Why Steel Framing for Houses?
A throwback to the days of ordering a home through a Sears catalogue and having it shipped by train, pre-engineered steel buildings are a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional construction with lumber.
As a matter of fact, in 1993, when lumber prices more than doubled in the U.S. and the residential construction industry felt a rising panic, they searched for an alternative building material. Steel was the solution then, and today, steel continues to be the best alternative for high-quality yet low-cost house building projects.
Steel offers a variety of advantages to homebuilders and homeowners alike.
Steel studs and joists are strong and lightweight, and steel walls are completely straight, eliminating the costly problem of fixing pops in drywall.
Steel, which is not a combustible material, offers fire protection, which leads to lower household insurance costs.
Steel also provides excellent protection from termites, and is used as the primary construction material in Hawaii where the destructive Formosan termite has been known to wipe out entire houses in just a year.
Due to cutting-edge advancements in steel engineering, the strength and durability of steel framed homes can withstand wind and seismic loads caused by hurricanes, gale-force winds, and even earthquakes. In fact, a pre-engineered steel home built in Burleson, Texas— otherwise known as “Tornado Alley”— has been shown to be able to withstand winds of up to 80 miles per hour.
Strength and durability aside, a steel-framed building doesn’t have to look like an airstream trailer either. Steel framed homes can be customized with the same finishes as any other residential house, including stucco, siding, brickwork, or even slate. Despite being an industrial material, the exterior finish of a steel building can encapsulate any architectural style or design, easily adapting to a variety of different personal needs and tastes.
A low-cost steel-framed home promises the knowledge and peace of mind your house is strong and sturdy from the inside out, with a fantastic exterior finish to stand one step above every other home on the block, all at an affordable price.
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Why go with a pre-engineered steel framed home?
Pre-engineered steel manufacturing is revolutionizing the way people choose, buy and design their own homes on an economic, sociological and aesthetic level.
Pre-engineered steel building manufacturers offer customers the ability to customize their homes with a click of a mouse, and purchase a well-designed living space at a price they can afford.
In addition to typical A-Frame homes, steel home kits are also available in the form of Quonset hut buildings. You would be forgiven for initially dismissing a Quonset hut home as an option but the designs and customization options have come a long way since the original WWII Nissen hut buildings. Unlike their steel frame counterparts, Quonsets can be erected extremely quickly and with the minimum of technical expertise.
Benefits of Quonset Hut Steel Kit Homes Include:
- Economical – kit buildings start at approximately $5/ square foot for a 30x40 house
- Strength – due to their arched design these buildings fair extremely well in high wind and snow locations
- Customization – the ability to customize Quonset homes is one of their major features. End walls can be finished in almost any material (brick, steel, stucco, cement block). Windows and doors can be added to the end walls and skylights can be added across the roof structure.
For further details see our Quonset Hut Housing Page
The process is simple.
Designed using software on a computer, instructions are then provided to factory machinery on how to bend the metal, shape it and cut it until it has created the pieces required for a home. Once manufactured, the steel pieces can be easily transported to the construction site and assembled in just a few days.
Once erected, the interior aesthetics can be just as high-end as the exterior as a result of the money saved on construction by choosing a prefab steel building.
Floors can be made using industrial-looking concrete, laminated or hardwood floors, tiles, or even with environmentally-friendly materials like bamboo. Ceilings can feature exposed steel beams for an industrial or modern architectural look, or can be covered for a more conventional or traditional home design. Stylish glass screens can divide the rooms, and stainless steel materials can be used in the kitchen.
Finally, fixtures can be equally elegant and luxurious as a result of the money saved on construction and manufacturing by choosing a pre-engineered steel building.
Things to Consider
Finding your dream property is often the most important part of the home construction process. But there are several things to consider that could affect the final cost and value of your pre-engineered steel-framed home.
- Building codes and permits: Each municipality has unique building codes and permit processes. Before you begin constructing your steel home, visit your local municipal building authority or urban planning department to ensure that all appropriate building permits have been secured and that erecting a steel structure as a home won’t be a problem. Although prefab steel houses are becoming more common and the trend will only continue to develop, there may still unforeseen obstacles that could arise during construction.
