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The Pros and Cons of Steel Frame Construction

Instead of buying a new home, the idea is to build your own.

You’ve got a plan in mind. Now all you need is the materials to bring the entire project together.

image - The Pros and Cons of Steel Frame Construction
The Pros and Cons of Steel Frame Construction

The most common building materials are timber and steel frames. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages, but for the sake of this article, we’ll only be going over steel frame construction.

Steel frames are durable and fire-resistant, but does that makeup for the fact that they aren’t too energy-efficient and can rust? Keep reading to learn the answer and find out if the steel is right for you.

Pros

First, let’s go over what sets steel frame buildings apart from timber frame ones. Steel is more durable and if a fire breaks out, it won’t add any kindling.

That’s not the only advantage of a steel frame home.

Durability

Steel thickness is what makes it so durable. Even the heftiest material is lighter than heavy wooden beams, though.

For being light as it is, it can withstand earthquakes, rain, wind, and pretty much any other natural disaster that you throw its way.

There aren’t many things out there that can make the material warp or buckle. It’s resistant to many things that will weaken or even destroy wood, but we’ll get into that a little bit later.


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Customization

You won’t be able to customize your steel beams on the construction site. That has to get done beforehand. What you can do is customize your order.

The studs are available in several different shapes and sizes. That means they can be customized to handle the weight and shape of any type of building.

Fire Resistant

If a fire breaks out, the steel might warp a little. What it won’t do is add more kindling to the fire. This will slow it down and reduce the amount of structural damage it does to the building.

If you are worried about your frame buckling under the flames, you can add a special flame-retardant coating to make it even more resistant.

It Won’t Hold in Moisture

The problem with timber is that it holds in moisture. After a while, this can cause rot, which leads to structural damage. Steel doesn’t hold in moisture.

Resistant to Pests

Termites will burrow their way into the timber and eat away at it until the foundation becomes unstable.

You’ll have to treat the wood to ensure this doesn’t happen or call someone to take care of the pests before things get too out of hand.

It’s a lot of extra trouble that you don’t have to bother with if your home has a steel frame. Metal isn’t exactly appetizing to most bugs and they won’t be able to burrow in it.

Cost-Efficient

As you can imagine, all of the things above make steel the much more cost-efficient option. Since you’ll never run into insects or rot, you won’t have to pay for repairs too often.

You will have to keep it painted to keep corrosion away, but that’s about as much maintenance as you’ll have to perform.

Your insurance company might also be willing to give you a discount because steel can stand up to natural disasters. You’re less expensive to insure.

We will say that the materials and installation will cost you a pretty penny. After that though, your wallet can breathe easily.

Cons

Now that you know why you should opt for steel frame construction, let’s talk about why you might want to reconsider your choice. It’s not that energy-efficient and it can rust.

There’s not that much room for flexibility on the construction site. You’ll also have to call a professional to get the job done.

It’s an Energy Sink

So, there’s one other place where you might have to pay more money for steel. It’s not an energy-efficient material, so your power bill will make your jaw hit the floor.

It conducts heat and pulls the insulation out of your walls. Your home will stay cold and force you to keep the heat on 24/7. The good news is that there is a way to counter this problem.

You’ll have to invest in extra insulation materials. You can also space the studs further apart to take away some of the thermal connectivity problems.

There’s Not as Much Flexibility

Steel beams are both flexible and not flexible. You can customize your order to get whatever kind of beam you want. Not much can be done at the construction site, however.

If your steel beams end up being too long, they can’t be cut down to size. Timber is well, wood. It’s easy to cut with a saw so it can be shaped onsite if needed.

Rusting

Steel won’t rot away on you, but it can rust if you don’t take proper care of it. All it takes is for the material to get scratched or cut once. Soon after, the rust will creep in, which isn’t an easy fix.

You Have to Call a Professional

Construction with steel is not easy. It’s lighter than timber, but it takes a special hand to be able to work with it. You’ve got to have certain tools and a specific skill set to pull it off.

It might be hard for you to find a contractor to take on the job because of this. That training and equipment don’t come cheap.

Is Steel Frame Construction Right for You?

Steel frame construction is a great option for homeowners who are after durability. Once everything is put together, it’s also cost-efficient.

That doesn’t mean that steel is all sunshine and roses. It’s prone to rust and you have to call in a professional to get the job done. Is the small amount of hassle worth the end rewards to you?

Once you get your home built, it’s time to begin the designing process. Check out our blog for a few ideas on how to get started.


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