The Downside of Using Structural Steel - Fine Homebuilding

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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad


The Downside of Using Structural Steel

comments (2) April 17th, 2012 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

Will the steel mean future rot? Steel I-beams that support cantilevered floors in this modernist Seattle home are proving difficult to insulate effectively.
Spot the weak points: This modernist house under construction in Seattle comes under fire for a variety of potential problems, including water intrusion and thermal bridging.
Will the steel mean future rot? Steel I-beams that support cantilevered floors in this modernist Seattle home are proving difficult to insulate effectively.Click To Enlarge

Will the steel mean future rot? Steel I-beams that support cantilevered floors in this modernist Seattle home are proving difficult to insulate effectively.


Brandon M's house is well underway, but details of how to insulate the steel are still up in the air. His major concern is condensation inside the cantilevered floors, which could lead to rot in adjoining wood framing members.

In his Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, Brandon asks whether the designer's current thinking on insulation is faulty, and if so how the design can be corrected. The conversation is the subject of this Q&A Spotlight.


More from greenbuildingadvisor.com

Building Science: Thermal Bridging

How to Get the Eichler Look Without the Energy Pricetag

Q&A: Comparing Thermal Bridging Between Envelopes


Designs in which structural beams penetrate the building envelope are very difficult to pull off successfully, Brandon is told. Even when the beams are fully enclosed inside walls and floors, as they woulld in his house, they can become thermal conduits.

The real issue, however, may be more complex. A cantilevered design offers a variety of potential points of entry for water, even if wins architectural awards. "Aligning architectural aesthetics and technical performance is a huge issue in the profession right now," one posts says. "They're often strongly at odds. It's something we all need to work on changing."

Read the whole article at Green Building Advisor.

 



posted in: Blogs, green building, insulation, steel

Comments (2)

IdahoDon IdahoDon writes: I am disapointed at the amount of architect bashing in the article as if the architect was claiming this is an energy efficient design - clearly that's not the focus of the building, and that's ok as long as the owner and architect are on the same page.

When builders and architects start nit picking the design and start proclaiming the buildings designer should go back to the drawing board because they think every building should have a high performance building envelope it seems they are out of the loop on what the intended features are as determined by the client. The owner's original question even stated his concern isn't thermal bridging but condensation - he knows this design isn't energy effient.

Once a few guys start finding fault with some parts it seems everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and start finding fault with everything from the roof on down.

Nothing about the construction detail needed in this design are difficult, but they do need to be done well for a long-term durability, but that's the nature of some kinds of buildings and that doesn't make it a bad design - designs don't have to be dumbed down to protect them from builders who aren't detail oriented.

I've seen many other questionable things come out of the green building advisor to the point I don't follow their site any longer.
Posted: 11:23 am on June 8th

ZOEROOFING ZOEROOFING writes: IF YOU TREAT THE STEEL WITH A SPECIALIZED COATING, SIGMA HAVE THESE KINDS OF COATINGS , I LIVE AND WORK MAINLY ALONG THE COAST AND I KNOW HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO USE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO PRESERVE YOUR STEEL STRUCTURE FROM CORROSION.THESE KINDS OF PRODUCTS CAN GIVE YOUR STEEL A NEW LEASE OF LIFE ,HOPE THATS HELP-FULL THANK YOU.
Posted: 11:34 am on April 23rd

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