Wood is a traditional material used in the construction industry. However, as reliable as the material’s track record is, the construction industry is moving in a more progressive and modern direction that explores substituting alternative materials for wood.
Steel framing is an increasingly popular choice among construction companies in recent years. “The process involves the use of cold-formed steel (CFS) framing components like studs and tracks to frame a structure that is proving to be stronger than ever before,” said Michael Evan Salley With many other benefits to its use, here are the top ten advantages to steel framing construction:
- Weight- Steel is denser than wood, which results in steel weighing more. However, when comparing it to the lightest wood beam, the steel I-beam is lighter. Michael Evan Salley, a graduate of Clemson University’s Construction Science and Management Master’s program, states that using steel framing will decrease labor needed for projects due to its lighter weight requiring less workforce.
- Design- Engineers have designed steel materials for framing to be pre-cut to a specific way before being shipped out of the manufacturer. This additional manufacturing step allows for human error with cutting and measuring steel on a job site to be eliminated. The pre-designed steel also has proven for more significant buildings to be finished in a matter of weeks rather than months, or even years.
- Project Execution- Pre-cut steel is a significant contributor to completing projects faster. Quick project execution not only benefits staying on schedule, but it also helps immensely with the delays long-term construction can cause to the surrounding community.
- Versatility- Steel can mold into almost any shape. The versatility of steel opens a door for architects in both commercial and residential construction to test their levels of creativity without having to sacrifice safety or flexibility.
- Environmental Impact- Can steel be recycled? Yes. Recycling steel at the end of its life span helps preserve natural resources and energy. One ton of recycled steel can replace 120 pounds of limestone, 1400 pounds of coal and 2500 pounds of iron ore. Construction projects that use steel framing help future generations successfully preserve the earth by having the option to recycle older houses when renovation comes time.
- Durability- Over time, wood can rot, become termite invested, and be expensive to replace. The strength of steel requires minimal maintenance and can save homeowners thousands of dollars over 50 years.
- Production- The revolution in steel production continues to bring more quality to its product. The high demand for steel has caused the prices for the material to drop significantly more than it ever has in the past twenty years.
- Weather- The strength and durability of steel can resist heavy snow, high winds, fire, and earthquakes. Insurance companies take this into account, and buildings with steel framing are often subject to lower premiums.
- Hybridization- While some homeowners are eliminating wood from their build, others are hybridizing wood and steel. Steel is favorable for its durability and versatility, and wood is an excellent material for insulation. The two combined create a powerful duo that covers the opposing material’s weaker characteristics.
- Financial Savings- “Steel is a money-saving material through and through,” said Michael Evan Salley. The ability to recycle steel eliminates landfill costs for non-recyclable project scraps. Steel’s lightness results in lower shipping costs, decreased labor costs, and reduced project time. Construction projects that finish on schedule or before save on interest payments required to make to the lender during the progression of the build.