Comparing Wall Frames: Steel vs. Timber

The debate on whether to use timber wall frames or steel ones for construction is not a new one. However, if you are planning to build a home, you will still have to decide if you want to do so using timber wall frames or steel framing. So which one is better than the other? Discover the answer to that question below.


Cost is a pertinent question when it comes to construction. Between the two options, timber will cost you less and bring down your overall building costs marginally. According to, cost is the main reason why most domestic houses are built using timber frames. So how much exactly do you save when you choose timber over steel? Well, that depends on the quality you go for. But either way, you get to pay less.


When it comes to installation, both timber and steel are almost at par. It really boils down to the contractor. You should choose a builder who has had enough experience with the material you choose. In terms of prefab frames, the installation simply involves joining the frames using brackets. Timber, however, has a slight edge in that minor changes can be made easily by cutting and nailing pieces of wood, unlike metal that is a bit harder to fabricate.

Structural strength

If installed correctly, both steel and timber frames can build a solid house that is structurally safe. This simply requires that quality materials be used and expert craftsmanship be applied in regard to joinery and fabrication processes. This calls for use of hardwood timber or the use of high-quality metal grade.


There is quite a difference between timber and steel wall frames when it comes to durability. They are both affected by external factors in diverse ways. For steel frames, rust is the biggest concern as it can bring about a deterioration of the property. For timber, however, there are more risks to worry about. These include termites, borers, rot, mould, and fire. These all pose a real danger to wood frames if the timber is not well treated before installation.

Comfort and energy

Last, but not least, there’s comfort to think about. The main difference between timber and steel wall frames in this respect is thermal conductivity. Timber is a poor heat conductor and therefore has the ability to keep your home cool during hot weather and warm during cold weather. Steel, unfortunately, conducts heat between the walls. Without proper insulation and cladding, therefore, your house will get cold or hot depending on the temperature outside.

It therefore looks as though, all things considered, timber is a better option due to its cost and energy benefits. However, when it comes to durability, steel is the superior choice.