With my extensive years in building tiny houses I can level with you that planning can be difficult. Especially when it concerns building choices in materials like opting for a steel-framed tiny house.
Many people have been asking if is steel cheaper than lumber and if steel is too heavy for relocating your tiny house? these are all valid questions and we go over what you need to know to make a wiser decision.
I will be breaking down everything you need to know about the facts about steel frame tiny homes, how much it would cost you and every other important detail.
Are steel frames the best options for tiny homes?
While there are myriads of tiny house designs you can explore, many tiny house enthusiasts are turning their attention to steel frame tiny homes for obvious reasons.
To start with, steel frame tiny homes are easy to build.
Plus, you can always buy refurbished steel frames for your tiny house projects.
This option will allow you to save some extra bucks you can deploy for other aspects of your small home project.
In terms of customisation, steel frames provide excellent customisation opportunities.
So if you have always wanted your tiny home to look different, now is a brilliant time to consider getting a steel-framed-inspired tiny home.
The icing on the cake is that steel-framed tiny homes are durable.
So if you’re interested in a tiny house that will serve you many years down the line, you won’t be disappointed to opt for a steel frame tiny home.
What is the cost of a steel frame?
When it comes to cost, steel frames for tiny homes are more expensive than other tiny home designs, and the reason is simple.
Installing steel frames will require that you invest in special tools.
And if you decide to outsource the job to a professional, you’ll spend even more.
Just so you know, making metal wood frames for your tiny home will cost you 20 to 30% more than you would have spent building metal frames.
And if you factor in the extra cost of insulation, rust prevention and the extra work of modifications, you’ll understand why steel-framed tiny houses costs are expensive.
The good part, however, is that steel-framed tiny homes enjoy lower insurance fees.
The average cost of a steel-framed tiny home is around $20,000 to $30,000, and this can go higher depending on your unique customisation request and the size of your home.
Pros of steel-framed tiny homes
There are many exciting benefits of using steel frames for your tiny house project.
While steel is lightweight and way better than wood, it has other brilliant advantages as a framing material.
Here, check them out
In terms of durability, steel is way better than wood and other materials used for tiny house projects.
Unlike wood, steel does not expand or warp.
Because steel is flexible and can bend without cracking, it can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.
Steel is estimated to last almost 150 years, regardless of how it is exposed.
Thanks to being fire-resistant, steel will prevent fire spreads.
Despite its inflammability, steel loses strength when exposed to temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Considering that residential house fires can reach a whooping 1000+ degrees Fahrenheit, it means steel frames will only retain 50% of their actual strength in case of fire emergencies.
Steel is moisture resistant
Unlike wood which succumbs to mold, steel has proved to be highly resistant to mold.
To this end, it can withstand water damage without taking a beating.
Also, galvanised steel and zinc coating treatment tend to increase steel frame performance and make it resistant to rust.
Steel saves time
When building steel frames for tiny homes, you don’t need to deploy heavy equipment.
And yes, steel frames can be premade and transported easily to your desired location.
Also, assembling steel frames is not as challenging as you imagine.
Many times, steel frames for tiny homes come with pre-made holes, making the entire process easy for you.
One thing we love about steel frames for tiny homes is that they are easy to customise.
This makes it easy to bring your ideas to life.
And thanks to being easily customisable, you can seamlessly add cladding options such as vinyl, cement and more to make your home look stunning.
Steel frames are environmentally friendly.
And the reason is that they are not made from harmful chemicals.
And yes, steel doesn’t require any chemical processing before it can be reused.
Another thing we love about steel is that it is 100% recyclable, which is a big deal.
Cons of steel frames
Though steel framing has many exciting benefits, it isn’t without a few drawbacks.
Here is what we don’t like about steel framing for tiny homes.
Insulation is challenging
One of the biggest letdowns with steel frames is their poor insulation.
Also, it suffers from low energy efficiency.
And the reason is that steel tends to conduct more heat, especially when compared to wood.
Because of thermal bridging, steel loses 60% of its insulating properties.
To fix these problems, most tiny house owners spend extra, wrapping insulation boards around steel beams.
Also, some people prefer to use hybrid steel/wood frames.
Whatever the solution, you’ll still have to spend more.
Even though steel-framed tiny homes are durable, they have quite some limitations, especially when it comes to design.
Unlike wooden roofs that can be tweaked, metal-framed roofs cannot be easily tweaked.
That said, you can add a wooden frame for the roof to solve the design limitations of steel-framed homes.
Despite being immune to damage, rust is the biggest issue confronting steel frames.
Once exposed to leaks for prolonged periods, your frame may succumb to rust damage, ultimately affecting the stability of your home.
It may even lead to a costly repair.
Thankfully, you can deploy coatings and paints to prevent rust.
Frequently asked questions
Can I customise steel frames for tiny homes?
Compared to wood, steel frames are not easy to customise, especially when you consider the limited roofing ideas.
That said, a professional can easily incorporate brilliant design ideas.
How much does a steel frame tiny home cost?
To be honest, steel frames are more expensive than wood frames for tiny homes.
In terms of pricing, expect to pay between $20,000 to $30,000 for a fully completed steel-framed tiny home.
Can I buy a pre-made steel frame?
If you want your steel-framed tiny house ready quicker, you can opt for a pre-made steel-framed home.
Once ordered, you only need to assemble everything on site.