For centuries, the wooden frame for the house has been the undisputed number one for most homeowners in the United States. The wooden framing was considered not only the most durable option but also an aesthetically attractive architectural solution. However, in recent years, the construction industry has shifted its vector toward steel.
Today, steel framing for ADU is a priority pick, because it reduces construction costs by at least two times compared to a wooden frame. In addition, steel frames are becoming the key to solving some of the environmental problems, because now there is no need to cut down even more forests for the construction of a building.
In this review, we will tell you about the history of steel frames for ADU, present a full list of advantages, as well a small guide on preparing for the installation of steel framing.
Steel Framing Basics and History
For the first time, the idea of using metal for the framing of houses appeared in the middle of the 19th century, however, at that time the main and most popular material was cast iron, which is not durable and can not withstand a heavy load. Due to a lack of awareness, this idea had to be abandoned, however, after the Second World War, houses with steel frames began to appear more and more often in all states across the country.
This was made possible because of the discovery of porcelain enamel, which increased wear resistance. Today, steel frames for ADU resemble Lego, because to assemble it, you just need to connect the parts and fasten them with screws and bolts. At the same time, steel frames are in no way inferior in beauty and sophistication to wooden ones.
Steel Framing Benefits
We have already partially covered the advantages of the steel frame for ADU, however, now it’s time to talk about it in more detail. We highlight six main advantages of a steel frame that will motivate you to use this design in the construction of your new ADU.
Steel Framing Durability
If you watched the MythBusters program, you might have noticed that for most of the experiments, the presenters used steel structures and not for nothing. The fact is that steel does not react to external stimuli, and does not succumb to the influence of fungi and microorganisms, which means it does not rot, and also does not bend under the weight of multi-ton structures, and even tornadoes are not able to harm this metal. These facts are already enough to dismiss all thoughts about a wooden frame and choose a steel one.
Versatility of Structure
Working with wood is very big and physically exhausting work because it takes a lot of effort to create an unusual bend. In the case of steel, everything is much simpler, even if you have chosen the most unusual layout for your ADU. It will not be difficult for builders to construct a steel frame for a non-trivial form. Steel can be cut into any length and shape, and it can be made into flat or spherical structures with maximum ease.
By definition, steel is an environmentally friendly material, because it does not leave toxic traces in the atmosphere, does not lead to the waste of natural resources, does not contain harmful substances in the composition, and also after the demolition of the building can be melted down into new structures. Choosing steel makes you a responsible citizen who cares about the state of the environment.
If you do not want to stretch the budget for construction, then the steel frame is your undisputed leader. This metal is very common and available, unlike rare types of wood. Furthermore, as we noted above, there is nothing easier for builders than to assemble a steel frame, which means they will do it quickly, which will reduce your costs for specialist services. Finally, if we think about the future, then we need to take into account that the steel frame in 99 cases out of 100 does not require repair, which means you will not need to spend money on repeated services of craftsmen after 2 or 3 years of living in ADU.
One of the most significant benefits of steel framing for ADU construction is its fire-resistant properties. Steel is non-combustible, meaning that it will not catch fire or contribute to the spread of flames in the event of a fire. This is particularly important for ADUs, which are often built close to other structures. By using steel framing, homeowners can reduce the risk of fire damage to their ADU and the surrounding area.
Finally, steel framing is a low-maintenance option for ADU builders. Unlike wood, steel does not require regular painting or sealing to maintain its appearance. Steel is resistant to weathering and fading, meaning that it will maintain its color and texture over time. This makes steel framing an excellent choice for homeowners who want an ADU that will look great with minimal maintenance.
Overall, as you can see, among all the options for the ADU frame, steel is the most advanced and practical material in every sense. On par with this, as history shows, an ADU with a steel frame can stand for more than 70 years without a single damage or need for repair.
Steel Framing Installation Guide
If the scales have tilted in favor of a steel frame, then in addition to all the information you have already received, you need to learn a little about the installation process.
We have collected for you all the most important things on this subject:
- Site preparation. The site for the ADU is prepared by clearing the land and ensuring that the foundation is level.
- Foundation installation. A steel foundation is installed to provide support for the ADU. This foundation can be bolted to a concrete pad or attached to a pier.
- Steel framing installation. Steel framing is erected to create the structure of the ADU. The framing can be customized to accommodate various architectural designs and layouts.
- Insulation and sheathing. Once the steel framing is installed, insulation is added to the walls and roof to ensure that the ADU is energy-efficient. The sheathing is also added to provide additional support and protection.
- Electrical and plumbing installation. Electrical and plumbing systems are installed to provide the necessary utilities to the ADU.
- Finishing. The ADU is finished with drywall, flooring, and other finishing touches to create a livable space.
On the whole, in the hands of a highly professional general contractor, the installation of a steel frame will take a minimum of time, which will significantly speed up the construction process of the entire ADU, which means you will not have to wait for many months before you start using a new technological and comfortable space.