Durability of Materials and Structures

The 500,000 square foot Butler Bros. Wood Building has been standing for over 100 years and is still in use today. 
Photo: Preservation Alliance of Minnesota

Improperly detailed masonry and concrete may spall or crack, steel may rust, and wood may deteriorate. In each case, this compromises the integrity of a building and reduces its life expectancy. Used properly, all of these materials are inherently durable and can endure for decades or even centuries.
Designers can get maximum performance and service life out of every building material when taking the necessary steps. The most ancient wood buildings still in existence include eighth-century Japanese temples, 11th-century Norwegian stave churches, and the many medieval post-and-beam structures of England and Europe. These buildings endure partly because of their cultural significance, and partly because they were built and maintained to last.
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