Steel garden rooms, as opposed to sheds or summerhouses, are constructed in the same manner as a modern home. Most are built with either traditional timber framing or, more recently, structural insulated panels. However, as the construction industry adopts new techniques, an emerging trend is to build a garden room around a light gauge steel frame.
This article will discuss what a steel frame is, its benefits and drawbacks, and whether it is a better option than a timber frame.
What exactly is a steel-framed garden room?
Timber studwork is commonly used to form a structural load-bearing frame in garden buildings. Instead of wood studs, a steel frame garden room is constructed with light-gauge galvanised steel.
Steel framing has many advantages, such as strength and speed of assembly, but it also has some drawbacks. Continue reading for an unbiased assessment of the pros and cons.
What are the advantages of having a steel frame garden room?
Steel framing is a new technique in garden room construction, but it has been a building design staple for decades. We’ve listed just a few of the reasons why metal frames are becoming increasingly popular among garden office suppliers.
Metal frames are designed and built offsite and only need to be assembled when they arrive. They’re also lightweight, making them easier to transport and handle. In practise, the shell can be built in hours rather than days.
Faster assembly means less disruption during the construction phase, as well as lower labour costs. While labour costs may appear to be a source of concern for the supplier, they are ultimately factored into the project, influencing the final price.
Simple, strong, and dependable, a metal frame will not rot, warp, split, or crack over time like a timber frame might. Steel frameworks are also resistant to pests and insects.
We’ve already mentioned that galvanised steel frames are designed and built offsite. Suppliers plan the framework using computer-aided design (CAD) tools. Structural calculations ensure that the proposed garden room is strong and long-lasting. The plans are then converted into a pre-fabricated structure that is accurate to within 0.5mm using computer-assisted manufacturing (CAM).
In contrast, stick-built timber frames are measured and cut on-site. While a timber frame may require the same amount of planning, it is inherently less accurate.
Will a steel frame rust?
Steel does not rot like wood, but it can corrode when exposed to moisture. Stainless steel, which does not rust, could be used instead, but it is often prohibitively expensive. Manufacturers instead use galvanised steel.
The process of coating steel with a layer of zinc is known as galvanisation. Zinc forms strong bonds with steel, preventing water and oxygen from reaching the underlying metal. While galvanised steel is expected to last for decades in most cases, there are some factors that can accelerate its deterioration, such as:
|Excessive humidity – not usually a problem in the UK|
|High levels of salt in the air in coastal environments|
|Exposure to strong alkalis, such as plaster or cement|
Is a steel-framed garden room better for the environment?
Steel and wood suppliers will both tout their environmental credentials. Overall, it’s a difficult subject to assess.
Steel, an iron alloy, is mined from the earth and produced in an energy-intensive process. Timber, on the other hand, is a renewable resource if it is sourced responsibly. But there’s more to their environmental credentials. Steel is completely recyclable; it can be melted down and reused without losing quality. The majority of steel frame garden rooms make extensive use of recycled steel. Timber recycling is possible, but not to the same extent.
Although steel is one of the greenest metals, timber is arguably the greener building material.
There is a common misconception about how steel framing affects building design. Walls are made up of several layers, including cladding on the outside and plasterboard on the inside. Steel frames are almost never an attractive option. Once the construction is finished, the structural frame is hidden.
Steel Garden Rooms Cost
Cost We’ve already talked about labour expenses, but that’s only one reason steel framing is affordable compared to timber framing.
It’s no secret that since the first lockdown in March 2020, the price of timber has risen in the UK. The magnitude of those price hikes is largely unknown outside of the building sector. Although steel’s price has gone up like all other building materials, it hasn’t gone up as much as lumber. Due to continuous shortages in 2022, the price of timber has more than doubled, and this trend is unlikely to reverse any time soon.
Steel produces less waste in addition to costing less than raw materials. Keep in mind that waste costs money twice: once for the price of the unused stuff and once more for the skip to dispose of it.
Steel Garden Room FAQ
How are steel garden rooms constructed?
The exterior structural board, commonly plywood or an eco board, formed of resin and wood dust, which forms the exterior cladding, a breather membrane, rigid insulation, and finally the internal leaf, which also serves as the final wall covering, make up the structure’s four layers in total.
How are steel garden rooms insulated?
There are many various materials that can be used to provide insulation, and each one has a varied level of thermal effectiveness. Mineral wool, polystyrene, and polyurethane are frequently utilised insulating materials while building garden rooms.
Do garden rooms need foundations?
Steel garden rooms definitely require foundations for stability, to put it simply. A structure needs foundations to support it by distributing its weight uniformly across the ground and keeping it strong and durable.