Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame: Which One is Better for a Tiny House?
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Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame: Which One is Better for a Tiny House?

|Apr 21, 2023

When building a tiny house, one of the most critical decisions is what type of frame to use. Steel and wood frames are two popular options, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In Construction framing refers to the fitting together of pieces to give a structure strong support and shape. Typically framing materials are usually steel or wood.

Choosing between the two can be challenging, as both materials have unique properties that can impact the final product. In this article, we will compare and contrast steel frame and wood frame tiny houses, taking a closer look at the pros and cons of each.

Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a professional builder, this guide will help you decide which material to use for your tiny house project.

Why Choosing The Right Frame is Important?

First and foremost, what is the importance of choosing the right frame? The right frame directly relates to the structural integrity of your home, and it affects its durability and aesthetic appeal. Moreover, various types of frames exist in the market and choosing the right one according to your needs also impacts the cost.

Additionally, choosing the right frame can impact the weight of the tiny house, its ability to be moved or transported, and the ease of construction. By selecting the appropriate frame, you can ensure your tiny house is safe and functional and meets your unique needs and preferences.

Why Choosing The Right Frame is Important?

Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame

When choosing between steel frames and wood frames, steel frames are much more durable than wooden frames. Their durability and toughness make them suitable for areas exposed to harsh climates.

Also, for steel frame vs. wood frame comparison, steel can withstand a more significant impact on wear and tear than wood. Steel is mold resistant and free from pesky termites as well.

Furthermore, steel is recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly frame. However, steel frames are pricier than wooden frames, are heavier, and need extra care while building.

Wood, on the other hand, is affordable and widely available. Plenty of customizations are available for wooden frames, and they can offer you a very aesthetically pleasing appearance for your house compared to steel frames.

Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame

Here are some pros and cons of both types of frame in brief:

Steel Frame


  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Termite/mold/fire-resistant
  • Recyclable
  • Low maintenance


  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • Less energy-efficient
  • Requires specialized tools/expertise

Wood Frame


  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Natural insulator
  • Easy to work with/modify


  • Susceptible to rot/termites/mold
  • Flammable
  • Less stable
  • Less suitable for harsh environments

Metal Frame vs. Wood Frame

Steel comes under the category of metal; however, many types of metals can be used as frames in the construction of a house or a backyard office shed. The main benefits metal frames provide compared to wood frames are structural integrity and their long-lasting nature.

When considering the battle of steel frame vs. wood frame for house, it is crucial to consider your needs. What do you require from your house or office shed? If you are looking only for durability, go for metal. For broadening customizations, wood is undoubtedly a better option.

Metal Frame vs. Wood Frame

What Types of Metals Should Not Be Used?

Metals are indeed preferred when building a solid foundation and frame. However, not all types of metals are suitable for building frames. Here are some common metals that should never be used for building a frame:


Lead is a rigid material, but it is a toxic material that poses significant threats when ingested or inhaled. Being surrounded by a frame made of lead is the last thing you want to do.


Mercury is another toxic metal that should not be used as a building material. It cannot be used to build a material under normal circumstances, given that it remains liquid at room temperature.


Aluminum is undoubtedly a popular frame material for building modern sheds and provides excellent structural integrity. However, using aluminum for building frames can be a disaster in regions with high wind, and it is costly, which makes it less accessible to builders. 

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What Types of Wood Should Not Be Used?

Similar to metals, certain types of wood should not be used in building frames. Before you go on the war of steel frame vs. wood frame for home, do read these wooden materials:

Treated Wood

Treated wood is treated with chemicals and harmful substances, making it a potential risk to your health when ingested and inhaled. These chemicals are added to preserve the wood.


Softwoods such as pine and cedar are used for framing structures. However, these materials have lower structural integrity, and they tend to wear out fast with time.


Plywood is a composite material made from layers of wood veneer. However, they are unsuitable for frames requiring a good amount of strength.

What Types of Wood Should Not Be Used?

Steel Frame vs. Wood Frame - What to Choose?

The question of steel frame vs. wood frame remains. Making the final decision depends on your particular needs and the objectives you wish to achieve. Go for a steel frame if you want structural integrity with little concern about customization and aesthetic appeal.

To set up prefab shed kits, use a wooden frame with a more appealing look and variety.


We hope that you will be able to decide if steel frames or wood frames are better for tiny houses. Always make sure to consider your options and do your research accordingly. Browse through various shed house ideas to learn what type of frames will work best with the design you wish to implement.

Also, do not forget to avoid the specific options mentioned above as no-use materials. In the end, your health matters.

Share this post with your loved ones who are considering what type of frame is suitable for building their ADU. Thanks for reading!

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