The home building process
Steel Frame Homes: Everything you need to know
At Rawson Homes, we use steel frames for all of our residential buildings, as part of our smarter construction policy to maximise quality and efficiency. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, upsizer or investor, we believe steel frame homes offer you the great design and affordable price you’re looking for.
If you’re new to this, you may be wondering: are steel frame homes good? Are there any disadvantages? Here, we’ve summarised everything you need to know about steel frame homes, so you can make an informed decision.
What are steel frame homes?
A frame provides the structure around which your house is built – in effect, its skeleton. It consists of beams, columns and joists around which your floors, walls, ceilings and internal fixtures are constructed.
Benefits of steel frame homes
Here are some of the many reasons we choose to build steel frame homes in Australia:
- Quick to build: Steel frames arrive pre-engineered to our precise specifications, meaning they have a high degree of accuracy and are ready to erect. They are also lighter than timber (by up to 50%) and they provide a solid surface for insulation and plasterboard. This can further speed up the construction process, as fewer workers and resources are required – as long as you have a steel fabricator to weld the structure together.
- Durable and weather-proof: Steel is incredibly hard-wearing and can withstand high winds and extreme weather conditions. For example, in the event of a flood, timber is permeable and will take much longer to dry out than steel, making it prone to rotting. In contrast, steel is invulnerable to mould and fungi, so great for climates with high humidity and flood risk.
- Fire-resistant: One of the best things about steel is that it’s non-combustible. This means it will fare much better in a fire than timber frames, which will of course burn (although the strength of steel may still be compromised under extreme heat).
- Termite and borer-proof: Termites are a real concern in Australia, and steel frames are by far the safest option for resisting them. Unlike timber, steel frames are 100% resistant to termites, as well as other borers, bugs and rodents. Bear in mind that you will still need to protect the rest of your home.
- Low-maintenance: Compared to timber structures, steel requires less upkeep as it does not tend to move, shrink or warp over time. In the event of a fire or extreme weather, a timber frame is more likely to need to be repaired or replaced.
- Little waste: Our process of creating steel frames means very little wastage (assuming there are no mistakes), compared with timber, where you might end up with a lot of offcuts. Timber can also have imperfections in the wood, which results in it being rendered unusable.
- Recyclable: Steel is 100% recyclable – in fact, steel is the most recycled material in the world. It can be melted down and reused an infinite number of times.
Are steel frame homes good?
We certainly think so! As outlined above, there are multiple benefits of steel frame homes. The key ones are safety and stability, given that steel is so resistant to damage from termites, pests and extreme weather.
Are steel frame homes more expensive?
After reading about all these benefits, you might be wondering if steel frame homes are more expensive than timber frames. In the past, they have been, as there is generally more energy and labour required for steel production than timber. However, due to recent supply shortages, steel frames are currently cheaper than timber frames.
By the time you also factor in the money saved on installing, maintaining and termite-proofing a timber frame (which could be thousands of dollars), as well as potential savings on your home insurance premium from having a moisture and termite-proof structure, steel frame homes prices are considerably cheaper and can save you money!
Are steel framed houses colder?
Steel conducts heat more than timber, which some people believe makes steel framed houses colder in winter (and warmer in summer). However, with sufficient adaptions to your insulation, the difference can be negligible. On the flip side, the accuracy of steel frames means doors and windows will be better sealed and less heat should be lost around the joins.
Do steel frame homes rust?
Steel frames are not usually prone to rust, as they are galvanised during the manufacturing process. However, if they are scratched after manufacture, corrosion is possible – particularly in coastal areas with higher salt content in the air. This can be counteracted with powder and hot zinc coating treatments.
Which is better: timber or steel frames?
As steel is infinitely recyclable, strong, and resistant to moisture and termites, we believe steel frames are the best choice for Australian homes.
For more information about steel frame home designs or Rawson Home’s construction process, contact the team today.