Not all buildings are constructed with a wood frame. Steel is another common material used in residential and commercial framing. Featuring high-quality stainless steel studs, joists and other supporting structures, it offers an attractive alternative to wood framing. However, there are a few things you should know about steel building construction before making the investment.
#1) It’s Becoming More Popular
Steel building construction has become increasingly popular over the past few decades. The Steel Framing Alliance explains that nearly half of all commercial buildings constructed today feature steel frames. Assuming this trend continues, it will soon surpass wood to become the most popular framing material.
#2) It’s Termite-Proof
Unlike wood, steel isn’t susceptible to termites or other wood-boring pests. Each year, termites cause billions of dollars in damage to residential and commercial properties. These destructive pests consume the cellulose matter within wood, weakening the building’s frame while causing costly damage in the process. Thankfully, steel buildings don’t have wood frames, protecting them from termites and similar pests.
#3) It’s Resistant to Corrosion
Steel buildings are also protected from rust and corrosion. According to Wikipedia, steel buildings are made of galvanized steel with a protective outer layer of zinc. The zinc works to protect the underlying steel from moisture that would otherwise cause oxidation and corrosion.
#4) It’s Lightweight
You might be surprised to learn that steel buildings often weigh less than their wood counterparts. A standard steel stud, for instance, weighs about 10 percent less than a wood stud of the same size. Because of this, construction companies can install them more easily.
#5) It’s Strong
Of course, steel buildings are incredibly strong, making them ideal for use in hurricane and tornado zones. Strong winds can easily bring down wood-framed buildings. Therefore, many local and state building codes require construction companies to use high-strength building materials like steel or concrete.
#6) It’s Eco-Friendly
Finally, steel building construction is good for the environment. According to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), 98 percent of all steel framing materials is recycled. Wood framing materials, on the other hand, are rarely recycled. Furthermore, steel provides energy-efficient benefits, reducing the building’s heating and cooling needs. This means occupants can reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their utility bills.
Steel building construction offers several benefits, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for all construction projects. Project managers should consider all framing options to determine which one is best suited for their project.