House Framing Materials Guide

House Framing Materials Guide

By Emma Sarkisyan December 07, 2021

There comes a time in the life of every family when they consider expanding their living space. Perhaps your family is growing and you require more space, or perhaps you want to relocate to another area for kids’ school and you are considering purchasing a new home. More often than not, you contemplate whether to buy a ready-made house or build a new one from the ground. From a financial standpoint, building from scratch may be more cost-effective; on the other hand, purchasing a ready-made may not save you money, but it will certainly save you time. However, if you’ve always wanted to be the Da Vinci to your Mona Lisa, then this is your chance to create your own house-masterpiece.

Think about the options; you can pick the house framing material and the shape of the house. Also, you can create not only the interior but the exterior design as well. The construction technology, and thus the durability, weather resistance, and the budget amount of the finished house depend on the material you choose. The most traditional type of house framing material is wood; due to its strong hardware, it protects the house from strong winds and has a long lifespan — plus, it’s cost-saving. Nonetheless, wood framing, like any other material, has advantages and disadvantages.

Wood Framing

Wood Framing Is Commonly Used In Residential Houses

Wood Framing Is Commonly Used In Residential Houses

Wood frame house constructions are commonly used for most residential homes. This type of material stands the test of time and is easy to use. Oak and pine trees are the go-to materials for manufacturers. Pine is considered the most affordable and the life expectancy is over 50 years.  

Pros of Wood Framing:

  • Easy to carry and assemble
  • Cost-effective
  • Thermal insulation

Cons of Wood Framing:

  • Moisture vulnerability, which in turn can cause fungus. 
  • Carpenter ants
  • Fire damage risk
  • Warping: Due to temperature changes and humidity, the structure can warp over the years. 

Steel Frame Construction 

Zinc Coating Will Prevent The Steel Frame Construction From Corrosion

Zinc Coating Will Prevent The Steel Frame Construction From Corrosion

Metal products have long been used as load-bearing structures; numerous shopping malls and skyscrapers are prime examples. Metal was once considered unsuitable for the construction of private houses, but that all changed with the introduction of light steel thin-walled structures (LSTK). While wood is an excellent choice for a house's frame, another practical option can be metal, specifically steel. The structure is typically made of corrosion-resistant steel that has been treated with a special zinc coating. A steel frame home costs between $9.50 and $11 per square foot on average. 

Pros of Steel Frame Construction:

  • Long-lasting material
  • Fire resistant
  • Eco-friendly

Cons of Steel Frame Construction:

  • High thermal conductivity. This is, however, manageable with good insulation done by professional specialists. 
  • Metal corrosion. Also manageable with zinc coating.
  • May not be as strong as wood

Concrete Block Framing

This Type Of House Framing Is Cost-Effective And Practical

This Type Of House Framing Is Cost-Effective And Practical

The use of a concrete frame in construction is extremely common. Residential building monolithic construction is efficient, practical, and cost-effective. Furthermore, such structures are assembled rather quickly. Also, because the load on the structure is distributed evenly by the concrete load-bearing columns, such buildings are long-lasting.

The external walls between these columns are made of heat-resistant materials. Aerated concrete and a concrete frame are frequently used in structures of any size and complexity. These house frame designs are simple to plan, and if changes to the design of concrete walls are required, they can be made without destroying the structure. Concrete block framing constructions have walls without mounting seams. Concrete block wall installation costs between $10 and $17 per square foot. Without the concrete blocks, the cost of laying blocks is $5 to $10 per block for labor, supplies, and equipment.

Pros of Concrete Block Construction:

  • Easy to build
  • Budget-friendly
  • Seasonless. This frame is durable in any weather conditions.
  • Simple to design
  • Safe during fires 

Cons of Concrete Block Construction:

  • The thermal mass of concrete is low.
  • Some materials are harmful to your health, so choose carefully.
  • Low strength resistance. The building's frame may not be able to withstand strong winds or heavy snowfall.

Structural Insulated Panels 

Structural Insulated Panels Are Eco-Friendly and Durable

Structural Insulated Panels Are Eco-Friendly and Durable

The structural insulated panel (SIP) is made up of two oriented chipboard layers between which a layer of solid insulation (expanded polystyrene) or polyurethane foam (PUR) is glued under pressure. Oriented strand board (OSB) differs from other types of wood building boards in that it is made from high-quality wood that has been split into individual fibers in the factory rather than waste from woodworking production. To ensure high strength, they are laid in layers in a specific sequence.

Pros of Structural Insulated Panels:

    • Does not burn and does not melt under the influence of high temperatures.
    • The thermal conductivity of SIP panels made of polyurethane foam is two times better than that of SIP panels made of expanded polystyrene.
    • Insect-resistant
    • Eco-friendly
    • Affordable
    • Durable
    • Energy-efficiency

Cons of Structural Insulated Panels:

  • Require additional ventilation
  • Hard to remodel in the future
  • SIPs can be a little expensive
  • Difficult to customize

Insulated Concrete Forms

Insulated Concrete Framing Provides Good Sound Insulation

Insulated Concrete Framing Provides Good Sound Insulation

Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) create cast-in-place concrete walls with two layers of insulation material sandwiched between them. ICFs create structures with unsurpassed strength and durability. It is now one of the most powerful and energy-efficient wall systems used in residential and commercial structures. When several blocks or panels are connected with plastic ties, the forms will remain in place as a permanent wall unit. A regular 16” x 48” styrofoam ICF block currently costs between $21 and $24 depending on the state where it is purchased.

Pros of Insulated Concrete Forms:

  • Sound insulation. Thick walls create a good soundproof system. 
  • Durability. The construction provides greater durability and earthquake resistance. 
  • Energy efficiency. IFCs reduce air leakage and increase thermal resistance, providing continuous insulation that reduces energy costs by 50%.
  • Safety and comfort. The ICF design provides natural and non-toxic protection against fire and insects. It also has moisture resistance, prevents mold growth, and improves air quality. 

Cons of Insulated Concrete Forms:

  • IFCs do not work well in cold climates. This type of material works much better in warm or rather tropical environments. 
  • Cost. The material itself is not as expensive, however, the labor fees could be. You will need the help of professional contractors and the process might eat your budget. 

Remodeling can be a little challenging in the future. If you decide to change the design or placement of doors or move the plumbing system from one place to another, you will have to go through a concrete wall to do that.


Written by
Emma Sarkisyan

Written by Emma Sarkisyan