Steel Framing With FRAMECAD

We found that steel framing was most suitable for our Tiny House build. There are a lot of benefits to framing with steel, most important to the construction of a house on wheels of course is the fact it is very light weight.

The team at FRAMECAD have been brilliant and have helped us every step of the way with the framing. They have taken our drawings, worked out all the framing detail and also the engineering to make sure that itโ€™s a safe and stable structure.

Our Tiny House in FRAMECAD software

In this video we talk to Kyle from FRAMECAD about the benefits of steel framing, get a tour of their production factory and also take a look at the framing CAD file for our Tiny House.

FRAMECAD

Posted on by Bryce Posted in Tiny House Build

About Bryce

Bryce Langston is a New Zealand based actor, musician, filmmaker and environmentalist who has spent the past five years travelling the globe exploring the Tiny House movement as the creator and host of the popular online web series Living Big in a Tiny House

28 Responses to Steel Framing With FRAMECAD

  1. Dan Himmelmoe

    Hi there, when you say that steel framing is a bit cheaper, is that included installation or just the raw material?

  2. elena

    Hi Bryce,
    I currently in the design stage of my tiny home.

    You mentioned updating the plans and suppliers page, and I saw from your videos that you’re already complete with the structural aspects of the tiny house. So, my question is what was the rough estimate of the steel framing with framcad?

    Thanks, really enjoy your living big videos!

    • Bryce

      Hey Elena. Best to get in touch with suppliers directly to get an actual cost for your specific project, as costs are likely to change. Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Peter Fuller

    Hi Bryce

    Another question about insulation. Do you have any insulation between the steel frame and the wallboard? What are you using as your wallboard? A lot of people seem to use plywood, but ply straight onto steel might not have that good a thermal break

  4. Adam

    Another thing I’m wondering, have you thought about ways to deal with thermal bridging through your steel frame? This is my only real concern (esp for a tiny house where walls can’t be too thick). Its not so much a concern for me for retaining warmth…I’ve done some calculations using heating and cooling degree days for my location in Australia, and heating won’t ever be an issue (body heat of two people in winter will keep it nice and warm). More, heat gain into the tiny house during summer will be a problem.

    • Bryce

      For the size of our house, the walls really are quite thick. We have 90mm of steel frame, insulated with polyester, a polypropylene cavity batten (20mm) and then our 20mm weatherboards. All up, we have great thickness and thermal performance. Especially with the fireplace, the house will be easy to keep warm in the winter. Much of our efforts in insulation have been to reduce the heat in the summer months.

      • Adam

        Cool. So the thermal breaks are provided by the poly battens? I noticed in one of your roofing videos you have wooden roofing battens which would do the job there.

        I was looking at aerogel strips for thermal breaks…high performing…but not cheap.

        My other thoughts are to build in removeable thermal mass (basically water tanks/piping…drain the water before moving the house), and then rely on the thermal mass and night time ventilation and cooling to deal with overheating. I haven’t seen this in a tiny house though (apart from a couple that have their main use water tanks inside, eg a bladder under a couch, etc). The amount of thermal mass required in my situation is something like 3 tonnes of water…

  5. Niall Mcowan

    Hey Bryce,
    Really enjoying your Jourrney. I too I’m now considering steel framing for my project and would be very interested in your opinion.
    My tiny house is going to be my home in winter and summer living in the French Alps.
    Do you think steel framing would be a disadvantage in low temps or make no difference !
    Cheers and all the very best.
    Niall

    • Bryce

      Hey Niall. I think that steel framing would still be fine in very low temperature climates. Just make sure that you include appropriate thermal breaks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Christian Guitteaud

    I have a project for the construction of a small house. Could you do me a proposal for the provision of the elements for the realization of this project.

    • Bryce

      Hey Christian. I would check their website for a local office and get in touch with them directly. Cheers, Bryce.

  7. Drew

    Hi Bryce,
    I’m hoping to build my tiny home in California and this seems like a terrific option for me. Do you know if there are any resources for finding CAD steel framers like FrameCAD around the world?

