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ScottieandDani

Build with Steel or Timber?

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Hello

 

Can anyone help us in making a dicision to build using steel or timber, I know the timber is prone to Termite problems but steel is a pain for home improvements and hanging pictures tv's and stuff

 

any comments???

 

 

Thank you

 

 

Scottie

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Have you thought about concrete? Lasts longer, environmentally friendly, retains heat/cool - could use a precast concrete frame with hollowcore or beam and block flooring - worth considering...

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Guest wanderer

As Weasie mentions there's a lot of thought you can put into alternative materials and not to mention house siting for best environmental conditions, wind as well as solar for ovrall energy advantages.

 

In addition to precast concrete, I've also seen a process using polystyrene hollow blocks then concreted within and also renedered I think - a while ago but I'll see if I can dig up the magazine it was in [lent to a friend] to reference it.

 

But back to steel and hangings, a TV ain't going to be done all that often and as for pictures, there's special hooks for putting on to plasterboard.

And you may even decide to go with some internal timber feature walls which will also add to insulating properties.

 

And then for timber, there's quite a few termite resistant timbers and/or treatment/defense systems that are pretty good against termites.

 

I'd say get yourself along to some display homes of steel frame and have a good look at what lining options you have, and attachment means and then also look up something like the Timber Development Association in whatever State you're in as some have some great display centres, all about working with timber.

 

Another option you may want to consider, especially if in a semi rural or rural location and looking for a rustic look is the solid or semi solid/veneer logs look.

There is a house right near end of Scoresby Road Bayswater, Vic. if you're down that way and that was a display home for Conifer Craft Homes, a great insulating example and they used a fully machined log which gave a great finish.

Didn't find them directly with a google but they are listed on Kit Homes in Sydney - dLook [possibly a different co.] with many others.

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Guest scouse Alan

Lots to think about here when you are deciding to biuld you have to think are you doing it yourself? (home buider)is a builder doing it, does he/she normally use steel? as if not the costs will be higher, Lets look at the pros and cons of each product because they all have their good and bad points.

Timber A timber frame is susceptible to termite or fungal attack but these are protected against by termite barriers and regular observation of your property, it is said here in Australia there are only 2 types of homes those that have termites and those that will get termites. If your barrier is places properly and you have regular inspections, timber is a great way to go, easy to work with, easier for each trade when working with timber,and cost effective yes Tiber with a veneer is a good build,

 

Steel Steel of course does not get eaten away by termites or is not prone to fungal attack, its cost effective light structurally as good as timber, however to work in steel is so much more harder for the trades no nailing every thing is screwed, and for the trades. I personally think it takes longer to build, now the down side of steel is a lot of noise expansion, and contraction when the temps changes it creeks like billyo and temps change through the night so some noises.

 

Concrete tilt slab, Again will a builder use just concrete. tilt slab has been used but with only being 70 / 100ml thick I think not the best for a residential property great for factory units and out houses. but termite proof and cost wise I'm not sure as services would cost with having to line every wall and cieling as you have have to do this to hide electrical and plumbing, so again you would have timber ot steel framing around the structure so No I dont think tilt slab is the way to go.

 

concrete block. structurally sound,termite proof little more expensive than timber or steel if done properly, as to concrete fill a structure a little more expensive,(but will last untill the end of time) the outside can be rendered and painted the inside dry lined (stick on gib board) its cool in summer and warm in winter.

 

double brick This method of building has always been with us and is a proven way to build little more expensive (but will be here in 150years).

 

conclusion all of these methods of building a home are viable they all have to treated for termite all have their advantages and disadvantages, It all comes down to your personal choice and total trust in yourself or your builder, however you build always remember no water no moister no termites Don't let moisture accumulate near the foundation. Termites don't go around looking for houses. They simply hunt for easy supplies of food and water. If they find what they need at your house, they'll establish colony. If not, they'll ignore your house and colonize a dead tree stump or your neighbor's house instead.Termites usually get the water they need from damp soil, although they can also get moisture from wet wood. Their food source is wood or anything made from wood:

which ever way you build make sure you do it properly with a registered builder, you then have peace of mind and a secure property to sell on and make money . Alan

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It also depends on the site classification what you can build with; AS2870 lists the classifications versus the building methods, basically extremely expansive soils cannot have a regular slab footing for a full masonary house, blocks and concrete walls come under this classification. Whether you want vaneer walls or simply cladding makes a difference to the amount of slab you have to have poured; a fibro house on a Moderately Reactive site needs 400mm of concrete, a solid masonary with expansion joints needs over a metre from memory (don't have the Standard open at the moment)

 

Alan has given a great run-down. Steel is bloody expensive now (I recently saw a quote for over $200,000 for the frame alone in steel), and is not recommended for fire-prone areas as it can warp in extreme heat (how that's better than bursting into flames I don't know). Timber is far more easily workable, make sure you get treated timber (pink or green stained) and don't let them fob you off with untreated on the grounds that it has termimesh at the base; what happens when they come in the roof instead?

