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Steel Frame vs Timber Frame in Melbourne – The Ultimate Guide

Are you planning to construct a residential or a commercial building? The most daunting question the uninitiated encounter while doing so is choosing the framing material. A building’s frame is its backbone, so it must be strong and secure. Timber and steel are very popular options when it comes to framing material. In Australia, timber frames have been the traditional choice as framing materials for many years as they are versatile, cost-effective, and aesthetically appealing. However, in recent years steel frame construction has gained popularity due to its strength, durability, and sustainability. 


So, steel frame vs timber frame in Melbourne– which is the best framing material? While both steel and timber framing materials have their pros and cons, your choice should ultimately depend on your budget, project requirements and personal preferences. In this blog, we will compare both framing materials so that you can make informed construction decisions. 

Overview of Steel Frames and Timber Frames

  • Steel Frames :-

    Steel frames have recently become a popular choice because of their durability, strength, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. Since they are made from galvanised steel, they are highly durable and strong. The frame sections are riveted and bolted into place to build a solid and sturdy frame. Moreover, steel frames are 100% recyclable and require little maintenance. They are a durable and reliable option for constructing high-rise, residential, industrial, commercial, warehouse and temporary building projects. 

  • Timber Frames :-

    Timber frames are made of wood and are environment-friendly. Timber frames are a popular choice among Australians because of their versatility, aesthetics and cost-effectiveness. One of the biggest advantages of timber frames is their thermal insulation properties, which means they can help keep your building warm in winter and cool in summer. Timber frames are easy to work with and can be cut to size onsite, making them an ideal framing material for residential construction.

Which is stronger- steel frame vs timber frame?

The most significant advantage of steel frames is their tensile strength. The steel frame construction can withstand extreme weather conditions, including high winds and other natural disasters. Moreover, steel frames are also resistant to warping and shrinking. Additionally, steel frames are non-combustible and have greater longevity. On the other hand, timber frames are prone to decay and insect infestations, which can compromise the structural integrity of a building. So, when it comes to steel frame vs timber frame in Melbourne, steel frames provide a building with more stability as they have the highest strength-to-weight ratio and are more robust than timber. 

Which is more cost-effective- steel frame vs timber frame?

On the face of it, timber frames are more cost-effective, but if we consider the overall costs of the home, including maintenance requirements, steel frames are more cost-effective. Steel frames can be pre-fabricated offsite which reduces the onsite labour costs. Moreover, there is no requirement to treat steel with pesticides or other chemicals; however, you need to treat timber frames with pesticides to protect them from insect infestation. Above all, the steel frame construction is lightweight and durable, making them practically maintenance-free. So, if we consider the cost-effectiveness of steel frame vs timber frame in Melbourne on the material front, steel frame is more expensive than timber. However, if we include overall costs, the steel frame construction is more economical as they require little maintenance.  

Which is more versatile- steel frame vs timber frame?

Steel frames are flexible and offer a wide range of design options. They can be fabricated into several shapes yet maintain their strength and provide structural stability. You can easily customise the frames to meet your specific project requirements. Moreover, steel frames are available in various sizes and shapes, making them an excellent choice for a variety of applications. On the contrary, timber is a water-based cellulose product and can expand and shrink due to extreme weather conditions. Additionally, timber can warp and flex, which makes it less versatile. Therefore, steel framing is more versatile between steel frame and timber frames.

Which is more environment-friendly- steel frame vs timber frame?

Steel frames are 100% recyclable and are one of the most recycled materials. Moreover, steel doesn’t require any treatment against pests and termites, reducing the need for toxic chemicals. The timber, on the other hand, is renewable, natural, non-toxic and chemical-free. Timber is also an excellent natural insulator. Therefore, timber frames are more environment-friendly when compared with steel frames. 

Which is More Susceptible to Termites- Steel Frame vs Timber Frame?

Steel frames are made from galvanised steel, which is resistant to termites and rots. Moreover, steel frame construction has a longer lifespan and does not require regular maintenance like pest control treatment, repainting and restaining. A significant drawback of timber frames is their susceptibility to termites and rot. Additionally, timber frames require regular maintenance, including pest control treatment, painting and staining, to prevent rot and infestation. Also, timber frames are prone to decay which can compromise the structural integrity of any building. So, the steel frame construction is better when deciding between steel and timber frames.


Which is fire-resistant- Steel frame vs Timber frame?

Steel frames are 100% non-combustible and do not contribute to the spread of fire. In the event of a fire, a steel frame will not ignite or burn and will not produce smoke or toxic gases. This makes steel frame construction an excellent choice for areas prone to bushfires and other high-risk fire areas. On the contrary, timber frames are combustible and highly flammable. They can quickly ignite the fire and can contribute to its spread. Steel frame construction is a more suitable choice between steel and timber frames.


Which One to Choose?

When it comes to choosing between the steel frame and timber frame, the ultimate decision should depend on your preferences and budget. Timber frames are a good option if eco-friendliness and affordability are your priority. However, the steel frame construction is the best choice if your top priorities include strength and durability. Moreover, steel frames are ideal for constructing multi-storey buildings as they are made from high-tensile steel, which provides a better strength-to-weight ratio and structural integrity. If you are looking to build steel frame construction, we at NextGen Steel Manufacturing Company would be happy to discuss your options further. Please get in touch with our team.


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