    Thanks!

    • Bryce

      Hey Drew! Yup, head to Framecad’s website and you can find your local office there. Best of luck with your build! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Chad

    What was the cost of the tiny house frame erected in the video, ball park

  9. steve green

    Hi Melissa an Bryce, but but but … what about hanging the TV shelving or what ever would having medal frame make it hard to install some things? without seeing big screws all over the place.

    • Bryce

      Hey, nope – once it’s framed you can pretty much just treat it the same as a timber stud, and there’s no difference in hanging extra shelving or anything like that. In fact, in many cases it’s easier for all of that thanks to the pre-drilled service holes in the frame for wiring and plumbing etc.

  10. Lee

    Hi Bryce – Is steel framing considerably more expensive than wood framing?

    The reason I’m wondering is that with all the obvious benefits, I’m seeing huge numbers of new houses going up near where I live (Mosgiel, near Dunedin) and they’re still almost all wood-framed. if it’s more expensive, what sort of %age extra are people looking at? *Just curious*.

    Thanks for a really interesting vid – and for a really interesting website. I’m loving following the development of your home and the articles and vids of other people living alternatively, and look forward to seeing your tiny home in its finished state! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Bryce

      Hey Lee. Actually, steel framing is a bit cheaper than wood framing. I think we will see a lot more tiny houses framed in steel because it really does make the most sense (to me at least). Still, many builders don’t have experience with it, and so most will just go to what they know. Also, because it’s CAD based, there is less of a DIY element to the framing (as it pretty much just comes ready to be erected). Thanks for watching! Glad you’re enjoying the videos. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Harry

    Likewise, I’m very interested to know the total cost of steel framing your house (including the design process) – since steel is stronger, does that mean thinner walls and less insulation?

    • Bryce

      Hey Harry. The cost will of every part of the buily will be added to our Plans and Suppliers page once we know the final figures. Steel framing can go to smaller sizes. We were considering a 75mm frame at one point, but in the end went for a more standard 89mm frame. The difference in size is minimal in the end, and we felt that the extra insulation was important. I’ve seen a couple that have been timer framed with 45mm studs, but I don’t know how comfortable I would be with that personally.

      • Adam

        Hi Bryce
        Can FrameCad mix and match frame thicknesses in the same build? In some places in a tiny house, it makes sense to save the odd inch for extra internal space, eg, could be a spot in the kitchen, or, maximising head room in the loft (above and below). However other places the strength and insulation could be made up (eg Roof where there is no loft-that could be extra thick without negative consequences).
        Cheers!

        • Bryce

          They do have different framing sizes, but it depends on the machines they have available at the time. When we did our frame we only had 90mm available for us, but I think they can also do 75mm and 65mm. I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t be able to mix between these frame sizes, although it wasn’t an option for us unfortunately. In the end though, the amount of difference is quite minimal, and with the only internal walls being between the bathroom and the rest of the house, the extra thickness for sound insulation is also a benefit.

          • Adam

            Thanks for the info! So will likely depend on the local frame cad people and what they had.

            Yes, internal noise insulation is nice…especially when you are doing toilet business within a metre of someone cooking or eating or sleeping… haha

      • Jacob

        I’m curious if he ever gave you an idea of what the strength of 45mm studs would be compared to 75mm studs… I kept hearing that steel is a third of the weight of timber, but of course a 2×4 of styrofoam would also be much lighter than a 2×4 of wood… just giving the weight without the strength isn’t very helpful…

  12. mark

    can you post a detailed image or images of the house frame.

    • Bryce

      Hey there. Eventually, we hope to actually have the CAD file available on our site.

  13. Timothy Boye

    How much would your frame cost the average customer and in the video he said he could tell you the final weight from the cad software, what is the weight of the frame in the end?

    • Bryce

      Hey Timothy. As far as I know, the cost of framing with steel is around the same as timber framing. If I’m wrong about that I’ll let you know. Yes, we will be able to calculate the weight of the frame. We’ll put that up with the video next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

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