Building your dream home? You’ll need to decide whether steel or timber frame houses are best for your situation. Both steel and timber framed houses have pros and cons. We’ve put together this list to help you consider your options.
As the backbone of a building, the frame must be safe and secure. There are questions to ask about both steel and timber framed houses have pros and cons, including longevity, budget, construction flexibility and environmental sustainability. For example, homes with steel frames tend to allow for less movement, while timber frame houses are more malleable. Both options are more suitable to specific environments and this is a factor you’ll need to consider when making your final decision.
Timber Framed Houses (pros and cons)
What are the disadvantages of timber frame houses?
Because timber is a natural cellulose matter milled with all its natural imperfections and weaknesses, timber does come with some natural weaknesses. Timber is receptive to damage in terms of both internal surface stress fractures and termite infestations. Both of which are very expensive to correct. Here at Trueform Frames and Trusses, we have effective solutions for all of these issues. Nevertheless, when it comes to building with either steel or a timber framed house, pros and cons of both options need to be considered.
Ensure you discuss labour costs with your builder and have a realistic estimation of this. Trueform Frames are constructed largely offsite, which makes them quick and simple to erect, cutting down on what could otherwise be a hefty labour bill.
Timber is naturally more vulnerable to pests when left untreated. Trueform Frames are crafted from H2 termite proof treated pine, which comes with a 25-year guarantee against termites.
It should be noted that while timber is susceptible to termite infestations, using termite management products helps reduce the risk of infestation and the subsequent damage.
Timber which hasn’t been properly sealed can absorb moisture, causing movement and making the structure vulnerable to mould and fungi. Trueform Frames are well-sealed, avoiding these issues. Ventilators and dehumidifiers also help timber frame houses acclimatise in the first 2 years. 30-50% humidity is best and an annual check is all that is needed to ensure the health of your Trueform Frame.
Steel Frames (pros and cons)
What are the advantages of steel frame homes?
Steel frames are designed to be stronger and last longer, while also being more secure and completely termite proof. Riveted and bolted into place, steel frames provide a solid and sturdy frame for plasterboard. This works to eliminate cracked cornices and surface splitting problems associated with frame movement.
Steel is not only 100% recyclable, but also one of the most recycled materials on earth. The ability of steel frames to seal around door frames and windows also have added environmental benefits. The sealing around entrances can reduce the cost and environmental impact of running heating and cooling in the home.
As one of the most significant structural elements to a home, frames need to be properly installed. With this in mind, only highly experienced framing specialists are allowed to put together steel frame kit homes. This gives the homeowners the added reassurance that their house is safe to live in because it was properly constructed.
Known for its strength, steel provides a high strength-to-weight ratio which can allow for longer spans.
Steel framing is lighter than timber framing, which makes it easier to move around the construction site.
What are the disadvantages of steel frame houses?
The raw materials required with producing steel frames means that they are always quite expensive. Working with steel is more labour intensive than working with timber, which also increases the cost of a steel frame in both material and labour costs.
Negative environmental impact
Steel production is well known for its negative environmental impact, which means that steel frames are not an environmentally choice when it comes to building your dream home.
Steel is a conductor, so they become very dangerous, if live wires ever come into contact. This can be combatted with circuit breakers.
Steel frames are fireproof but can buckle under the intense heat, often resulting in sections of the frame requiring replacement. Because of the interlocking nature of steel frames, they’re much more difficult to replace than timber frames.
Corrosion and rust
Steel can rust and corrode, particularly in coastal environments where the combination of water, wind and sand can damage steel house frames. This means regular building inspections are required to keep an eye on any occurring damage.
Though galvanised during production, steel frames can rust, once it has been scratched, drilled or cut.
Homes constructed using steel frames can be harder to insulate and require a thermal break, to counteract steel’s tendency to heat up quickly. If this is neglected, warm steel can cause condensation, compromising the wall’s integrity.
What’s the Verdict? Steel or Timber Frame Houses?
As with most things, there are steel as well as timber framed house pros and cons. Both materials work well in particular environments, which means it’s important that you take all factors into consideration.