Whether you’re planning on building a traditional house or something more unusual designed by an architect, you could consider building it with a steel frame. Steel framed residential properties normally use light gauge steel for most of the frame, with the key members being made from hot rolled steel. Generally the light steel frame will be clad in brickwork, but the hot rolled steel when left exposed can make the property stand out from its neighbors, as can leaving exposed the steel window and door frames.
Architecture and Steel Frame
Using a steel frame to construct a residential property will allow your architect to design something truly unique. Whilst a property built with the traditional timber and brick can probably attain the same effects, using a steel frame will allow you to build the property in less time and at less cost.
Steel Framing Advantages
Using a steel frame has several advantages over a traditional wooden frame. The fact that all the sections are manufactured off-site means that there is no waste from off-cuts on site. All the pieces of the frame arrive perfectly formed and only require bolting together. According to the site you’re working on you won’t need to have acres of storage space as, being pre-fabricated the frame components can be delivered ‘just-in-time’; as and when you need them.
The whole frame for a four bed-roomed property can be erected within 6 days and by using brick panels to clad the frame the whole construction project can be completed in anything up to half the time of a ‘conventionally’ built property. The brick cladding panels would be fixed to insulated external steel panels that are again pre-fabricated off-site, with panel fixing channels incorporated into them. Obviously floor joists can simply be made from steel and bolted to the frame; steel panels could also be used as internal walls and then have plaster-board fixed to them.
Considerations for Homeowners
Getting a mortgage and insurance for a steel framed property is no different to that for a conventionally built property. In fact there some companies in North America are already offering insurances at cheaper costs for steel framed properties. Some people are concerned that they wouldn’t be able to extend a steel framed property; in fact it’s as easy to extend a steel framed property as any other.
Simple lintel conditions make it easy to open up a wall for an extension, whilst most ground floor window frames can easily be converted to patio doors and access to conservatories. Of course, as with any building, you should consult with a builder or architect before embarking on any project that might affect the structural integrity of the property.
Misconceptions Related to Steel Framed Homes
It’s a fact that lightening could strike a steel framed property – but the risk is no greater than for any other building or tall structure. You can of course have a lightening conductor for protection on the property, but again the same as for any building the risk is never completely eliminated.
It’s a myth that steel framed properties will rust away. The light gauge steel used in the frame is galvanized for protection; structural damage to the frame by moisture is no more of a risk than for any other type of building. Like any other building good drainage and ventilation between the frame and its cladding will avoid any problems.
It’s also a fact that a steel framed property will not interfere with TV, radio or ‘phone signals. Most properties these days have external satellite dishes or cable for their TV; whilst radio and ‘phone reception is affected by geographical location rather than the properties of the building itself.
Photo by Ecnerwal, Creative Commons Attribution License