Your house frame is the skeleton of your dream home, keeping everything supported and in place. Although timber was basically the only show in town not too long ago, there really is a choice now. So steel frame vs timber frame – which is best?
What’s in the frame?
Firstly, it’s important to recognise that the frame is … important! Just like the bones in your body, it’s basically what holds everything together. So it needs to be strong. But there are other considerations too, like the steel frame house cost versus the apparently-cheaper timber.
Then there’s quality, durability, noise, build time, termites and other factors to consider as well.
1. The cost
As we all know, when it comes to new homes or a home extension, costs are all important. And generally, when comparing steel frame vs timber frame cost, a steel frame house will cost more. That’s because timber is easy to source and there’s plenty of it about. But there’s more to that steel frame vs timber frame cost than you might imagine. That’s because while the steel frame is mainly prepared off-site, the cost of timber may actually end up about even because of extra on-site labour.
2. The quality
It’s not hard to imagine that steel is stronger and more durable than a timber frame. But the frame quality is actually more about the actual design and build standard, meaning that if a project meets Australian building standards, you don’t need to worry about quality either way. And because timber can be cut, construction mistakes are easily fixed and plans easily tweaked.
3. The environment
When it comes to environmental impact, you don’t need to worry about steel – because every bit of it can be recycled. Steel frame homes are also great for long-term heating and cooling efficiency because doors and windows can be perfectly sealed. But it’s also crucial to note that timber is a great natural insulator.
Timber is also completely natural, renewable, non-toxic, and chemical free.
This one is pretty simple: while termites might be interested in timber frame houses, they won’t touch steel. However, the other wooden parts of your home are still susceptible to white ants, so a steel frame is no reason to be complacent about these unpleasant critters. And timber frames are properly treated for termites anyway, so there’s no great reason to worry.
And don’t forget … timber won’t rust!
You might think frame noise is a weird thing to worry about, but it’s important to remember that even a sturdy frame will move. And steel ones will creak the loudest! However, when properly designed, engineered and constructed, steel frames won’t wake you up at night any more than timber houses do!
6. Build time
Because it’s lighter, a timber house might be easier and faster to put together – and there’s plenty of it about for building companies to quickly source too. But as suggested earlier, much of the steel frame labour is done off-site, so it’s fairly straightforward to put together even if it’s more cumbersome. But if mistakes are made, it can slow the process down for the same reason.
Steel frame vs timber frame – ready to decide?
Having trouble deciding what’s best for your dream home? It’s a big decision because whether you’re building, extending or renovating, it involves a hefty amount of your hard-earned money and will be an asset and investment for life.
Our Melbourne building designers will take all the factors into consideration for you. The guys at RFT Solutions are highly skilled and experienced in assessing the needs of your project and coming up with the perfect solution for your goals and budget. Get in touch today!