Although steel framed homes have been built in the past they are becoming more and more popular today. Traditionally, houses have been built with wood during the last few hundred years and old growth trees have provided good building materials. Today, with fewer old growth trees around and environmental concerns, the price of wood has increased while supplies have decreased. For years, we have come to rely on the strength and durability of steel in commercial buildings, hospitals and children’s schools. Now, steel is a feasible alternative building material for residential construction.
The reasons for using steel as a building material and method include the fact that it is:
- Creates a durable, safe and strong structure
- Impervious to termite damage
- A variety of steel framing sizes, shapes and gauges is available
- Reduces work for other trades as it has pre-punched holes for running piping and electrical wiring
- Accommodates all types of commonly used finishing materials
- Increased design flexibility, accommodating larger open spaces without interior load-bearing walls.
- Inorganic — it won’t crack, warp, twist, rot, split or settle like wood framing might.
- Non-combustible – does not burn and will not contribute fuel to the spread of a fire
- Dimensionally stable – does not expand or contract with moisture content
- Consistent material quality – produced in strict accordance with national standards, no regional variations
- Not vulnerable to any type of fungi or organism
- Less probability of foundation problems – less weight results in less movement
- Less probability of damage in high winds – stronger connections, screwed versus nailed
There are three basic methods of constructing steel frame homes:
- Stick-built — steel framing is similar to wood, except that steel components are fastened with screws, rather than nails.
- Panellized systems — reduces time at the building site and may allow a building to be framed in one third of the time it takes to complete a traditional wood framed home.
- Pre-engineered systems — offers high strength and design flexibility. Most of the fabrication is completed off site by the supplier and in many cases may allow 7a home to be framed in as little as one day.