When you're ready to have a new home built, your contractor or builder may discuss your options for framing; these usually include a standard stick-built frame made of wood studs and beams, or a timber frame, which is composed of very large, thick beams that are often left exposed in the home's interior. Some builders might also give you the choice of a steel frame. To ensure you make the right choice about the framework of your new home, note a few important questions you might have, or that you'll want to discuss with your builder before moving forward with your home's design.
Isn't steel the strongest, therefore the best frame material?
It is true that steel, while often being the most expensive choice, is very strong; however, as with home security, glazing on windows, and other such features for a new home, you don't always need the most expensive option on the market to suffice. Rarely does a standard residential home, even a large one, need the strength of steel to hold its weight. A timber frame is typically considered stronger than a standard stick-built frame, so consider that option if you're worried about your home's overall strength.
Timber framing is good, but what if I don't want a home that looks like a church?
One of the advantages of timber framing is that it's very versatile; if you don't want to keep the beams exposed, you can cover them with drywall, like standard ceiling joists. You can also paint the beams the same colour as the ceiling, so they don't look as rustic. You can even paint them black if you want a modern look in the home! Discuss these options with your builder if you like the idea of timber frames but not the rustic look they may offer.
What about the environment?
If you're very eco-conscious, note that recycled steel can be used for a new framework, but not all steel manufacturers will use recycled pieces. Standard stick-built frames usually include a lot of wood waste, as the beams and joists need to be cut onsite, so there is quite a bit of trimmed wood left behind. In some cases, a builder or contractor may collect these to be recycled, but they often wind up in landfills. Timber frames usually involve the least amount of waste, as they're cut and fabricated in a factory, shipped to the construction site, and then attached to each other to create the home's frame. They can be the most eco-friendly option of all your choices for your new home's framing.