Here are 9 reasons we recommend using timber wall frames, rather than steel frames:
1 – A timber frame is more durable and tougher than steel in most circumstances. If a steel frame is exposed to unfavourable conditions such as moisture, it will corrode and weaken. A steel frame is particularly risky in a costal environment especially if it’s not installed in the correct manner. A timber frame only requires protection by the use of correct connect plates and bracing within the frames and truss manufacture.
2 – From a safety perspective, a timber frame can be more resilient to fire, than a steel frame. This could mean the difference of getting out of a burning building.
3 – In most cases, timber is a more cost-effective option than steel. Steel is more expensive during construction because Trades will charge more to work around steel as it can be more labour intensive. The production of steel uses up more energy and creates a larger carbon footprint, making timber a much greener alternative.
4 – For protection of the buildings structure from termite attack, the same barriers are required for steel and timber buildings: so, there is no disadvantage to using natural materials.
5 – Timber frames are more adaptable to temperature changes. In contrast, steel framed houses can be noisy, ‘creaking and groaning’ during temperature changes.
6 – Timber is considered a ‘flexible’ structure by nature, whereas steel frames are considered rigid. In extreme weather conditions, it can be important for a building’s frame to have such flexibility.
7 – A timber frame has much better and more secure ‘fixings’ at connections and load points like around windows and doors. This means the buildings structure is stronger overall.
8 – Timber is a natural product, that is environmentally friendly. Steel production uses high levels of energy for production. The thermal transfer of heat is greater on a steel frame house than a timber frame home. To help explain this, if we had two houses with the same amount of insulation and air conditioning then your timber framed home will be cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Basically, a timber framed house will save you money on energy bills and save the environment from lower energy production.
9 – For practical reasons timber frames can be built on site whereas the construction of steel frames is manufactured off site. Remember with steel frame construction you simply cannot make any changes on site. Timber will provide more flexibility and if you are building a unique home this is a must.
Overall, from our point of view, always use timber house frames in residential construction. The versatility and flexibility of timber and its natural qualities offer many advantages.