Cold-Formed Steel Framing vs. Wood Framing – Why you should be considering CFS instead.
Cold formed steel (CFS) is becoming an increasingly popular material in the world of construction. In this post, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of using CFS over wood, and why CFS is generally the preferred choice for a lot of industrial applications.
A Matter of Speed- Wood VS CFS
As the construction industry advances and evolves, companies try to find new ways to speed things up. After all, time is money, and one thing that the last few years have indicated is that speed is the key to an efficient construction project. Wood framing is much faster to assemble when compared to brick and mortar, which makes it a much more popular option. That being said, how does it stack against cold-formed steel?
The Environment and Steel Framing
In 2022, environmental considerations are huge. Within the construction industry, there is a continuous need for environmentally friendly conditions. Steel and wood both have their drawbacks when it comes to this, so you need to give it a good amount of thought before you go ahead and make your decision. First of all, studies have shown that cold-formed steel frames result in far less deforestation when compared to wood frame products. Wood framing relies heavily on forests and the natural environment. CFS is thought to produce far less waste and it is also manufactured in a way that is very precise. There are often imperfections that render wood framing useless, but with CFS frames, this worry is eliminated. Cold-formed steel is also 100% recyclable, which is a major consideration for the construction sector going forward. Another thing to consider would be thermal transfer. Some people argue that metal structures are able to provide a much better seal for doors and windows. In a cold-formed steel-framed home, heat loss is reduced as well, meaning steel-framed buildings are a better option when compared to wood framing.
It can be difficult to compare the cost when looking at cold-formed steel framing and wood framing in certain instances. For some construction projects, the price for wood framing is cheaper. However, cold-formed steel construction tends to be favored due to its high strength, resistance, and general structural integrity. A lot of top-quality construction companies believe that a project constructed using cold-formed steel framing is far superior in terms of cost and will pay for itself in the long run. Indeed, insurance costs alone on projects utilizing CFS are routinely less expensive than wood construction.
Steel is undeniable in terms of strength. When you look at steel-framed structures, you will see that when compared to buildings that have a wooden frame, they are much stronger. Wood requires a lot of protection against termites and other insects, and continual maintenance to ensure that the level of quality and durability is maintained. Many construction companies use cold-formed steel frames where possible for this very reason, as structures that are made out of this building material tend to be much more durable and longer lasting. The only instance where CFS-framed homes would be at a disadvantage is in coastal areas, as the salty sea air can corrode the frame, however, galvanizing the steel with a G90 coating can solve this issue by giving the steel the extra protection it needs.
CFS is quite possibly one of the most versatile materials when you look at the construction sector. This isn’t as much the case with wood. The great thing about cold-formed steel is that it can be molded into any shape, and this makes it the preferred choice for architects and designers. As the construction world evolves, it’s safe to say that more and more elaborate designs are being created. Cold-formed steel frames are also becoming much more functional with more uses than ever. This combined with the strength of a metal frame means that cold-formed steel is often the superior option when compared to a wood frame.
The Advancement of the Steel Industry
The steel industry is able to recycle well over 80 million tons of steel every year. Steel beams, steel studs and structural steel manufacturing has also helped the construction sector to reduce its carbon footprint by up to 30%. Wood, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on the ecosystem, as mentioned above. A lot of the work being done right now is focused on making construction much friendlier to the environment. Steel is also now able to bear double the weight of wood, and the durability means that it takes far longer to deteriorate. Facts like this have helped to push steel production forward, ensuring that commercial projects are not only more secure, but able to stand the test of time as well.
The Future Lies with Cold-Formed Steel
One major movement that has happened within the steel industry is the formation of cold-formed steel. Cold-formed steel is very light, and this makes it very easy to ship and handle. This also makes it cheaper than conventional structural steel, meaning the price aligns more with that of wood. Cold-formed steel is rolled into whatever size and shape is required, with every piece clearly labeled. This prefabrication is done in a quality-controlled off-site shop reducing both risk and time. You essentially get the speed that comes with assembling a wood- framed building, without the reduction in strength. It is no surprise that if you look at any construction site across the world, whether it is for residential buildings or commercial, CFS is being used more for this reason. A lot of cold-formed steel products come with pre-punched holes for wood studs, significantly reducing the time to assemble vs wood, while also cutting down on labor costs. Wood framing has its bonuses, but right now, it is evident to see that when it comes to wall framing, CFS steel is the way forward. Cold-formed steel is suited to any purpose, and it can offer a fire-resistant solution that is perfect for load-bearing walls and protection from natural disaster damage.
How Using Cold-Formed Steel Can Help You Value Engineer Your Next Project
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