Light Gauge Steel Framing
What is Light Gauge Steel Framing?
Light gauge steel framing members, sometimes called cold-formed steel, are made from structural quality steel sheets that are formed into shapes either through press-braking blanks sheared from sheets or coils or, more commonly, by roll-forming the steel through a series of dies. Unlike hot-formed structural I-Beams, neither process requires heat to form the shape, thus the name “cold-formed” steel.
PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. is an industry leader in the sustainable engineering world. Contact us for more information on light gauge steel construction and other sustainable engineering and building practices.
Steel vs. Wood Framing
Light gauge steel construction is quickly becoming an industry favorite amongst builders everywhere. When it comes to steel vs. wood framing, light gauge steel framing deals with many of the fallbacks of traditional wooden stick framing.
Light gauge steel framing is significantly easier to work with than wooden material because the studs are much lighter and aren’t susceptible to the same bowing and warping as wood when exposed to different environments.
Another significant benefit for the homeowner is that steel studs do not rot when they come in contact with moisture. However, even treated lumber can rot even in the best conditions. Light gauge steel construction is beneficial to both the builders and building owners.
Why Build With Light Gauge Steel?
Steel Is Green
Steel is the #1 recycled material in North America. There is more steel recycled every year than aluminum, plastic, and glass combined. Each year approximately 10 million vehicles are recycled (enough to circle the earth about 1 and 1/2 times). Each ton of recycled steel saves 1400 lbs. of coal and 2500 lbs. of iron ore (with 98% of mined ore used for making steel). And every year, the recycling of steel saves the energy equivalent of electrically powering 1 out of 5 US households for one year.
Steel is Fire-Resistant
You can’t beat light gauge steel framing when it comes to safety. Unlike traditional stick framing, steel framing members are highly fire-resistant. Buildings made from light gauge steel framing often maintain their structural integrity in the event of a fire.
Steel is Mold-Proof
Building demands in the last 20 years have led to increased sugar levels in lumber supplies, creating a diminished quality of wood that promotes an increase in mold problems in new homes. One-third to one-half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage mold development. Source: U.S. EPA Eliminates outside air infiltration, leaks, drafts, dust, and quiet.
Steel is Pest-Proof
Terminate termites (and other damaging pests) and fight fire with steel. Steel doesn’t rot, is fire-resistant, air-tight, and not chewable. For decades, light gauge steel framing has been the choice structure for schools, hospitals, large apartments, and commercial buildings. Relatively rare in single-family homes, steel’s superior quality, durability, strength, and safety are now affordably available in your neighborhood.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Light gauge steel framing doesn’t face near the number of problems that wooden structures do. As a result, light gauge steel construction is significantly more affordable to maintain than its wooden counterpart.
- If you save $50/month at an 8% interest rate, how much do you think you will accumulate in 30 years? About $75,000!
- Lower insurance costs due to upgraded safety factors.
- Lower maintenance costs due to material’s durability and resilience.
- Higher resale values
- Steel is dimensionally stable, so it’s not affected by temperature, humidity, and climatic changes.
- We can engineer steel’s strength and resiliency to the highest possible seismic rating for your building.
Steel offers peace of mind.
Terminate termites (and other damaging pests) and fight fire with steel. Steel doesn’t rot, is fire-resistant, air-tight and not chewable. These reasons have made steel the material of choice for schools, hospitals, large apartment and commercial building for decades. You can stay rest assured that your structure will hold up over time.
Relatively rare in single-family homes, steel’s superior quality, durability, strength and safety is now affordably available in your own neighborhood.
Faster build and easier to construct
Steel trusses are much stronger than wood and steel houses resist wind and seismic forces. Light gauge steel’s higher strength means less members have to be used, which translates to a quicker build time.
How will your house look?
You can dress up your steel home with any material you would use with traditional wood stick framing, including stucco, plaster, or any other siding material of your choosing.
Pictures provided by: Offsitek
Choose PSE for your light gauge steel engineering
So, are you convinced yet? When it comes to sustainable building materials, there aren’t many that come with the same benefits as light gauge steel framing. Designing with light gauge steel is the better way to build durable, safe, and longstanding structures.