As the United States begins to enter some sort of normalization since the pandemic occurred, the construction industry has entered a boom. Attributed to the continuing of many paused projects that were started pre-pandemic along with a fruitful housing market, contractors and builders are in no short supply of jobs that need to be done. However, there is an obstacle in the way of building new homes: pricing and supply of lumber. For that reason, many contractors and homeowners are now faced with framing their new homes with lumber or steel. Below you will learn the pros and cons of framing a home with steel or lumber to help you on your next project.
Steel Frame vs Wood Frame
Steel Framing Pros
Durability: One thing steel is known for is its ability to withstand over time. As opposed to lumber, steel will not warp over time and will not experience rot as it does not attract insects or pests. Also, with the advantage of steel’s durability comes the peace of mind that your home will not experience give or slanting that wood framing will experience over time.
Long-term costs: If you’ve purchased the material to create a steel-framed home, you may have experienced a larger upfront cost as opposed to other options. However, it will be worth it over the life of the home as it will not require as much maintenance and repairs as a wood-framed home.
Fire-retardant: The last thing you want for a new project or new home is the possibility of it bursting into flames. While unlikely of wood-framed homes, it still is a real possibility. With steel frames, you will have a skeleton that is not combustible while also being up-to-code on most building and fire codes.
Strength: In a battle of strength, steel will always beat out wood. In turn, that means steel will hold up better in the event of a natural disaster. Whether it’s a hurricane or earthquake, your steel-framed home will not fly away or crack. Also, as a huge financial plus, insurance companies look favorably upon steel-framed homes as they typically are less of a risk due to their strength.
Wood Framing Pros
Commonality: The main advantage in selecting a wood frame for a home is the familiarity most, if not all, builders and contractors have with it. As wood has been the most commonly used material in home building for decades, you will find the most options in who you want to build your home. And because of the familiarity, most contractors will price you cheaper as opposed to steel.
Short-term cost: Traditionally, wood will always be a cheaper material than steel. However, that has changed recently due to the surges in wood pricing have surpassed steel pricing. Also, due to the familiarity with wood, most contractors will price you cheaper as opposed to steel.
Steel Framing Cons
Short-term cost: When calculating the budget of a project, long-term costs are thrown out the window as that will be years down the line. Once again, traditional steel prices have always been substantially higher than that of lumber. But in the current climate, steel is even to lumber or perhaps even a little cheaper. But, for the most part, steel will a larger upfront cost.
Insulation: Overall, steel is less adept at maintaining a home insulated compared to wood. That being the case, with a steel-framed home, you will most likely experience higher cooling and heating costs in comparison to wood.
Rust: Although steel is not subject to termites, rotting, or severe weathering, it can still experience rust. For any area the steel frame is exposed to moisture, rust will occur.
Wood Framing Cons
Maintenance: As we’ve covered up to this point, wood frame’s life expectancy can be long but comes with plenty of issues. Whether it’s rotting, insects, pests, or warping that affects the integrity of the frame, these are all regular issues wood-framed homes experience. In comparison, steel requires a fraction of the maintenance that wood does.
Long-term costs: Associated with the higher upkeep and maintenance, wood requires a higher cost. With all the possible projects you may need to undertake with a wood-framed home, you will see an accumulation of costs throughout the years.
On a side-by-side comparison, there is no clear winner between steel and wood-framed homes. You will be either paying more upfront and less in the future or less upfront and more in the future. What it really comes down to at this moment in time, with all-time high prices in both steel and lumber with limited supply, is your budget and ability to source materials. Whatever type of material you choose to frame your next home in, make sure you consider both.
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for Steel
Are you in need of steel supplies? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.