When building a kit home you will invariably come across the option of designing and building with a plantation timber or modern light-weight steel frame. Though some clients have a preference for timber over steel in the look of the home, we would like to share some practical information to make this decision easier.
Why timber or steel?
Timber and steel framed kit-homes are typically used in the country where there is little access to project home builders or the block of land makes building on concrete slab impossible or extremely expensive. With timber or steel framed homes, you won’t need to engineer retaining walls, subsoil drainage or compacted fill. Rather you can construct a framed floor system, also known as elevated floor system or pole home, right onto your site.
Plantation timber and modern light-weight steel are supported by Australian design standards and other proactive professional industry bodies.
Most builders partially pre-fabricate the homes (wall frames and roof) as per your design and deliver it to your block. Depending on which of the building stages you have chosen, it is either hand it over to you to build with easy to follow instructions or carpenters can erect the home for you.
Fortunately, wood is a sustainable resource and I’m sure we would all like to keep it that way! Sustainably managed Australian plantations replant trees after harvesting them, to ensure that trees continue to be a plentiful natural resource.
According to the Australian Forest Learning website:
“Sustainable forest management (SFM) refers to the management of our private and public forests to ensure they continue to provide not only a sound supply of renewable timber for present and future generations, but also maintain their environmental values and social services.”
There are other benefits to choosing timber-framed homes. It does not require as much energy to build timber homes, therefore less greenhouses gases are produced and released into the atmosphere.
Western Australia is a stunningly beautiful place to live, and when building we have to take into account the environment!
The timber industry suggests that all new homes are protected from termite attacks. You can ensure your home is termite proof by using the right materials, construction methods and by regular inspection. Once building is completed, ensure that your home stays termite proof and inspect your home regularly. Depending on the exact location, most builders use Blue Pine Treatment Protection System or Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) where the elements are more severe, giving clients complete peace of mind against termites and European borer.
Though some clients might prefer the timber look they might like to combine the two materials to reach a build finish they are most happy with.
Steel framed kit homes are made of modern, light weight, durable steel produced from partially recycled materials. All joins are fully welded and treated producing a very strong, termite resistant, true and lightweight product.
Termite and Borer Proof
The wall and framing steel in steel homes is naturally 100% termite and European Borer proof. This means that there is no need to spray the steel with additional chemical treatments to protect them from pests. Because there is no need to treat steel homes, they are recognised worldwide as a healthy alternative for asthmatics.
Strength and Durability of Steel
Steel homes are made from extremely strong and durable light-weight steel. Steel homes provide a structure that withstands the variety of conditions of Western Australia climate. The steel frames will not twist, warp, shrink or expand over the years, maintaining their strong, durable structure for many years. With steel homes, you won’t experience sticking windows, wavy roof lines or jamming doors resulting from the steel frame moving or changing over time.
Flexibility in Design
Choosing steel homes, gives you flexibility in the design of your home that you might not have with other materials. For example, because of the light-weight nature of steel and the strength-to-weight ratio, you will have more capacity to design longer spans and large, open living areas. Also, you can be creative with the roof-line with steel homes.