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"Steel Frame Houses" Topic

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592 hits since 15 Oct 2014
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enfant perdus15 Oct 2014 1:43 p.m. PST

Wondering if anyone has experience with steel frame houses, either as a builder or owner.

I'm thinking about moving to Nebraska and, if I have a house built, there seem to be tremendous advantages to steel frame construction, particularly in the area I'm considering*. Everything I've read says contractor/framing costs are generally the same or less than timber framing. True? Other than making sure insulation and thermal breaks are well thought out, I'm not seeing any other problems.

Thoughts, experiences would be appreciated.

*For starters, termites and carpenter ants are a thing. What I'd save on exterminators alone would be significant.

kyoteblue Inactive Member15 Oct 2014 1:49 p.m. PST

Just make sure it will withstand an EF-5 Tornado.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2014 5:04 a.m. PST

For my parents lived in a steel framed house built as part of the rebuilding after WW2. They lived there comfortably from the mid 1950s through to 1989 (when mom went into a home). They liked it and it is still occupied and looks like it has a good lifetime still.

This is British standars and a rented property but from this I see no problems.


VCarter Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2014 7:23 a.m. PST

Nephew had one. Hanging picture/shelves was problematic with out wooden studs. Can be done, just more work.

Mad Mecha Guy Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Oct 2014 1:55 p.m. PST

Have you looked into container houses? Can be built fast & are very strong.

zoneofcontrol16 Oct 2014 6:43 p.m. PST

I am a rental property owner and manager. I have no experience with steel framing. My comments below are just things for you to research. I am in no way recommending or discouraging either type of building.

Just to keep in mind. Weather and any related repair and re-construction. (flooding, tornado, snow & ice) – Insurance benefits/concerns?

Any affects on utilities run thru the building?

Lightening strike – grounding and electrical transmission thru the building.

Durability. Not just the frame but the attachment of the interior and exterior to that frame. Is there a difference between steel and wooden framing?

enfant perdus16 Oct 2014 8:55 p.m. PST

Not in any particular order…

Container houses are a non-starter.

In my (potential) neck of the plains, straight line winds cause more damage than tornados, but yes, steel frames apparently offer superior resistance to both, not to mention fire (obviously). Reduced insurance rates is a bonus. Flooding is not a concern. Opinons about lightning range from "no worse" than timber frame to "far superior."

Utilities run through knock outs. From everything I've researched, plumbing and electrical install is quicker, and the only mod required is plastic or rubber grommets in the knockouts where you're running romex.

Steel framing is bolted together and either galvanized steel or red iron. Everything these days is CAD and laser cut, so it arrives at the build site RTA and supposedly goes up quicker than timber framing. Also, it has a strong reputation for framing square and true. Drywall is screwed to the lighter gauge steel framing of the interior walls. As VCarter hints at, hanging heavier pictures (too much for a molly bolt) means screwing into a metal stud.

Insulation requires more attention. Steel is vastly more conductive than wood, so thermal breaks have to be well considered. Some of the companies I've looked at seem to have this down pat; others barely mention it.

As mentioned, termites and carpenter ants are a problem in town. My brother and I spend a fair bit of money on scheduled exterminator services for my Dad's old house, where we let my Bad Aunt live.

EJNashIII22 Jan 2015 5:06 p.m. PST

I'm an architect. Commercial and many larger residential buildings are done in steel framing all over the country. Some areas where wood is scarce have been doing it for many decades. No big deal.

Agreed issue with insulating, which might be an issue in Nebraska. However, if you have local builders experienced in the work, they will know what to do.

Another issue to look at is hanging cabinets. Really, the same issue as the heavy pictures. Obviously, with our hobby storage space is important. Make sure the builder and designer brace any walls you think you might add extra shelves, cabinets, etc to in the future. It is much easier to do that upfront than to retrofit the wall.

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