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The main differences between timber frame construction and steel frame construction

02 May 2019

Steel frame construction or timber frame construction?

A construction method that uses many load-bearing elements with a limited section is frame construction.  This method is based on load-bearing frames that can be filled with insulating material.  One of the most important things concerning working with frames is the possibility to automate and prefabricate the systems.

Just as a variety of materials can be used in traditional construction, many options exist for frame construction. The main differences between steel frame & timber frame can be found below.

Steel frame construction

Construction

  • Frame constructed from steel profiles (C or U)
  • sheet elements provided by structural sheeting (osb, Durelis, etc.) or wind bracing
  • anchoring with foundation using standard or chemical anchors

Insulation

  • In the frame:
  • Rock wool or fibreglass wool (acoustic insulation)
  • External frame: Insulating plating (thermal insulation)

Spans

  • Large span & cantilever possible
  • Use can be made of trusses or hot rolled steel

Comparative characteristics

  • Corrosion, moisture and vermin resistant
  • Shrink-free
  • Light in weight/can be moved manually
  • Architectural freedom

Timber frame construction

Construction

  • Frame constructed from wooden framework
  • sheet elements provided by structural plating (osb, Durelis, etc.)
  • Anchoring of foundation by means of chemical anchoring

Insulation

  • In the frame:
  • Rock wool or other
  • External frame: insulating plating

Spans

  • Limited span & cantilever possible
  • Using wooden I-profiles/beams

Comparative characteristics

  • Sensitive to moisture & vermin
  • Wood moves: shrinkage and creep damage
  • Heavier than cold-formed steel profiles
  • Sustainable
  • Limited architectural freedom