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Common Home Framing Options to Choose From

December 11, 2019

The frame is a critical component of a house structure. It is made up of beams joined together and comprises the skeleton of a house. 

Every house needs to be built in accordance with the current building code to ensure that the frame and all other structural components adhere to basic engineering principles. This is why houses with a sturdy home frame built on a solid foundation can last for centuries. On the other hand, a weak frame or foundation can mean a house collapsing in no time.

If you’re about to embark on a home construction project and are still deciding on what type of frame to use, consider the following home framing options:

1. Wood framing

“Stick-built” houses are the most common type of housing units. Wood framing is quite popular, particularly in the U.S. In fact, most home building bids are based on this type of frame. Wood framing is affordable, sturdy, customizable, and easy to source.

However, it needs to be treated so it doesn’t attract termites. Then again, treated wood may not work if one of the house occupants is chemically sensitive. Wood is also prone to moisture-related problems such as mold, expansion and contraction, depending on prevailing weather conditions. The fact remains, however, that wood remains a popular choice as these drawbacks can be addressed in certain ways.

2. Steel framing

Next to wood framing, steel house framing has also become tremendously popular. Aside from being naturally termite-resistant, steel is also fireproof. It is not affected by weather conditions or moisture so it doesn’t warp and mold won't grow on it. It is usually lighter than wood despite being one tough material.

One downside of steel is that it's an excellent heat conductor. Summers will be extremely hot as steel absorbs the heat from the sun. Using steel framing can lead to significant heat loss as well, which can, then, impact your heating requirements in the winter. There are some who are also concerned with the possibility of increased exposure to electromagnetic fields or EMFs due to steel being a metal. It can also get rusty, although all of these cons can be professionally addressed by your building contractor.

3. Structural insulated panels (SIPs)

As a foam sandwich of sorts, structural insulated panels or SIPs comprise an insulating foam core sandwiched by plywood, drywall, oriented strand board (OSB), or some other type of structural substance on either side. Utilizing SIPs helps create a tighter building envelope, thereby minimizing drafts, energy costs, and the circulation of allergens. SIPs are lightweight, and most of them are mold and mildew resistant as well. Compared to wood, SIPs can be erected three times faster and they have a high insulating R-value.

However, SIPs are usually pricier than traditional wood framing. They also need to be treated to not attract termites.

4. Insulated concrete forms (ICF)

There are many styles of insulated concrete forms (ICF) such as foam sheets with spacers or foam building blocks that are set up and filled with concrete which is then reinforced with steel. A major pro for ICF is its durability as it can withstand strong winds and storms. It also provides excellent insulation under different weather conditions and can improve indoor air quality due to its density. It can also improve the curing time of the concrete.

However, ICF can be costlier (though not necessarily so). It requires professional installation and quality control for the homeowner to reap the benefits.

Other framing alternatives

Aside from these four common home framing materials, you can also look into natural, eco-friendly alternative framing options such as earth block construction. You can also consider hybrid techniques that combine two or more different systems such as a wood frame construction combined with steel beams.

There are a lot of options available when it comes to home framing, but you also need to check local building codes and ensure the materials you choose fit well with the local climate.

If you need help with home construction and renovation work or have questions concerning building materials, feel free to contact us at Team Contractors.

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