Steel is one of the most versatile construction materials. It can be used in various building applications spanning from more minimalistic structures such as warehouses and garages to large commercial buildings such as schools, offices, public facilities, and factories. Due to its durability, affordability, and sustainability, the steel frame construction is usually the preferred framing method for many contractors and builders. Additionally, as it is fabricated offsite, it can help to save high labor costs and valuable time. Learn the pros and cons of using steel framing.
Benefits of Steel Frame Construction
- Fire-Retardant Material
Compared to materials such as wood, steel frame is significantly more resistant to catching and spreading fire in an emergency. This heavily reduces the risk of the building burning and limits its structural damages. In addition, the material is usually layered with a flame retardant coating to prevent the spread of flames.
- Customizability of Sizes
Construction components such as steel studs, mortise, and tenons can be customized and fabricated beforehand for better efficiency when assembling them together. This allows contractors and builders to better cater to their client’s requirements and preferences by designing and cutting them to fit specific loads of structures in a wider range of varieties and sizes.
- Lighter and Stronger
In contrast to many materials such as concrete and brick, steel is often stronger and lighter while offering the same strength and durability. In many cases, steel components can be half the weight of a similar wooden component. In this aspect, this makes steel framing a more ergonomic and convenient choice than wood framing.
- Immunity to Pests and Insects
Good quality contractors will have to go the extra mile to treat wooden frame construction to prevent insects and pests such as termites, ants, and beetles from destroying the building structure. In contrast, steel does not have this issue and will not degrade in quality after a pest infestation.
Cons of Steel Frame Construction
- Lack of On-Site Customizability
Many steel structures are fabricated offsite before being transported to the building site to be assembled with the other components. Therefore, the dimensions and measurements of the design will need to be calculated meticulously in advance to prevent any errors. However, this is a double-edged sword as this could either expedite or delay the assembly pipeline. This could save a significant amount of time if done correctly, as the framing process will be efficient. On the other hand, if it results in an incompatible component, this could also delay the project pipeline and may require the contractor to remeasure and reconstruct the entire structure as it lacks the flexibility of the wooden frame.
- Reduced Insulation Energy Efficiency
As steel is a thermal conductor, it is not ideal for insulating and energy efficiency. Due to thermal bridging, a steel frame will usually reduce the insulating properties of the wall by up to 60% as heat will be conducted away from the house. This reduces the energy efficiency of your building as your utilities will have to work harder to compensate for the lack of insulation. Therefore, you would need to spend additional costs to incorporate insulation materials to counteract this thermal conductivity.
- Additional Structures Required
Many steel frame constructions would require other components such as insulation, sheathing, and supplementary parts made from different materials to reinforce the structural integrity of the building. In short, it lacks the insulating and supporting properties that a wooden frame would naturally have. In some cases, this would cause the construction timeline to be extended and would incur more costs.
More Than a Wood Framing Company
US Framing is here for you at every step of the way. Our professional team of experts is familiar with the state’s building standards and codes and aims to create a safe working environment for you and your co-workers. We put our best foot forward to ensure your project is completed timely so that you can achieve your goals and aims. In addition, our professional team of building experts at US Framing have the right knowledge and experience in assisting you in planning all the details you require in your project timeline – from budgeting to pre-planning to problem-solving to the construction phase.
For more information about the types of framing services we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us today!