Which Floor System is Best for Mid-Rise Construction?

December 2022

Which floor system is the best for mid-rise construction? How do you know which construction style is suitable for a project when there are so many different options from which to choose? Which system is the most cost-effective for your project? If you have questions like this or want to know, “what are the 5 types of building construction?”, then you can find out whatever you need to know here.

An Insight into Traditional Flooring Systems

Traditional flooring systems are usually made up of several layers of material. The first layer of the floor structure is usually a subfloor, like concrete, which provides strength and stability. On top of that is a layer of underlayment, which helps insulate the floor and even out any bumps or dips in the subfloor. Finally, a layer of the actual flooring material, like tile or wood, is laid down to give it a finished look.

At the start of the millennium, most structural engineers and building designers employed the same building systems and construction styles that were used in the Victorian era. Concrete slabs were installed downstairs, with 2×8 joists at the top. Both, however, had huge drawbacks. Timber, used in wood construction floor systems, had stunted spans and they were also very prone to drafty gaps giving poor continuous insulation and excess noise. The joists were also very intolerant of damp conditions which left them vulnerable to both fungal decay and beetles. And, obviously, wood frame construction offered very little fire resistance.


Concrete slabs for floor systems didn’t fare much better. Concrete had a tendency to sink over time, and didn’t offer many thermal advantages given its propensity to carry cold into the property. Since then, new technologies have greatly influenced design versatility and helped transform the amount of building material options that are available for mid-rise construction.

Hollow CoreHollow Core

Another way for you to construct a floor is to use hollow core flooring planks that have been pre-manufactured. The reason why the interior is hollow is to reduce the overall weight. The unfortunate reality of this is that although the hollow cores do reduce the weight of the concrete panels, this system is still twice as heavy as a cold-formed steel system, which in turn increases the cost of the project’s foundation.

The Advantages of Cold-Formed Steel for Mid-Rise Construction

Each flooring system mentioned above has its place, but at the end of the day, one system is much more flexible and stands above the rest: Cold-Formed Steel (CFS).

Cold-formed steel is a type of construction material that is used to build mid-rise buildings. It’s made of thin steel sheets that are bent into different shapes like angles and channels. It’s strong and lightweight, and it’s also easy to assemble, which makes it a great choice for building mid-rise buildings quickly and efficiently.

There are many advantages to using cold-formed steel. In fact, this project here: Project Highlight: Church + State shows how it can be used in almost any construction type with ease. Not to get confused with structural steel, cold-formed steel is much lighter and less labor intensive, which is why it is often used in mid-rise buildings.


Cold-formed steel is impervious to mildew, rot, and damage caused by vermin. Plus, CFS floors are made of noncombustible material, quite the opposite of wood floors. This level of durability makes it among the very best choices for many construction types.

Cold-formed steel also contains recycled content, which means that it is beneficial to the environment as well as to asthma sufferers. The main reason for this is that it does not emit any volatile compounds. With fewer toxins in the air, there is less chance of respiratory irritation.

Fire Resistance

When a building is reaching up to six stories or more, fire protection becomes something that is an absolute necessity. CFS’s fire endurance ratings meet code requirements that make it especially beneficial for life safety. With CFS flooring systems, if a fire started on a lower level, that fire would take much longer to reach upper levels compared to wood systems. With the materials that our floor system is made of, there is less flame spread which helps to keep not only your buildings from more extensive damage but can help keep two buildings down from yours safe as well. With the steel buildings not having exposed wood, and the exterior walls of gypsum, the fire retention is superb, offering passive protection.

Growing Demand

With the demand for timber in the year and a half increasing, the idea of building with CFS has gained popularity. When companies look at timber vs CFS flooring systems and see the ease of installation and the cost effectiveness of CFS, it’s easy to see why more companies are leaning towards these hybrid flooring systems.

In recent years, especially in densely populated areas, multi-use buildings have become an exceedingly popular choice for many building owners. These buildings typically have podiums at ground level or the first few levels, which typically house retail and restaurant space, or even parking garages.

A building type such as this allows for anywhere from 2-12 stories of cold-formed steel framed residences to be built on top of the podium level. It’s a construction style that affords wider consideration of sustainable efficiency for the location. With an influx of individuals moving into the “concrete jungle,” multi-use buildings are a must.

Construction Speed

Another way in which steel framing can reduce cost and positively impact your construction schedule is by speeding up the construction process. Sections can come with pre-punched holes, for the rapid running of plumbing, wires, and mechanical installation.

Consider too, fewer workers are needed to assemble sections, which cuts down on a project’s overall cost. CFS flooring systems are a very cost-effective construction material.

Lastly, CFS is light. This makes shipping and handling very easy. Cold-formed steel products can be rolled into whatever shape or size you require, with every piece labeled for your convenience. If you have a building area that is of tight quarters, or a building beside your site that has weird angles, it is easier and quicker to use these CFS products.

Time is Money

The sooner your project is completed, the sooner you can begin benefitting from your investment. An extended construction period benefits no one. Investors and owners of residential buildings want their apartments filled as quickly as possible to start generating revenue. The same is true of developers whose structures are earmarked for commercial use. Time is money. Reducing time and even insurance costs during the construction phase saves developers money.

Gypcrete With Other Materials

Timberless 33 Floor System

The Timberless-33 Floor System created by All Steel Mid-Rise is very much suited to mid-rise buildings such as dormitories, multi-family structures, and retail, commercial, and mixed-use properties.

The great thing about this flooring system is that it is able to maintain a very light foundation while also reducing the amount of supporting elements required in mid-rise construction. As a result of this, the lower weight translates to fewer construction costs.

If you are dealing with harsh winter conditions, then the Timberless-33 system is ideal, as it can be dried in a very short space of time, which provides significant cost savings.

Concrete Slab With Other Materials

Timberless 44 Floor System

Another floor system option would be the Timberless-44 Floor System. This floor system offers a superior level of performance and it is more than suited to buildings that are over ten stories high, giving this system an allowable height advantage.

The concrete pour of 3-inches provides a very solid feeling underfoot and also helps to maintain a light structure for any foundational elements. The joists are only 48-inches and this helps to translate to both reduced labor, budget costs, and a faster construction speed overall.

Timberless 55 Floor System

The Timberless-55 Floor System features way less weight when compared to a precast construction. It is acoustically superior, and the structural quality helps to maximize the general flexibility of your design. This floor system is ideal for mid-rise projects that demand a high-quality flooring system, and it is suitable for building heights up to eight stories.

In Conclusion

Cold-formed steel continues to prove its mettle as one of the most versatile, cost-effective and time-saving building materials in growing use today. Using cold formed steel helps speed up the construction process and saves money. It also helps reduce the amount of energy and materials used during the construction process while contributing to the creation of more sustainable buildings.

If you want to find out more about cold-formed steel or if you want to know which option flooring system is the best for your mid-rise construction project, contact the team at All Steel Mid-Rise. When you do opt for a flooring system from us, you can rest assured knowing that it is going to be of the highest quality and that you are getting the best result out of your construction.

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