- Site preparation: Before you begin laying out the foundation of your home, you must determine which utilities you will require, such as phone, gas, and electric lines. Other considerations include whether you will need a septic tank, a filtering system, or a well. If any trees or boulders need to be removed before you can lay a foundation, you may also need to secure a permit first.
It’s true. Steel house kits are quickly growing in popularity as more people learn about all their unique advantages. Here are 8 reasons why you may want to consider getting a metal prefab home yourself:
While the cost of wood has risen lately, the price of steel has remained steady which means the cost of steel home kits are now comparable to the cost of a wood home. Plus, steel offers a more consistent high level of quality, it is abundant and it is fully recyclable. Prefab home prices can be substantially cheaper than those of traditionally built homes. For an indication of price see our home price estimate calculator
2. Steel is Stronger … Much, Much Stronger Than Wood
Did you know that steel possesses the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material available today? Well, it does. That’s why 80% of all commercial buildings are constructed with steel as the primary building material.
Plus, steel better resists corrosion and decay compared to other building materials, which means metal frame homes offer longer use and greater value. Also, don’t forget metal homes are more resistant to fires, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The bottom line is that you can expect metal houses to last longer and require fewer costly repairs than other building materials.
3. Steel Framed Homes Stay Straight and True
Unlike wood frames which can warp or crack or settle, steel stays straight and true, which means no costly air leaks or energy loss in your steel home.
With a steel home you also won’t have to worry about expensive damage caused by termites or dry rot.
4. You Can Finish Your Metal Home With a Traditional Look
That’s right, you can finish the exterior of a metal home with the same materials as you would a wood house, including stucco or brick or siding, which means your metal home doesn’t have to look any different than any of the other houses in your neighborhood.
5. Steel Homes Offer Greater Energy Savings
In fact, steel houses offer as much as 40 percent more energy efficiency when compared to wood-framed homes. The reason? These dwellings offer more space for insulation – including enough room for 9-inch (R-30) insulation in the walls and roof.
Most wood residences use much thinner R-11 to R-19 rated insulation.
In addition to lowering your energy bills, your new home will also be quieter due the increased insulation and thicker walls.
6. Construction Flexibility
You can design your prefab metal home to be any size, from just 500 square feet all the way up to over 12,000 square feet. You can decide to build a one-story home or a two or three story house. You can also build your metal home on a slab, over a basement or on a pier or beam.
Also, with most metal frame homes, the steel frame fully supports the structure so no space eating, inconvenient columns or support beams are required – this means you can, if you so desire, have clear span interiors that range up to 30 feet wide or more!
7. Construction Speed and Convenience
Another major benefit of prefabricated homes is that metal house kits allow you to quickly and easily build your house yourself.
Prefab homes are created offsite to your exact specifications and then shipped directly to you. Due to precise manufacturing processes, you don’t have to worry about having expensive excess material and construction delays. You simply follow the instructions and assemble the perfectly synchronized parts. There’s no having to compensate for wood’s imperfections. That’s why nothing beats metal house kits when it comes to being the fastest, easiest way to build a house today.
8. Steel is Environmentally Friendly
Your steel house kit will include recycled steel and no excess waste material. Also, since steel is much more durable than wood, you won’t have to make as many energy and resource depleting repairs and replacements over the course of your home’s life as you would with a wood home.
And if your home ever outlives its usefulness you can simply recycle it instead of having to tear it down and transport the old building materials to the local landfill.
So Are You Beginning to See the Value of Metal Homes?
The truth is with all of these benefits it’s a wonder prefab metal homes weren’t this popular much, much sooner.
Only steel home kits offer:
• A high level of corrosion and decay resistance
• Unmatched protection against floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other disasters
• Frames that won’t warp or settle
• 100% recyclable building materials
• Strict quality standards that don’t vary by region
• Construction times that average at least one-third less time than other materials
• Unmatched strength to weight ratio
Plus, thanks to metal house kits you can assemble your metal home all by yourself or with just minor assistance.