Steel Framed House-Design-Engineering

Mr. Heldmann,

I plan to put my house on the market next summer and purchase land to build my next home. I have a fabrication background in steel. I have been in this field for 25 years. The prints I use are basically the same as house plans, just with steel and of different subjects. I also took mechanical drawing in tech school (years ago!) So I’m not too ignorant in matters such as these. Also I learned much from my father who is the jack of all trades type. I plan to act as my own contractor.

We live in a very rural area with no building inspections. The only requirement is a perk test. This is not to say I plan on skimping on construction. I have always been one of the overkill types.
I plan to use 2×6 exterior walls and truss floor supports.

The last of my children will be leaving in a few years and I want to downsize my next home.

I like the exposed wood ceilings with somewhere around 4×8-10 support beams. I have looked on many sites but can’t find one that shows a diagram of the roof/ceiling construction in a cross section type view. I have wondered how the roof is constructed above the exposed ceiling boards and how it is attached to the walls and insulated.

In my mind’s eye, every way I can think of seems to put outward pressure on the walls.
I do plan to subcontract some of the work, but much I can do myself. I will definitely need help with the roof/ceiling area as I plan to have a 12/12 pitch. I would just like to understand more on how such a roof system works, is attached to the walls and is insulated.
I have also seen on some home builder shows where these type roofs can be purchased in sections.

Where can I go, via the Internet I guess, to find answers to these questions?
If it is of any importance, the house I plan to build will only be around 1000-1200 square feet. Great room with a single bedroom wing, eat in kitchen, combination bath/utility room and a second bedroom and bathe in the area above the kitchen-bath/utility.

I would like to keep the same ceiling look through out the house, even in the bedroom wing.

I have a neighbor friend that is an architect and can design the plans. I just would like to lay eyes on this roof system first. I know there are cross beams and such. I just can’t seem to get it out of my head that there would be greater outward pressure on the walls with a ceiling/roof system such as this.

I also think I would like to use steel plates at each joint where the crossbeams and ceiling joists connect.

Probably 1/4″ or 3/8″ plates, painted black, with through bolts.

With my steel fabrication background I was wondering about using steel plates to connect the roof trusses to the walls.

Or is that a bit much? What do you think?



Hi Keith,

A properly designed and constructed roof regardless of the design, puts absolutely NO outward pressure on the supporting walls.

Your architect friend can draw you a cross section of any roof design, and in fact, probably has existing examples.

Virtually any house plan designed for wood construction can be converted to steel frame construction.

You might want to read my article on “Steel Frame Homes

Here also is a web site, Steel Framing Alliance that lists 982 Steel Frame designers, engineers, fabricators, crews, etc., nationwide.

With your experience, you should do well.
Good luck,
Carl Heldmann (2016)

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