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Steel frames have become increasingly popular over many years and are now the preferred option for most builders. Builders prefer to use them more than conventional framing materials for many reasons.
There are many benefits to enjoy from a steel frame house, and after reading about these benefits, you may be wondering why people still use timber frames. This article will take you through the different advantages of a steel frame house. Let’s jump right into it.
Benefits of Steel Framed Houses
Straighter and stronger
Building your house from timber can subject it to warping or flexing after a few years. However, with steel, you get a straighter finish thanks to its weight-to-strength ratio, which is higher than that of other building materials.
Basically, a warped timber frame home will have its plaster ripple with time. With further expansion and moisture, the nails in the walls could start to pop out. With steel, it’s a lot different, as it won’t swell or warp along walls, roofs, and ceilings. This implies that there won’t be plasterboard cracking.
Another interesting thing to note is that steel doesn’t deteriorate like timber. This quality allows it to prevent structural failures in your building. In addition, it’s easier for steel frame homes to withstand wind and storm damage compared to wooden frames.
Another fantastic quality of steel frame homes is their fire-resistant nature. Timber-framed homes are highly vulnerable to extreme heat and fire, which can be hazardous. Steel is a non-combustible material and won’t be fuel for a fire.
On the other hand, timber will speed up the spread of fire and cause further damage. Some timber framed woods have an impressive fire rating. However, these frames are still prone to time-determined degradation.
On the other hand, steel always remains the same, even after a very long time. With a steel-framed home, you won’t need to be worried about lightning or fire. This is because the steel will act as a positive earth for energy transfer into the ground.
One of the main problems that many people face in their homes is termite infestation. This silent killer is not easily detected, and it can eat deep into your home, causing damage you are unaware of until it’s too late.
Houses that are prone to termite infestation are mostly those made from timber. However, it’s important to note that timber can be treated to make it resistant to termites, but this involves using chemicals and toxins that lose their potency with time.
With a steel-framed house, you won’t need to worry about termite infestation, and this is because they are 100% borer and termite-proof. With steel framing, you have a guarantee for a lifetime that termites won’t destroy your home. Also, you won’t need to use the harsh chemicals and toxins used for timber.
Statistics show that more than 22 pine trees are converted into logs to make enough timber for a timber-framed house. With steel frames, there’s no need for any form of deforestation at all, which reduces carbon emissions and further purifies the atmosphere. Another fantastic thing about steel is that it’s recyclable.
With steel-framed housing, you can cut costs during the process of raising the structure and even for many years afterward. Timber is generally cheaper, but steel is easier and lighter to carry and assemble, which can significantly cut building costs. Another thing to consider is that steel frames possess fire-resistant properties and can last a lifetime.
Other Materials Used for Building Frames
In addition to steel, timber is also an option for building frames, although many consider it old-fashioned. However, timber is a good resource that can be used in constructing frames for buildings. Timber is among the few building materials of natural origins.
Some key things to note about it are that timber framing is non-toxic, meaning it’s safe to touch and won’t leak chemicals. Another good thing is that it’s easy to source timber, which saves time and increases construction efficiency. Nonetheless, steel remains superior to timber when it comes to building frames.
How Long Have Steel Framed Houses Been in Use?
For most homes in Australia, many believe light gauge steel frame constructed homes are still a new concept applied in modern buildings. However, many Australian homes have used them as the primary building material for more than 50 years. Going down memory lane, light gauge steel was used in the construction industry long before the 20th century.
One of the earliest applications of light gauge steel was as a material for constructing train stations. The use of light gauge steel then expanded to churches and other buildings after this. Following the second world war, there was a widespread shortage of building materials like timber, which resulted in the development of steel wall framing.
Steel wall framing gained wide application in the construction of more than 300 houses. There was a real boom in light gauge steel frame housing in Australia during the 1960s. By 1968, the era of light gauge steel-framed homes came, with different buildings using more than 1.2 million kilograms of galvanised steel within Sydney alone.
Light gauge steel has been used for centuries. Today, it is used in almost every building, and you can see it everywhere. Computer and technological advancement has also helped fabricate steel frames for homes to become versatile and cost-effective.
The progression of steel framing benefits
As mentioned earlier, steel has long been used for many years now, and it has experienced a massive boom in recent years. This is because builders and homeowners enjoy the advantages of steel-framed homes.
We have already highlighted some of these advantages above, and for emphasis, other benefits include:
- It is versatile and creative and allows for flexible designs in homes.
- Steel is cyclone strong, and it meets different compliance and regulatory requirements.
- It is relatively environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable. Also, steel is chemical-free, and you won’t need to add pesticides and a range of chemicals to it.
- Steel-framed homes are energy efficient. Unlike homes made from brick or timber, steel-framed homes are stable regarding thermal regulation. They are generally warmer in winter and cooler in summer, implying that you won’t spend so much on cooling and heating systems.
- With steel frames, you won’t need to spend so much on maintenance as they are essentially maintenance-free.
Erecting a structural steelwork involves assembling steel components into a frame. This is achieved by lifting and placing the various parts before connecting them together. Site welding and bolting are also used during this process.
Disadvantages of Steel Framed Homes
While we can’t deny that steel framing has several advantages, as highlighted above, it’s also important to note the disadvantages of steel-framed homes. Because of the raw materials used for its manufacture, steel is generally more expensive. Also, steel is labour-intensive, and people typically charge more to use steel than timber.
Therefore, the cost of a steel frame home will generally be higher than that of a wood frame house. Another thing to note is the high energy that is used to produce steel. While steel is recyclable, the high energy use is not a sustainable procedure and leaves a different negative impact on the environment.
Today, the steel industry is responsible for much of the pollution on the planet. Steel mills are known for their high carbon footprint at every step of the process of producing steel. The use of steel frames in coastal environments is risky.
This is because steel is corrosive, and combining it with water, sand, and wind can negatively affect the steel material. However, these negative impacts can be easily handled by performing regular building inspections.
Steel Frame Houses for The Win
Steel framed housing has its pros and cons. But, generally, a steel frame home is often the strongest and safest option for homeowners. If you want to get your home or other property steel framed, be sure to work with a professional steel fabricator to get the best results that align with your home design.