Non-combustible construction in relation to Tiny Houses
In response to Kim’s tiny house fire, I decided to write the following article that it may save some grief to others by discussing an alternative to wood for construction methods of tiny houses. While this article primarily discusses steel framing compared to wood framing, framing certainly is a major component in our construction. After we change our framing we can begin swapping out components and lower our combustible construction materials significantly by using items such as metal furring, z-bar and non-combustible siding. Inside we can replace wood pine surfaces with plastic laminates, gypsum or metals again. This is not to say we cannot use wood, but by using less we greatly reduce our risk exposure to fire and other problems that arise in tiny houses.
Many people are choosing to build with wood for their tiny houses due to the ease of use, availability and perceived thermal superiority over other materials. However, there is a better alternative that trumps wood in every category: steel studs. Now many people have concerns about steel studs which I will address on in order.
- Availability, Cost, Weight & Benefits of Steel
- Thermal Conductivity
- Ease of Use – How to Assemble Steel Framing
- Non-combustible Wall, Roof & Floor Assemblies
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I hope some people found this article informative and helpful in their tiny house building ideas. I encourage people to consider using steel framing as it truly can be a superior product if done well. It is not to say wood does not have its place and wood certainly can be used in conjuction with steel (particularily around door and window frames) but I truly hope steel seems at least less daunting as an option. I wish everyone the best of luck in their projects.
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