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re: "antiquated" floor systems

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Mathew,
I thought the same thing that Julio said when I saw one of your articles on those types of floor systems. My ex was from Spain and her dad is an architect and contractor. I was lucky to go there many times (Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands), and they use this system almost exclusively in every home. They also use peculiar though impressive things such as large pad footings, pre-fab rebar columns, and reinforced concrete beams- in HOUSES...

Several reasons that I could come up with. First, wood and steel are imported and the former used mostly as decoration in balconies and doors. However, they sit on quite a pile of volcanic rock. Second, they go multi-story due to land value and the cost of building in mountainous terrain, so a good floor system is imperative. Finally, you get a great, stiff floor for all that Spanish tile, and they are very quiet except for hard objects or certain shoes falling on the tile floors above.

Incidentally, through his travels to the US, my padrino has been impressed with commercial construction. However, he thinks some US houses are quite beautiful but the construction quality is poor for such a rich country. Especially here in Florida, where we are obviously in a hurricane-prone region, he cannot understand (outside of economics) why we use so much wood...

Andrew Kester, PE

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