What Factors Make Steel Frame Houses More Reliable Than Other Types of Construction?
When it comes to framing a home, most properties are built using wood. Wood framing has been the traditional method for home construction. However, in recent years, steel frames have become not only more affordable than ever before, but steel presents a number of advantages over wood. If you’re considering building your dream home from the ground up, or you’re looking around at current properties and have come across several with steel frames, it is imperative to understand the perks of a steel frame.
What Are Some Popular Steel Frame Houses Available?
Shipping container homes made a big splash in the United States when the design method first reached the U.S. Shipping container homes used the framing of the steel cargo containers as the basis of the home and then the rest of the home was built out from the frame. While there are some impressive shipping container home designs, the very nature of relying on these containers is limiting. It also comes with some issues (such as knowing what the shipping containers held prior to being used for possible home construction. Many shipping containers from China have held toxic waste, and converting these into home use is not desirable).
Residential steel framing takes this to the next level. While it uses steel, the same as the popular shipping container design, fabricating a home from steel frames makes it possible to design a frame no different from a wood frame. There can be curved elements within the home design, as well as taller floor segments.
Just about every industrial, warehouse, and medium to high-rise building uses a steel frame. If you were to hop into your car and drive past a manufacturing building, it will have been made using a steel frame. Any residential building you drive past that’s several stories tall will also be made from a steel frame, thanks to its ability to support more weight.
What Benefits Do You Get with a Steel Frame House?
One of the biggest selling points of a steel frame house is its durability. Wood simply can’t stand up to how strong and durable steel is. There’s a reason why high-rises are made using steel. Steel can handle high winds and just about any other condition tossed in its direction. It makes it the perfect framing material when facing hurricanes or in earthquake-prone locations.
Next, residential steel framing is fire resistant. Property fires can be catastrophic, and when a house is built using a wood frame it can spread fires throughout the house. A steel frame helps reduce this kind of problem. Furthermore, steel is less likely to become damaged by other outside sources, like water leaks and pests. Discovering termites in a house is never good, and even when termites are found early it still may mean large sections of the house will need to be replaced. Leaks in a home, whether it be due to cracks in the roof or from a leaking pipe, can cause wood to become waterlogged and break apart. It also causes mold development. None of these problems plague steel.
When building a home, the framing portion of the construction often takes up the majority of time. Making sure every angle is level and properly attached requires patience. It’s why when you drive by a house it may seem like it takes months for the frame to go up, and then the rest of the house is put together in a matter of days. The reality is this isn’t far from the truth. It takes a long time to frame a wood house, because everything else inside the house depends on it. With residential steel framing, most of the framing can be built and assembled off-site. This means large, heavy equipment isn’t needed to erect the frame. It’s also easy to assemble and reduces build time. By saving construction time, you can finish your home build faster, which in turn allows you to move in quicker.
On top of all of this, steel is environmentally friendly. Wood requires cutting down trees, and even if the trees are replanted, the amount of wood that goes into a traditional house can be staggering. Steel not only helps skip over this concern, but it can also be recycled. Should your house ever need to be raised or torn down, all of the steel framing can be recycled.
Protection in all Types of Climatic Weather Conditions
Steel will stand up to all weather conditions. If a hurricane roared up the coast, what kind of house would you rather be in? A steel framed or a wood framed home? Yes, a steel framed house is more structurally sound and can hold up against the winds of a hurricane and tornado. If there’s a drought and house fires start to become a more common occurrence, a steel-framed house would not suffer the same fate as wooden houses, because there wouldn’t be any dry wood within the framing, waiting to catch ablaze.
Ease of Construction and Time-Efficient
Because wood framing takes so long, and everything else within the house depends on the completion of the frame, the early portion of any home construction can drag on. That is not the case with residential steel framing. Because much of the framing is built off-site and then easily assembled on the premises, it will take fewer days (if not fewer weeks) to complete the framing process. This means the rest of the house can be worked on sooner.
When it doesn’t take as long for a house to be built, it not only means you can move in sooner, but it means there are fewer worker hours put into the construction. Fewer worker hours means construction costs will go down. This is especially important now, because the cost of wood has skyrocketed in recent months. The average cost of wood over the past year is more expensive than it has ever been. While the price point is slowly dropping, it will take years for the cost of wood to recover, and it may never go back to what it cost per-foot prior to COVID. That’s not the case though with steel.
Steel Frame Houses are Fire-Resistant
The fewer items you have in your house that can catch on fire (and spread that fire) the better. Even when homes have used fire-resistant insulation and wall materials, if the frame is made from wood it will always be susceptible to a fire. Whether it is from a Christmas tree or a dry spell moving through the region, a house with a wood frame is far more likely to catch fire than a steel frame house. In fact, when combined with fire-resistant insulation and wall materials, such a house is as close to fire-proof as a build can be.
Cheaper and Eco-Friendly
With the skyrocketing price of wood, steel framing is now more affordable than ever before. One of the reasons many home builders have not turned to residential steel framing has been because wood was simply cheaper. It was the major ceiling point for former home builders. That, however, is no longer the case. Because wood has increased in cost and steel has become less expensive, it now makes financial sense to have a home built using steel instead of wood.
From the build material costing less to the reduced man-hours, which drops the cost it takes to build a new home, there’s never been a better, more affordable time to invest in a home with a steel frame than today.
On top of all this, steel is now more eco-friendly. A wood framed home is so much more than dead trees. There is a considerable carbon footprint that goes along with cutting down and preparing wood. It takes high-powered, gas-guzzling machines to cut down the trees. The trees must then be transported using large trucks. When the trees arrive at a processing facility, it takes further gasoline (which produces more carbon monoxide) to strip the trees, cut the trees in the desired length, and to prep the wood. And then, from there, the wood must be transported to a hardware store, before it is transported again to the construction site.
As you can see, that’s a considerable amount of movement, which means a large amount of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. With a steel frame, the steel is produced locally, and then transported to an assembly site before being moved to your property. That cuts down excessive transportation needs, not to mention no trees need to be cut down in order to produce the steel frame.
Take Advantage of Residential Steel Framing
If you’re looking into building a new home from the ground up, you owe it to yourself to consider all viable construction methods. While traditional homes have long been framed using wood, steel is now a viable alternative. In fact, it comes with numerous benefits and few drawbacks. From assisting in fire-proofing your home to reducing construction time while also helping you save money, there’s never been a better time to look toward steel framing than now. So, if you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of residential steel framing, or if you want to move forward with the design process, Coastal Steel Structures is here and ready to assist. Contact the expert team of residential steel framing today.
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