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molonlabe18

steel vs wood studs in a wheel house

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I have been looing at building a wheel house starting this spring. And I was wondering what everyones thoughts and opinions are steel stud walls vs wood stud walls for a wheel house. I have went through a couple of fish house builds on here and seen both done. What are the advantages and disadvantages to each one and what is the best to go with?This is my first build and I am looking for as much info as I can get before jumping into this project.

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Never built one, but just thinking abiut it, steele is heavier than wood, an can produce condensation an cause wall warpage, at least woth wood if you get a leek its much easier to rrepair.

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I just about have mine done,I went with 2x3 wood studs for the walls a ceiling,haveing to do it over again I would have went with steel,having to dig through and find straight lumber and Menards is next to impossible!

When I picked up my Alum.I picked up some VHB tape like others have suggested,but since I had wood studs I had to put Alum.strips over the studs,but.....It's holding like a rock!spend the extra $$ on the tape.

I'm sure LRG will post since he has built a couple of them.

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I own more welders than nail guns Boar so I say weld it up. grin

The R-value is lower with steel but you can also fir them out to prevent condensation.

I'm going steel next time for strength. Be careful using steel with aluminium sheeting. Electrolysis & such.

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driving across a bumpy lake really puts stress on the houses, If I were building one it would be mandrel bent pipe, so the only welds would be to the frame

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You've probably seen my build on here with the steel studs (1"x2"x18gauge). My 2010 build was with 2x2 wood studs, if you haven't seen that one. This (long-winded) post is regarding building with 1x2 tube steel, NOT light gauge steel framing from home improvement stores.

If you were to consider only strength, steel is way overkill. If your trailer frame is good, you'll never ever break a wood wall...they are plenty strong. While wood is substantially less strong than steel, the overall strength of the wall comes from the complete 'system' (stud, spray foam, glued or taped siding, glued interior finishing). There is very little force on walls.

I went with steel and 3/4" horizontal furring strips almost exclusively for the insulating factor. In between each furring strip my foamer sprayed over the studs, so I only have 6 square inches of outside/inside thermal bridging on each stud. Technically my 3/4" furring strip is a thermal break, but it has very little insulating factor. My 6 square inches of furring strip on each stud is an R-value of about .75, and the face of the steel is about 4.5 (3/4" of closed cell foam). So if I take a look at the R value of my 20' side wall, with steel I have 90 sq in of R-.75, 1170 sq in of ~4.5, and 18,427 sq in of R-12+ (2"+ of spray foam since the cavity is 2 3/4"). The R value of a wood 2x2 is about 1.5. So with wood 2x2's, it would be 1,890 sq in of R 1.5, and 17,167 sq in of R 9.5 (only 1.5" deep wall cavity, and a wider stud gives a 1" narrower cavity).

Some other things to consider:

-The steel makes it way easier to install siding (tape instead of glue).

-Steel is perfectly straight.

-Wood is easier to cut.

-You can drill holes in wood for wires.

-Wires can be run over the face of the steel studs, between furring strips.

-Wood is cheaper by about $500 on an 8x20.

-Wood is a little bit lighter. HOWEVER, building your entire house with wood (2x2 walls, 2x4s for roof, corners, and around doors and windows, plywood for roof, and rubber roof) MAY actually be heavier. I saved ~300# by doing steel studs and an aluminum roof vs wood studs, wood plywood, and rubber roof. I haven't calculated it out entirely.

-Condensation is a non issue with the way I built this current house. I have zero from the studs. With the wood studded house, I had condensation at all vertical corners, and where the side walls meet the roof.

For simplicity and cost savings, I'd say go with wood. If you have access to a welder and aren't working on a tight budget, steel will give a little bit nicer final product, in my opinion. Both will be more than adequate.

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I have seen your work Lip_Ripper and I have to say that both the houses you have built were great houses. You have given me some great insight as to building a quality wheel house. A little more on the fish house I am planning a 8X16 or 8X18 with a 3'V I am willing to spend the money to make a quality house that is gonna last for years and I get to say that I built it. I am planning on doing the spray foam insulation to me it is worth the extra money in the long run. I like the steel studs for the rigidity of the fish house and the steel is straight you might add a few extra hundred pounds but with a house that big shouldn't make that big of a difference. I also like steel for the 3M VHB tape that makes the siding process a little bit easier with no glue and no fasteners. With that tape would there be any issues with electrolysis being that there is no contact of the aluminum to the steel. LRG did you prime or paint the steel studs before you attached siding?

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When i built mine i used wood to save some weight. Studs were at 24" on center with spray foam insulation. The insulation locks everything together and makes it really rigid. As far as the VHB, i made aluminum C channels to put a cap over the 2x3 studs. I didn't paint or prime the channels, but i did clean them with isopropal alcohol. The siding itself i scuffed some paint off and cleaned it as well so the VHB would have a metal to metal bond.

