? and How Long Do 3D Printed Homes Last? Materials Used, Durability & Lifespan

3D printed houses are also strong and durable, however, they are not the modern-day rejoinder to a bunker. Between a special pre-engineered truss system and the concrete, a 3D constructed house is safe enough to withstand additional force. You can trust your 3D printed concrete structure to withstand:

  • High speed winds
  • Droughts and floods
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Fires
  • Earthquakes

For more on Earthquakes and 3d printed structures, check out our post titled “Can 3D Printed House Withstand Earthquakes? Design and Foundation Limitations

Moving Forward

Like many other invented technologies, we are just picking up with 3D printing technology, especially using a high-tech composite. Very few examples of 3D printed structures have been built to scale. However, it looks like all the technology pieces have been put in place to support this approach within the construction industry to be better, cheaper, and faster than the conventional construction methods. The industry is quickly turning to 3D printing technology than expected and very soon most construction firms will have to embrace this great technology!

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