Timber Vs Steel – Which is Better for a House Frame?

steel house frame

Timber Vs Steel – Which is Better for a House Frame?

The frame is the backbone of any home and when most people think of house frames, timber is usually the structural material that springs to mind, however, steel framed houses are also a very popular choice by many contemporary house builders. Canberra is a thriving city which is in the midst of an exciting construction boom. If you are looking for innovative and reliable Canberra residential builders, the team at Elliott Hardie is a leading choice. Experienced in the design and construction of bespoke family homes, we have a reputation for premium quality, exclusive designs and a superior level of craftsmanship. Both steel and timber frames have their pros, cons and considerations when choosing between them, read on to learn more.

Steel Frames

Steel is a high quality construction material that comes with great qualities that make it ideal for modern construction.

Some of the advantages of steel framed homes include:

  • Less movement – steel frames are resistant to twisting, warping and shrinking, whereas timber frames are more malleable to their environment. This ensure straighter lines and finishes throughout your home.
  • Versatility – Steel allows for creative and flexible designs that may otherwise not be possible with timber.
  • Strength – Boasting the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any residential building material, a steel frame ensures your home can withstand stronger winds, storms and even cyclones.
  • Fire Resistance – Unlike timber, steel is a non-combustible material, and retains its shape at much higher temperatures.
  • 100% Recyclable – Steel house frames can be made from 100% recyclable steel.
  • Chemical-free – There is no need for it to be treated with pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Termite Resistance – Termites will not be able to cause any damage to a steel frame.
  • Improved Energy Efficiency – Compared to homes built from timber, steel framed homes are considered more energy efficient in terms of thermal regulation.

There are a couple of disadvantages to using steel, these include:

  • The cost – due to the raw materials associated with its production, steel is the more expensive option.
  • It’s more labour intensive to work with – tradespeople may take longer and charge more to work around a steel frame.

Timber Frames

One of the few building materials that is a natural product, timber remains a popular choice for new home builds. Why?

  • It’s easily sourced and can be quickly constructed on site, saving time and increasing the efficiency of the build.
  • It’s easier to work with – making last minute changes or adjustments is easier and cheaper than with steel.
  • Timber frames are usually the more economical option. This is due to the fact that mining steel is expensive and the fabrication involved in preparing the frame is more complex.

Is there a Downside to Timber?

While modern structural timber is more durable than it once was, there’s a couple of cons to it:

  • Fire – A timber house is more likely to burn in the event of a bushfire. However, in bushfire-prone regions the use of fire-retardant building materials such cladding and safety systems such as sprinklers can help to minimise the risk of fire damage.
  • Termites – There is a risk that termites can damage a timber frame. Modern timber is treated with termite barriers so most new houses in Canberra built with timber frames will not experience a problem with termites.

Which is the More Sustainable Option?

Steel frames claim to be more environmentally friendly as steel is 100% recyclable. However, the emissions created in the production of steel are much greater than those involved in milling timber.

In regards to timber, native bushland must be cleared to create timber plantations, however timber is 100% renewable. Both timber and steel can be considered sustainable for different reasons.

Work with the Best Canberra Builders

Timber frames are a fast and cost-effective option for house frames, while steel frames are stronger and may provide greater longevity. If you are deciding on the most appropriate material for your new house frame, it’s best to get in touch with a trusted local builder or reputable home design consultants. Canberra is home to Elliott Hardie – experienced Canberra home builders who build with you in mind. If you are looking to build your dream home, get in touch with us today. Call 0479 106 944 or reach to us online now.