Steel Buildings Become More Popular for Residential Homes

According to RISMedia, steel buildings are becoming more common in residential buildings as their versatility expands with greater consumer demand. They are sought after for their affordability, strength, durability and versatility in the building process.

Once used primarily for warehouses, garages, sheds and additional storage facilities, today even residential homes are being built with steel buildings. SteelBuildings.org offers further insight into the latest trend.

Once used for large industrial purposes, many smaller scale structures are using metal construction, such as churches, schools, retail stores and private residential homes. In the past, the affordability and durability of such buildings were over shined by the lack of curb appeal. Now the exterior of steel buildings can be finished in brick, siding, stucco and additional options. They are easy to maintain, well insulated and can be constructed much faster than using more traditional materials.

They also cost much less than stick built homes of the same size and quality.

The versatility of the way these metal structures are framed is another attractive quality. They can be fully framed to look just like conventional home or they can have a completely open floor plan with minimal interior walls. The pole construction methods used during the construction process make the walls non-load bearing, so the poles support the weight of the walls. By having non-load bearing walls, a home can have dramatic, wide-open spaces for a living room or kitchen and yet have smaller rooms for
bedrooms and bathrooms.

This option has lower framing costs as well.
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October 14 2010 - US
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Replies (2)

Profile picture for sunnyview
I'm not sure that I would want a completely steel home, but I think that steel framing is a great idea here. It is initially a bit more expensive, but houses built with steel are stronger, rot resistant, have less material waste and interior walls can be moved with minimal if any structural modification.

Many builders are adding steel framing as an option that the offer and I would think that especially for areas with termites, storms or poor quality wood materials that steel would be a great option.
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October 14 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
The fire protection rules for steel buildings are completely different.  And a home owner has been allowed to do their own construction on wood frame, up to 2 stories, but not on steel frame.

Most of the time when there is a fire on wood frame, the building is still standing (due to the moisture in the wood).  A lot of the time when there is a fire on steel frame, the building collapses.  It is not the temperature that the steel melts at, it is the temperature that it becomes plastic at.  And fires in steel buildings tend to be hotter.

The reason they are becoming more popular is the "mixed use" buildings in down-town and transit areas.  But even there, a lot of the residential construction on upper floors is wood.  Some of that is cost driven.  But the cost difference of a steel stud and wood stud are negligible, and a steel stud already has the holes for conduit and other piping.

No, I don't want to live in a steel building no matter what.  And I'm sure those fire fighters that breathed in all that melted powdered steel and glass from the world trade center don't really want to live in a steel building either.

And people ask how did the steel burn since the temperature wasn't hot enough?  When the steel became in the plastic range, the roof or floor from above collapses quickly to the floor below just due to weight.  As the floor colapses, all that air is quickly compressed and forced into the steel, causing rapid oxidation, which is essentially the same as putting it on fire.  And when steel is on fire, the temperature rises to the temperature of burning steel, thus over stressing the floor below, and you get a chain reaction.

Wood buildings burn upward.  Steel buildings collapse downward.
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