 

Hardwood is a good compromise if you can find anyone who builds with it these days.

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Guest marco1

Can anyone help us in making a dicision to build using steel or timber, I know the timber is prone to Termite problems but steel is a pain for home improvements and hanging pictures tv's and stuff

Scottie

 

I suppose you are talking to build in Australia right?

 

If I am correct, then

a) forget "alternative materials" what a joke.

b) If you are in Perth, go full brick, it is cheaper and clearly better building.

c) if you are in the eastern states, full brick is still the best way to build. Metal is ok for office partitions and the like, but for a full frame on a brick veneer home, it can be noisy and keeps on creeping and cracking with the changes of temperature, plus, in case of fire the roof will collaps all at once giving you almost no chance.

d) If you have extra money to throw around, see if you can get an 100x50 oregon frame rather than a 90x45 pine frame, but if it blows the budget, don't swet over it

Just make sure you get a proper termite barrier pumped in the ground and ask it to be done wtih Termidor and not Biflex. Termidor is a bit more expensive but is the same stuff you put on your cat or dog to kill the flees whislt Biflex is rather nasty. Plus Termidor kills the termites nest and Bilfex just repells them.

 

Give us more details of where nad how do you intend to build.

 

Best of luck and for more technical questions related to building try this site

Renovate Forums :cute:

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Guest brooksey

As mentioned ,make sure all your timber framing is termite treated(studs,joists,flooring and roof. You have to have termite barriers by law.

If the fire gets near the house the temperature can warp the steel even without penetration, where as wood only burns if the fire reaches it.

Termites prefer eating hardwood to softwood.(or so iv'e been told)

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Guest marco1
Termites prefer eating hardwood to softwood.(or so iv'e been told)

 

Not really, a frame out of hardwood, is more termite resistent than a pine or oregon one.

However they still can go into dry hardwood.

I built a shed out of recicled hardwood taken from the local tip. A stuff that you can not bang a nail in without pre-drilling. I have a radial arm saw against one of the walls and a lof of saw dust accumulated against one of the studs. The termites attracted by the smell of the orgeon sawdust, had a go at the hardwood of the stud and successfuly chomped away a third of if for a foot or so in leanght. but stopped there.

I had an easel built in oregon 4x2 that I left on the ground for a few years untouched. I took it once to paint a fnece and stand on it and as I touched it it pulverised. Only the paint and a fine veneer of timber was left.

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Guest scouse Alan

I agree with Marco double brick I have built double brick and no probs this home Ive now built is 8inch block solid concrete, but we are really getting away from what scottie and danni asked the ques was timber or steel I personally would go timber if I wasnt a brickie because I build venneers on steel and timber and timber every week and for each trade it is easier and 90% of homes in eastern queensland are timber no probs as long as you get a termite barrier done properly and get an inspection done yearly the home will or should be secure of course barriers do get damaged by trades ive seen it done many a time but the question wasnt really about termites. So for me Id say TIMBER. Alan

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Thank you for your comments we are having Metricon build our home in Brookwater in Ipswich. A 2 storey town house 33squares in steel is costing us only $3000 more than timber. The local Architect suggests steel.

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Guest scouse Alan

Hi scotti and dani congrates on your decision you are building with a good company I contract to metricon and they are a first class quality builder, Alan

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My younger brother completed a postgraduate course in environmental architecture at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

 

He reckons that going with a lot of Thermal Mass is the way to go. As other posters have mentioned, it'll help keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. Lightweight structures (such as timber and probably steel) quickly change temperature to match the environment.

 

The other thing is to insulate on the outer walls, rather than in a cavity or internally. That's how the Germans do it.

 

Oh and concrete isn't environmentally friendly, as it's one of the biggest sources of CO2.

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Guest

Your brother will know more than I so please ask him, I believe that thermal mass is needed internally but not externally - concrete floors good, brick internal walls good eg reverse brick veneer or heat sinks but not external brick.

 

We are building a timber frame house with internal heat sinks. Amazingly we have found out the best material 4 a heat sink is water - still working out how we could do that.

 

Btw I did a lot of research on brick v timber & I could find no independent studies to support brick as a building material - plenty of opinion & so called evidence from brick companies but nothing unbiased. About the only reason I could come up with was it would probably be easier 2 sell.

 

Jules

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I believe that you're right Jules.

 

A lot of "eco consultants" advise fitting insulation inside the building (i.e. on the inner side of the walls) during renovation. My brother says that this is a bad idea as it makes the house a lightweight structure, and thereby looses the thermal mass.

 

His advice was that if you want to do something like that then you need to put the back in somehow, such as with brick walls or flagstone floors.

 

As for water, I've heard that some Earthships use (full) cans of beer to construct fridges. That might be an option if you can stop the builders from emptying them first...

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Guest marco1
Oh and concrete isn't environmentally friendly, as it's one of the biggest sources of CO2.

 

So says who? The same scientist that made up the global warming and conned half of the world?

