Steel framed homes

For long-lasting value – steel!

A new option for Maui homeowners is steel framed construction. Steel framed homes offer many advantages over conventional wood framed homes:

1.  Steel is not an organic material.

The fact that steel is not an organic material means that the structural steel frame will not deteriorate with time as will wood.  This means the structural components of your steel frame home will never rot, warp, split, move, or crack as will wood.  In fact, the steel framing will remain the same as the day it was erected for generations to come!

2.  Steel cannot be eaten by termites, carpenter ants, rodents and the like.

Steel framing offers the homeowner a reassurance that the structural components of their home will never be damaged by these costly critters.  Is this important?  Well, consider the fact that no insurance company in the United States will offer homeowners a policy protecting them from the structural damage caused by termites.  But with a steel frame home this protection is guaranteed and inherent from the material itself.

3.  Steel framing is stronger than wood framing components.

The inherent strength of steel is hard to deny.  Why are virtually all commercial buildings, skyrises, aircraft hangars, apartment complexes and the like built with steel framing?  Because it is stronger than wood, can meet stricter building codes, and can be used to achieve loads that wood simply cannot meet.  Steel frame homes are so strong that they can be engineered to achieve 150 mph wind loads and meet the highest earthquake ratings.  Oftentimes, steel framing is the only type of framing that will meet coastal hurricane requirements and western earthquake ratings.  Why?  Its inherent strength.  The homeowner can utilize this strength to achieve large open rooms with fewer load-bearing walls, if any, on the interior.  This allows the homeowner more choices in the design of their homes, room sizes, and the like.

4.  Steel frame homes are fire resistant.

Most fires spread rapidly throughout a home via the wood framing in the walls.  Wood, a good fuel for fire, catches fire quickly, spreads rapidly, and costs homeowners enormous amounts of structural damage to their homes.  Steel frame homes are safer than wood frame homes because steel framing reduces the spread of a house fire throughout the structure and often limits the fire to the room in which it began.  This fire resistant quality of steel is main reason many states offer homeowners up to a 25% reduction in their homeowners insurance policy.  This saves the homeowner money and, more importantly, allows them to rest safely at night knowing their family is in a much safer structure than a typical wood framed home.

5.  Steel frame homes are environmentally friendly.

Did you know that a typical wood frame home utilizes one-fourth of an acre of forest to build it.  With our forests continually shrinking and homebuilding continuing to rise, environmental concerns have been raised to try and reduce the use of lumber and use recyclable materials instead.  Consider those plastic grocery bags having replaced paper ones.  Well, steel frame homes are environmentally friendly because steel is one of the most recyclable material we have at our disposal.  In fact, the steel needed to build a typical house can be derived from three or four recycled junk cars.

6.  Steel framing is non-toxic and healthier for those with hypersensitive allergies.

Much of the wood used in wood frame homes is impregnated with resins and varying chemicals that affect some people with hypersensitive allergies.  Steel eliminates these problems for these consumers and results in a healthier and more comfortable environment for them.

7.  Steel framing members are fastened together with screws and bolts, not nails and glue.

Structural steel frame components are attached to one another with screws and bolts.  Screws and bolts are considered permanent fasteners because they are stronger and will not come loose over time.  The nails used in wood frame homes are considered temporary fasteners that may loosen overtime with the movement of the wood framing as the house ‘settles’.

8.  Steel frame studs and components come to the construction site straight and true in form.

Unlike the warped, twisted, and bowed wood studs delivered to a construction site and used to build wood frame homes, steel studs and components are all the same . . . straight and true in form.  Steel frame studs are manufactured under stringent codes and procedures which result in every piece being straight.  When a builder can begin with straight and dimensionally true framing members, they can achieve better results.  This reason alone allows steel frame homes to achieve straighter rooflines, more level and plum walls, and a better finished appearance.

9.  Steel frame components reduce the waste wood frame homebuyers are paying for.

Have you ever driven by a home construction site and viewed workers burning scraps of wood and materials?  Why are they doing this?  Due to the inferior quality of lumber delivered to jobsites results in great waste.  Much of the bowed, warped, twisted, and rotting members are so bad that they cannot be used in the home.  Also, the lumber is dropped off in stock lengths and every piece is cut to length on the site.  The little pieces scattered around that are left over, along with the inferior quality pieces, are taken out back and burned.  How much waste is generated from the lack of framing members and cutting the lumber on site?  Up to 40%!!!  Who pays the 40% of waste these crews are burning?  The homeowner.  That’s an expensive campfire!  The majority of the steel used in a home, on the other hand, is cut to size at the manufacturers’ plant to the builders specifications. Also, all of the pieces delivered to the site are straight and true.  The superior quality of steel components and the fact that they are delivered precut results in a significant reduction in waste.  A typical steel frame home may have only a minute amount of waste in materials, about 3 wheelbarrows full.  And this material can be taken by the homeowner to a nearby recycling center!

