Steel frame construction is rapidly becoming popular in different places for many reasons. This may leave you wondering whether steel framing is an effective option to consider over available alternatives.
In this article, you'll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of steel frame construction. We'll also look at some of the features of steel frames and steel frames vs. timber frames before going into their pros and cons. Let's jump right into it!
Features of Steel Frame Buildings
Many people don't know about metal frames for building houses. These are houses that are built using steel structures, like blocks. The features of buildings constructed with steel frames include the following:
Low-rise houses usually have sloped roofs, mainly featuring a triangular steel roof truss system with cold-formed steel components. Once the structural plates and gypsum boards are sealed, they help to form a stable slab rib structure system. This gives it stronger resistance to loads, even in areas with high seismic intensity.
Light gauge steel framing is strong, rigid and lightweight. The weight of structures made from this material is generally one-fifth that of buildings made from bricks and concrete, which is enough to resist wind.
Residential steel frames are made chiefly of an anti-corrosion, high-strength, cold-rolled galvanised sheet. This allows the structure to resist corrosion and further increases the lifespan of the steel frame house.
Another feature to note about steel frame homes is the thermal insulation materials they feature. This includes glass fibre cotton that is effective in providing thermal insulation effects. Thermal insulation helps the building avoid the cold bridge phenomenon easily because the walls can easily reach an optimum thermal insulation effect.
Understanding Steel Frame Construction
Steel frame construction is widely applied to simple structures and more significant buildings like warehouses, garages, and large agricultural buildings. It's also common in high-rise buildings.
However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about steel frame construction, even though it's widely used in different projects, including schools, factories, public buildings, offices, and residential properties.
The main thing to note about steel frame construction is that it's an ideal option for use in different projects mainly because of its sustainability, affordability, and durability. It's also easy to fabricate structural steel components off-site before transporting them to the site where they are utilised.
This helps to increase productivity and reduce onsite labour. In addition, there are many advantages and disadvantages of steel frame construction that you should know, and we'll highlight them below.
Pros of Steel Frame Construction
There are many advantages that steel frame construction offers which places them ahead of brick, wooden, and concrete constructions. The advantages of steel frame houses include the following:
Strength and durability
Structural steel features stronger and lighter weight-bearing than concrete or wood products. Generally, steel fabrication tends to be up to 50% lighter than the wooden equivalent. This is why it's more durable and stronger than the conventional wooden or timber framing used in other structures.
Another benefit is the fact that steel frames are easy to fabricate, and this can be done in different sizes. Steel stud frames come in different sizes, and it's possible to manufacture them in different orders as well. They are also customisable for more load-bearing capacity, and this gives them a greater level of flexibility for use on different properties.
One factor that has highly contributed to the popularity of steel is its resistance to fire. Steel is resistant to fire, unlike wood, which reduces the risk of damage and the spread of fire during a fire hazard. It has a special flame-retardant coating that helps increase structural steel's fire resistance property.
Insect and pest resistance
In addition to the above, steel and its components are highly immune to the degrading effects of burrowing mammals and insects that can cause damage to wood and other alternative materials.
Moisture and weather resistance
Apart from fire resistance, steel also has a good level of resistance to the effects of moisture, but this ultimately depends on the carbon content. Extra powder treatments and hot zinc coating further help to increase the rust resistance, which helps to make the steel component more resistant to water.
Steel frame construction also offers excellent sound insulation, which helps make a house more comfortable. Windows that are included in these structures are usually made of hollow glass, which offers sound insulation of over 40 decibels. Another fantastic thing to note is that steel wall frames are made of thermal insulation material, which further increases the insulation effects to 60 decibels.
Steel frames also offer some environmental benefits. For instance, the construction site used is primarily dry, which helps to minimise the discharge of waste, making the house recyclable. The building materials used during construction are green materials that meet ecological and environmental requirements.
As mentioned above, steel frames utilise dry work construction, which is not affected by season or environment. Pre-engineered metals only require five workers working over a period of 30 days to complete the entire project.
Steel enhances heat insulation and preservation, increasing the buildings' energy efficiency. These buildings are more efficient at heating and cooling than conventional buildings.
Wide range of applications
Another benefit of steel frames is the range of applications they offer. There's no limit to how you can apply steel, and this is because of its various properties. Steel is also ideal for different weather and environmental conditions, which further increases its use flexibility.
Cons of Steel Frame Construction
There are certain disadvantages of steel frame construction that you should know, and they include the following:
One of the main things that steel frames are known for is the warmth they provide, and this is because of how it efficiently conducts heat. In cases where steel frame construction is utilised, there is a need for insulation measures to be in place to help in reducing the thermal conductivity of the steel frame construction.
Reduced onsite flexibility
A key benefit that wood has over steel is its flexibility and ease of adjusting onsite. It's easy to hammer nails into wood or even cut it down to different sizes. All of these are not possible with steel.
Using steel requires that measurements are calculated with a significant level of precision so that steel fabrication is done accurately. This is also to reduce errors and guarantee that the steel is ready to be slotted in the building.
Even though this may be considered an advantage of steel, depending on the situation, it's important to note that if the fabrication of steel is not done accurately, the project will experience a significant setback, which can be time-consuming.
Another disadvantage to note is the fact that steel frame constructions don't work on their own. They usually require insulation, sheathing, additional wooden components, and drywall to keep the building together. Putting all these together further makes the construction process time-consuming.
Steel Fabricators for Steel Frame Houses
Steel has several benefits, and these vastly outweigh the cons. If you're yet to decide whether to use steel frame construction or not, what you should keep in mind is that it's an excellent choice to consider for different projects.
All you need to do is simply contact the right professionals to handle the task for you. For steel frame houses, you will need to work with steel fabricators to ensure you don't have any construction issues in the long run.
With a steel fabrication professional on hand, you'll get to know the different fabrication options available, as well as the importance of structural steel fabrication for reducing cost, construction time, and sturdiness. With all these factors combined, getting an expert to do the job is the right choice.