Hope that helps.

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I didn't paint the studs. You can, but it is an extra step, and 3M said it was unnecessary. All siding and studs were scrubbed down with rubbing alcohol and scotch brite.

I don't think you'll have issues with electrolysis since the back of the siding is painted. If you get bare aluminum on one side, you may want to paint the studs to be safe.

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Great advice and ideas all around I can't wait to get started on my wheel house. Unfortunately I will have to wait to get back home this spring before I can start. If any one else has more advice as to building any part of the fish house I am open ears.

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Great advice and ideas all around I can't wait to get started on my wheel house. Unfortunately I will have to wait to get back home this spring before I can start. If any one else has more advice as to building any part of the fish house I am open ears.

I tell everyone to get all your materials before you start. Many times you'll need to measure or fit something, and if you don't have it, you'll be twiddling your thumbs.

Draw everything out, at least on graph paper. Google's SketchUp program is great, if you want to get super detailed. I drew everything in SketchUp, so I had very few surprises. Here are some examples:

Layout.jpg

The 3D modeling really helped with placement of the little things (antenna, exterior lights, speakers, etc)

PassengerExterior2.jpg

I had cut lists for all my framing well in advance of getting my frame. The red studs are siding seams, which helped with how much seam tape I needed to order.

BackWall_zpsc1ffeb4f.jpg

Same with the cabinets.

FrontCabinets_zps3e9bb728.jpg

Super easy program to work with.

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LRG, you are definatly the resident expert! I have to remember sometimes my final goal when I look at the builds on here and build what I need, and in my case it's not a mobile lake home. You guys have beautiful houses but I live close to my lakes and seldom do overnights. I like the wide open spaces and the ability to get a little depth range in the house. I see so many houses that have less room to move around than my little 6 x 8 and wonder if thats what they started out to build. This isn't a bash against big houses just a reminder to starters to define what you want before you start. LRG's program would be a good way to see it before you bury yourself in debt.

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I have already been playing around with google sketchup as well as starting to get a list together of all the materials I am gonna need. I am drawing up a 18X8 and a 16X8 both with a 3 foot V and getting a list of all the materials for each and I am going to do a price comparision of the two and use that to decide what I can afford to build. I am expecting the 16 to run 10-12K and the 18 to run 11-13k. is that a pretty fair rough estimate if I decide to do steel stud walls and aluminum siding and an inside of tongue and grove pine or cedar? What is the best option for the floor I have seen marine grade carpet, a rhino lining and I have seen linolium but to me that seems like it would get a little slippery. Also if anyboy has some different layout options I would like to see them I have not full decided on what I want to do for a layout yet.

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I prefer wood studs for ease of use. I actually think a little give is necessary when hopping over ice. I also spay foam for extra strength. I would like to use smooth siding on my next house. Is it possible to use the tape on wood to hold siding on?

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My manufactured house has a steel frame and aluminum studs for walls and ceiling. The only issue I've experianced is condensation. One time when I lifted the house water dripped out of one of the ceiling speakers. I pulled the speaker and found vapor barrier on top of the interior wood material.

The speakers were replaced this Fall and when the original ones were pulled found them very rusty.

The house is a double axle 8x20 and weighs around 4,300 lbs. Although the aluminum cuts weight on a fish house it will condensate, much like steel.

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I would like to use smooth siding on my next house. Is it possible to use the tape on wood to hold siding on?

I believe that you can but from what I have read you have to use aluminum or steel channel on the outside of your studs because the 3M VHB tape won't really stick to the wood all that well. Otherwise your other option is fasteners which in my opinion is just a poor choice if your taking the time to build a nice house. Those fasteners to me would be just a direct way for moisture to get into your studs and start the rotting process.

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I went 8x24 hydraulic with 2x3 wood studs, rubber roof, and aluminum screw on siding. Rockguard 24" high around the bottom - complete in the wheelwells - and around the roof edges. Before I added anything to my frame I had it prepped and herculined. Love the pro spray foam walls-ceiling-floor. TG pine - vaulted ceiling - marine deck carpeting on the floor. Ceiling fans - Empire DV 215 15,000BTU wall heater(front) - Suburban 20,000BTU furnace(rear)Hardy ever use both.

I never added anything to the inside until I was sure it was what I wanted. Now I have a 48" lower(converts to table) and 48" upper bunks in the back. Oak cabinets - counter with stove/oven - two 82" bunks on the side - 10 holes - sat. tv/dvd - microwave - No bathroom(I use a pop-up for that)

The building consumed my time and effort for nearly 3 months, but now I have something that will last my lifetime. Good luck and have fun.

PS: Great job Lip_Ripper loved watching your builds.

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Is it possible to use the tape on wood to hold siding on?

3M says yes, but I haven't found it to be the case. I used PL Premium to glue smooth aluminum siding to wood studs, and it worked great.

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