Benefits of Steel Framing

WHY STEEL’S THE DEAL

Steel framing has become the standard for home building in Hawaii where thousands of steel framed homes have been built. Homeowners in Hawaii expect their new houses to be framed out of steel. Hawaii is the leader in CFS technology with the highest percentage of homes being framed with this durable product. People from around the world still come to see steel framing here in Hawaii. Here are just some of the reasons:

Steel Value in Green and Sustainability Standards and Rating Systems

  • Steel is the most recycled product in the world, 83 million tons of steel scrap was recycled in 2007: more than paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic combined. (See Steel Recycling Institute: www.recycle-steel.org - Earn Steel Recycled Content Credit)
  • Steel recycling programs reduce the solid waste stream, resulting in saved landfill space, and help to conserve our natural resources.
  • Steel is recognized as a green building material in the National Green Building Standard, (ICC-700), ASHRAE 189.1, Green Globes and other rating systems such as Leadership in Energy and  Environmental Design (LEED TM).
  • The use of steel building products enables builders and designers to comply and often exceed the requirements of the various standards and programs. To learn more about steels’ role in green building visit: www.steelframing.org)

Steel is an environmentally responsible material.

  • Every piece of steel manufactured contains recycled steel, it is required in the steel making process and all steel is 100 percent recyclable. From the car to the grill to the kitchen sink, steel can be melted down again and again without losing its quality. Steel scrap is our largest raw material by tonnage.
  • The average landfill consists of approximately 60% construction debris, mostly concrete, wood and plastic. By using CFS builders can reduce their disposal costs and divert material from local landfills.
  • Debris from a steel-framed house accounts for only 2 cubic feet of landfill waste compared to 50 cubic feet from traditional home construction.
  • Using steel takes the pressure off of other resources: a typical 2000-square-foot home requires about 40 to 50 trees, about an acre’s worth. With steel, only the equivalent of about 6 scrapped automobiles are needed.

Steel is Strong, Straight, and Durable

  • Steel framing has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any building material.
  • Steel is roll-formed into precise, uniform shapes with exacting tolerances.
  • The sections are straight and do not require sorting or special handling to ensure for crown. No planing of studs is required.
  • Steel does not shrink or expand when subjected to moisture changes caused by preservative treatments, rain, or changes in humidity.
  • Steel does not rot, warp, split, crack, or creep. Using steel framing virtually eliminates nail pops and drywall cracking
  • Steel satisfies Hawaii standards for termite resistant construction that were developed in the 1980s.
  • Steel framing provides a termite proof structural solution and minimizes the need for costly termiticides, tenting and extra costly treatments.

Advantages of Steel

  • Steel provides the possibility for large spans and open spaces. CFS trusses can span up to 60 feet or more.
  • Steel harmonizes with all materials, made to the same shapes and sizes as traditional stick framing.
  • Steel is non-combustible – making it an attractive building material in commercial and residential construction. This also makes it ideal for applications in areas that are prone to wildfires. In addition, steel's fire resistance can help slow the spread of fire within a building. 
  • CFS structures qualify for lower insurance rates.  Visit www.steelframing.org to learn more.
  • Steel is galvanized, protecting the members from corrosion. In order for galvanized steel to rust there must be a constant supply of water. As with all framing materials, structures must be protected from water intrusion to prevent mold, mildew, and rot.
  • Steel framing members in wall cavities, attic spaces, or crawl spaces that are not exposed to water will last over 100 years.
  • Zinc coating protects steel by providing a physical barrier as well as cathodic protection to the underlying steel. When the base steel is exposed, such as at a cut or scratch, the steel is cathodically protected by the sacrificial corrosion of the zinc coating adjacent to the steel.

Steel Myths

  • Steel framed houses do not attract lightning strikes. Steel high rises in Honolulu have provided occupants with safe offices and residences for years.
  • A steel framed home can be engineered for the highest wind and seismic rating given by code.
  • Steel framed houses are fire resistant and non-combustible, making it an attractive material especially in the commercial building industry, and qualifying steel for lower insurance rates.
  • Studs, joists, and rafters do not add fuel to a fire (1/3 of all fires start in the wall cavity).
  • Steel framed houses do not "melt" in a fire. Framing members can resist up to 1,800 degrees F
  • Steel framing can be used for additions and renovations for existing wood houses, especially those with termite damage. Screwed connections make it easy to move walls and for other renovations in the future.

Steel is Healthy

  • The Healthy House Institute and American Lung Association recommend steel framing for good indoor air quality.
  • Chemically sensitive homeowners and those susceptible to asthma are exposed to fewer chemicals in steel framed home.
  • Steel resists mold spores that can lead to chronic illness.