10. Steel frame homes are far more energy efficient.

In a wood frame home, the width of the exterior wall studs is tyically 1 1/2”.  These studs are usually spaced at 16” on center, i.e. one stud placed every 16” in a wall.  Furthermore, headers above windows and doors are usually comprised of 2 or 3 of these studs.  This 1 1/2” space of each of these wood studs is considered of ‘dead space’, i.e. it cannot be insulated….because it is filled with wood.  Keep in mind that the R-value of a standard 2 x 4 is R-4.  What this means is if one multiplies the 1 1/2” of all of the studs in the exterior walls of a typical wood frame home and all of the doubled up header wood materials, the amount of ‘dead space’ that cannot be insulated is approximately 17 to 20% of the exterior of the home.    So, no matter what insulation is put in the wall cavities between the studs, there will still be 17% to 20% of wall exterior walls that have an R-value of only 4!    In comparison, steel frame studs are C-shaped and only have a ‘dead space’ of about 1/8” that cannot be insulated.  Furthermore, all of the headers  in  a steel frame home are hollow allowing these areas to be insulated which  cannot be  done with the headers in a wood frame home.  All of this added insulation means that the steel frame homeowner  can reduce their heating  and cooling costs by as much as 35% when  compared to the same home built out of  a wood frame.  This savings is monthly  and the homeowner will  enjoy the savings for the life of the home.

11.  Steel frame homes are easier to maintain and remodel.

Because steel is so strong it can span large areas of a home often without requiring load-bearing support walls. The majority of the interior walls end up being non-load bearing.  If ever a homeowner’s needs change and a wall must be removed or moved to expand a room size, chances are it can simply be unbolted and moved to its new location or removed all together.  Also, this benefit allows homeowners more flexibility in designing their home’s floorplan since most of the interior is structurally similar to that of a vacant warehouse.  Homeowners can design their own floorplans, make changes to current floorplans, or modify floorplans easily. Once the walls are erected, they can then ‘see’ the interior framed and decide whether or not they are happy with the room sizes. If not, the framing crew can unbolt the walls and move them to satisfy the customer with little issue or problem.  Lastly, since steel frame homes produce far less cracks in walls, nail pops, etc. the home will require less maintenance and have lasting beauty.

12.  Steel frame homeowners get the most ’value’ for their money.

Is price the only factor consumers weigh when purchasing a home?  What are they hoping to acquire with the money they have to spend?  Whether someone is buying a house or a car most consumers are attempting to get the most out of their money.  Think of cars.  If all that the car buyer was concerned with was price, then the majority of cars on the road would be yugos.  Surely it is the ’cheapest’ means of automotive transportation.  But most people don’t drive yugos.  The same is true with homes.  If all that consumers were concerned with was price alone, then the majority of consumers would be purchasing mobile homes to live in.  Again, this is the cheapest form of housing for the consumer to buy.  But most consumers are not buying mobile homes either.  Why not? Because what consumers want is the best ’value’ for the money they have to spend. Steel frame homes clearly offer them this ‘value‘.  How so?  Consider exactly what a consumer gets when they buy a steel frame home?  They are getting a home built with framing that will never rot, warp, split, crack, or deteriorate.  They are getting a home that cannot be eaten away by termites, carpenter ants, or rodents.  They are getting a home grounded in the inherent structural strength of steel.  They are getting a home that is more fire resistant, does not impregnate its framing with harmful chemicals, and is thus safer.  They are getting a home that is held together with screws and bolts, not nails and glue, and thus a more sound structure.  They are getting a home that has straighter walls, ceilings, rooflines, and a better overall appearance that lasts.  They are getting a home that ‘saves’ them money because it costs up to 50% less to heat/cool, requires less maintenance, is easier to remodel, and often times cost them far less in their homeowner’s insurance premiums.  Briefly put, they are getting the most ’value’ they can by investing their money in a home that will retain its ‘value’ for generations to come.

13.  Steel frame home ownership is a sound investment.

Not only do steel frame homes offer consumers the most ’value’ for their money but steel frame homes do so at the lowest cost ever. With new building technologies, tools, more experienced crews and contractors, and the ever growing availability of steel framing components nationwide, the cost of steel frame homes is the lowest its ever been.  Manufacturers have unified in creating steel frame components that are uniform in strength and dimension.  Local building officials are being taught about residential steel frame construction, oftentimes, eliminating the need to have these homes stamped by an engineer.  All of these technological advancements are lowering the cost of steel frame homes while maintaining there benefits.  In the form of an investment, consider this.  A homeowner can purchase a steel frame home, with all of its inherent benefits and overall value, for almost the same price the same size home constructed of wood framing.  The small difference in cost is easily re-couped and surpassed by the long term benefits of steel frame homes, their energy cost savings, reductions in home owners’ insurance and the like.

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