CO2 is not a pollutant, and is only a trace gas in the athmosphere. Anthropogenic (man-made) CO2 contributions cause about 0.117% of Earth's greenhouse effect, this is insignificant!

And you want to give us a guilt trip about using concrete for it not being "environmentally friendly!"

Honestly, I am so sick and tired of reading this con everywhere that I am loosing my confidence in the human ability to discern antyhing at all. I am afraid that the majority have a TV set in stead of a brain.

 

I am not environmentally friendly. I am the most environmentally unfriendly person you will ever meet. I emit CO2 and CH4 galore...but so do most humans I am afraid. If we listen to this crap any longer we will be asked to kill ourselvs to 'save the planet'.

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Guest wanderer

Jules,

Your brother will know more than I so please ask him, I believe that thermal mass is needed internally but not externally - concrete floors good, brick internal walls good eg reverse brick veneer or heat sinks but not external brick.

 

We are building a timber frame house with internal heat sinks. Amazingly we have found out the best material 4 a heat sink is water - still working out how we could do that.

 

Btw I did a lot of research on brick v timber & I could find no independent studies to support brick as a building material - plenty of opinion & so called evidence from brick companies but nothing unbiased. About the only reason I could come up with was it would probably be easier 2 sell.

 

Jules

 

It really depends on the climate one is building for as to how much cost you want to put into heat sinks etc.

I've seen a couple of interesting designs using water if you want to build to an alternative design, things like water towers in the external wall that actually rotated, the theory being that the water heated during the day and then rotated, it would radiate internally at night.

Another made use of a tennis court pavement and you could do the same thing with a paved courtyard, a piping system that had water heating and transferring the water into the house concrete slab and you can do the same with a solar water heating system, using HW pipes instead of electric coils and that approach is used from water boilers in Europe.

 

And then as you've indicated, if you build internal brick walls as heat sinks, you need to position them to get the suns rays during the day and then have window shuttering/curtains etc. to retain the house warmth.

There are some very good Scandinavian designs where they are designing houses for minimal energy use, the best of insulation, small double/triple glazed windows, airlocks on doors etc. and even using human generated heat exchangers on household ventilation.

 

But these are the kind of things you might go for in climates where the bulk of the year would mean a lot of heating to be comfortable.

Depending on where one is in Australia, it is more likely a few months where substantial heating may be necessary, a few when it's a neutral situation and most months of people wanting to be cooler, something as simple as roof space ventilators, Whirligigs with ceiling insulation being all that is mostly necessary, ceiling mounted fans used by most in the more tropical areas as an alternative to Aircon which ought to be reverse cycle if you will want some heating for it is the most efficient form of electricity use.

 

Bricks as an external product are more low maintenance and for aesthetics though a lot of it now gets rendered and only time will tell how good it is for both.

 

Graesay's Bro is right to some extent with

A lot of "eco consultants" advise fitting insulation inside the building (i.e. on the inner side of the walls) during renovation. My brother says that this is a bad idea as it makes the house a lightweight structure, and thereby looses the thermal mass.

 

With renos in particular it is more the practicality and again cost as to what an owner may want to do, for instance putting insulation on the outside of brickwork, battening it and then either corrugated iron [Yes it is making a comeback] or cement sheet for facing stone/brick/timber or rendering is going to be Quite a job and will certainly change the look of a house with deeper window wells alone.

Eaves will also be reduced though that is probably somewhat insignificant with many houses having been built without them.

 

I know of at least one older pub that looks a bit odd with a stud wall, timber inner lining and nothing on the outside [all under a verandah though] and perhaps it also used to have corrugated iron sheets cladding.

Honestly, I am so sick and tired of reading this con everywhere that I am loosing my confidence in the human ability to discern antyhing at all. I am afraid that the majority have a TV set in stead of a brain.

 

You must be happy with me that Tony the not so Mad Monk got up by a whisker Marco!

Thank you for your comments we are having Metricon build our home in Brookwater in Ipswich

Ipswich is renowned for getting hot in summer S&D and wouldn't have actually been my choice for a location near Brisbane, too far inland to get any good sea breezes, and also gets a little cooler nights/mornings in winter than closer to the coast but get insulation in the walls and ceilings and with bedrooms upstairs, heat rises so should be cosy enough for winters at night and Whirligigs for summer will be the go, and a few ceiling fans could even see you getting by without Aircon.

Some builders have also been using a lightweight thicker composite sheet material for upper story cladding for a few years too and so ask about that as they ought to know.

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Guest kevinboomer

hey guys

 

Well done Marco 1. Couldn't agree more!!

 

In the UK i get sick of these so called di!&head celebrities telling us if we don't stop leaving our tv's on standby we will encourage the wrath god upon us and the four men of the Apocolypse are gonna ride down our high streets and reak terrible vengance upon us all!! With tales of flooding, drought (make up your mind! Are we gonna drown or die of thirst??)

That little red light on my tv???? Come on !! Have they ever been to Vegas?!! Obviously not!

 

Anyway! Go timber,thats wot i say.It's cheaper, sustainable and easier for all concerned.

 

Kev

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