As the professional tiny house building industry evolves, we're seeing an increasing number of builders experimenting with different ways to get these structures up, ranging from flatpack prefabrication, to advanced timber framing techniques and CNC-cut panelized construction systems.
Steel framing is yet another option. It gives tiny homeowners an edge as steel framing ends up being lighter than wood (depending on the gauge), it's resistant to rot, pests and fire. Steel studs are also straighter than their wooden cousins, meaning a more dimensionally stable structure overall. Tiny House Swoon shows how Denver, Colorado builder SteelGenix recently finished this modernist micro-home using high-strength, lightweight steel framing.
The interior offers a contrast between the warm textures of wood, dark metal and glossy white cabinets. In this model, there are two sleeping lofts, accessible by ladder. From the looks of it, it's a bit of a tight fit up there.
The home not only uses steel framing, but also utilizes an insulated metal panel system for its walls. According to the company, the panels are filled with a non-CFC polyurethane modified isocyanurate foam, using a laminating process that uses structural urethane adhesives, heat and pressure to get the metal facings to stick to the pre-cured foam core. The system reduces construction time and gives a more insulated and energy-efficient interior, but still doesn't seem very green; perhaps other insulating materials could be used for the core, such as aerated concretes like Aircrete (more on autoclaved aerated concrete here).
In any case, the company says that their standard 3-inch insulated panel offers a whole-wall performance of R-24, equivalent to twice the thermal efficiency of a 4-inch structural insulated panel (SIP) wall, and is 2.5 times lighter than a timber-framed, 2 x 4 batt-insulated wall. The company says:
The tongue and groove design [of the metal wall panel system] creates a continuous, insulated cocoon, preventing the air leaks that result in costly energy loss. [..] We use 76% recycled steel and the overall recycling rate in the steel industry is 75% making it the most recycled material in North America. There is typically only 2% waste using steel versus 20% with wood buildings.
The company doesn't offer much in details in terms of cost and other specifications for this house, but will be exhibiting two models in the upcoming Tiny House Jamboree this October. With so many new and different systems emerging out of the woodwork (pun intended), this steel framing and insulated metal panel system is yet an intriguing alternative for potential tiny homeowners looking for improved energy-efficiency and quicker turnaround. For more, visit SteelGenix.