Why Choose a Steel Framed Home?

As the desire to own a home that leaves a smaller ecological footprint grows, some new trends have emerged in homeownership: steel homes and tiny homes. Steel buildings have been used for industrial buildings for years, but they have recently become popular as homes too.

Steel Frame Home Kits

Pro Can cost up to 50% less
Pro Non-combustible
Pro Stronger than wood
Con Roof elevations limited by cost
Con Municipality approval more difficult
Con Steel has lower insulation value

Wood Frame Home Kits

Pro Traditional aesthetic
Pro Wood is a natural insulator
Pro Easier to find an experienced contractor
Con Susceptible to rot and insects
Con Combustible materials throughout
Con Higher construction costs

Since steel buildings have not been traditionally used as homes, they have a reputation for not being aesthetically pleasing, but this is untrue for the steel homes built by General Steel. The General’s buildings can be beautiful and are designed to look like a home, not a warehouse.

Steel Frame House Origins

The idea of using metal to frame homes began in the 19th century in Europe, but they were using cast iron for the frames instead. Then Chicago industrialist Carl Strandlund thought he could solve the housing crisis in the United States with prefabricated porcelain-enameled steel.

Lustron Steel Framed Home in NY

Above is the original erection manual and one of the 1,500 Lustron steel frame homes still standing today. These steel homes sold for $8,500 in 1947 when these homes were originally manufactured.

Strandlund’s steel framed houses were first introduced after World War II in the United States. There was a sudden demand for housing from the soldiers who were returning home, so the Lustron Company built 2,500 houses for them, but promised 45,000. These homes took 350 hours to put together and contained 3,300 individual pieces. Approximately 1,500 of these homes are still standing today, and many of them are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“It has a sort of late ‘40s, ‘50s new modern America appeal,” says Megan Wood of the Ohio Historical Society. “And you don’t have to paint it, you can clean the walls with Windex, and you can hang things with magnets.”

Wood Framing Inside Steel Framed Homes
Why Wood Quality is Declining

Wood products have declined in quality in recent years; the hardness and durability have declined, partially because of the protections of old growth forests. This means a wood framed home just cannot stand up to a steel framed home. The bolts used to put a steel framed home together are also incredibly stronger than the nails used to put a wooden home together. Your steel framed home will require significantly less maintenance over the years than a wooden home would, because of its resistance to some of the problems wooden framed homes face.

“The changing quality characteristics of the wood supply have a profound impact on wood processing and utilization throughout the value recovery chain. They will eventually impact on the forest products industry and affect customer satisfaction. They also raise new issues for forest management to deal with.”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Steel Frame Homes Are Green

Financing and Insurance

Banks and other money lenders often see steel as investments that are less risky, which can help you get a loan for building and a mortgage on the property a little easier than a house that is less sturdy. Insurance can also cost you less in a steel framed home because it is resistant to fire, earthquakes, wind, and water damage. It is possible for you to increase your property value and save money on property taxes with a steel home because it can be considered a capital improvement. A capital improvement is a permanent building on your property that will enhance the property’s overall value, adapt the property to new uses, or increase the property’s useful life.

Construction Timelines

Steel buildings are prefabricated offsite and are easy to assemble when they arrive. These buildings take 50 percent less time to construct than wood or stone buildings do, and you do not have to work with an architect, saving you on costly fees. Putting together your steel framed home is DIY friendly and does not always need the aid of contractors.

Faux Stone Siding on Metal Frame Home
With a plywood backing over the metal siding, GenStone faux stone siding attaches easily to metal siding with screws or glue.

Kits for Personal Use

General Steel’s metal buildings are custom designed to suit your needs and come in a variety of easy to assemble kits that make a perfect addition to any personal property. Headlined by our popular steel frame homes, we also offer other residential focused buildings such as garages, carports and workshops to add space and functionality to your personal property.

Customization and Expansion

Our steel frame home building kits are completely customizable to give you the floor plan of your dream home, without breaking your budget. Your home’s exterior can be designed however you wish, so it does not need to look like a large metal shack; you can make it look as ornate as the Colonial down the street. Steel buildings are also easier to expand upon than traditional buildings. If you reach a point where your home is too small, and it needs to grow, it is not difficult to add on to it, or even make changes to it.

Metal Frame Home Kit with Attached Shop
This 30x80 steel frame shop and living quarters provides ample space for an auto shop or small manufacturing operation in addition to an equally accommodating home.


Another possibility that has become popular in recent years, for making your steel framed building for both your home and business is barndominiums.

Barndominiums, or “barndos,” are large barn-style buildings with living areas for people. Living near your livestock is a common practice for farmers, but traditionally the home was a separate building from the barn. With a barndo, you can have space for your livestock or whatever else you need room for attached to your home. This can help save you money when buying land, since you do not have to carve out a piece of the land for a separate building to live in, allowing you to maximize the space you have on your property. Your living expenses will also decrease since you will only be paying energy expenses for a single building.

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