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Author Topic: Timber or steel outbuilding?  (Read 9304 times)


  • Joined Apr 2011
  • Isle of Skye - Scotland
Re: Timber or steel outbuilding?
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2013, 06:18:43 pm »
Excellent MAK.
Yes, I have a timescale hence getting the whole thing done by a company. Empty old and pay for storage, get new concrete base down and new buiding up then get "stuff" out of storage and into new. When that is all sorted I will section off to make 2 small rooms in there for "Mans doings and stuff":-))


  • Joined Sep 2013
Re: Timber or steel outbuilding?
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2013, 05:55:06 am »
I have recently finished building my home as an owner-builder. I built it myself, from the ground up, doing 90% of the work without any help. It took me 18 months. I was 67 when I started and I don't have any trade background.

Our house is in the rainforest near Kuranda in Far North Queensland, Australia, an area of high rainfall and termites. There is something of a tradition here of homes which have timber cladding with natural finish and a good deal of timber inside. This raises a couple of important issues. Timber must be protected from termites, which can be very destructive in a short time. Although a timber frame can be treated, we should always keep in mind that one day we might want to sell, and buyers want to be confident about the house not being attacked. I was also concerned that because I wanted to do as much of the work as I could myself, including the frame, there could be distortion if the timber was frequently wetted, then dried out by the sun, during the many weeks it would take me to get the roof on.

I decided to deal with these issues by building a steel frame house. Rather than buy a kit home, I took the much cheaper option of buying a kit frame, which included steel stumps, steel subfloor, walls, and roof frame. All of this was supplied unassembled for me to put together on site. There was no cutting or measuring. All components were supplied ready to be bolted or screwed together. Because of the expense of getting a crane, I assembled the roof trusses lying flat on top of the walls, then stood them up. I did have a mate to help me with the big trusses and heavy beams on the verandah, but the rest I did by myself, from the ground up, apart from laying the roof sheets. I had the stump holes bored in July and the roof sheeting went on in October.

For the external cladding we chose Darwin Stringybark, which is a good looking hardwood with a natural resistance to termites. Again, I installed this working alone, with the help of a simple third hand made from scrap timber which held long lengths in place while I screwed them to the steel frame. I sealed the cladding all around and on the ends to avoid distortion and water damage.

Inside the house I lined the lounge and bedrooms with pine VJ fixed vertically to wood battens which I had screwed onto the steel walls. On the ceilings I used fibre-cement board rather than plasterboard, for two reasons. I have no experience with plasterboard, and I thought that if we ever did have a leak in the roof the fibre-cement would dry out without any problems. However, that created the problem of what to do about the joins. I was happy to use the plastic joining strips in the bathrooms and laundry but not with the panelling in the lounge and bedrooms. My solution was to install lightweight cosmetic beams with timber strips running between them, finished with varnish. I finally installed a cork floor which we think goes very well with the timber.

It is interesting to note that the steel frame is identical with the shed frame, but the use of exterior and interior timber gives a home which looks nothing like some steel frame houses I have seen, and everyone tells us it looks very appropriate in the rainforest setting. We are very happy living in our home, and it is very satisfying to have built most of it by myself. I built for a total cost of A$135,000, including all the hidden extras.

Anthony Cole
Hammers Construction Inc


  • Joined Sep 2013
Re: Timber or steel outbuilding?
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2013, 05:57:30 am »
let me show you some pics of it

Borneo Bill

  • Joined Oct 2014
Re: Timber or steel outbuilding?
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2014, 09:00:22 am »

How did the firm who put your building up do for you? We are considering similar and would like a good local recommendation!

Thank you!


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