March 5, 2008


Metal of Honor - Steel Framing
Steel Framing is gaining in popularity because of its high performance in severe weather conditions, minimal maintenance, and termite and mold resistance. The use of it continues to grow each year with more than 40 percent of commercial structures now using steel framing. Nearly 500,000 homes have been built with steel framing during the past decade. In fact, a study commissioned by the Washington, D.C.-based American Iron and Steel Institute indicates 71 percent of residents in states affected by hurricanes prefer steel as framing for their homes.

Steel framing also is growing in the commercial sector. A 2003 study of the non-residential market by the Steel Framing Alliance, Washington, found that in 2002 steel framing was used in 47 percent of exterior walls, 81 percent of interior walls, 13 percent of floors and 4 percent of roofs. Steel framing also has gained momentum in many types of buildings including the following:

LABORATORIES: 45 percent
DORMITORIES: 49 percent

When constructing a new building, consider using steel studs. Its sustainability, accuracy and cost-savings make it a viable option.


  • Because steel is so durable, it uses fewer resources during its lifespan compared to wood.
  • Using steel studs can contribute toward credits for Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation in Design under the Washington-based U.S. Green Building Councils’ LEED rating system.
  • Steel does not emit volatile organic compounds.
  • Steel does not contain any organic materials and therefore cannot support mold growth. However, if any organic-material residue is on the steel framing, mold could grow. The best prevention is to keep steel studs dry.
  • The U.S. steel industry reduced its energy intensity per ton of steel shipped by 29 percent since 1990. Since 2002, energy intensity is down 15 percent. Carbon-dioxide emissions per tons of steel shipped were reduced by a comparable amount.
  • In 2002, the steel industry established a Climate VISION commitment to improve its energy efficiency by 10 percent by 2012. The industry achieved that reduction in only four years.


  • Steel is dimensionally stable; it will not expand or contract with moisture content.
  • Consistent quality means that scrap is drastically reduced: 2 percent for steel versus 20 percent for wood. This translates into lower costs for job-site culling of wood materials and haul off and disposal of discarded materials.
  • Steel is produced in strict accordance with national standards; there are no regional variations.
  • Steel behaves in a highly predictable manner when subjected to the structural loads and stresses imposed by high wind or seismic forces.

Cost Savings

  • Warranty callbacks are minimized because steel does not shrink, split or warp so there are no nail pops or drywall cracks to fix after the structure is completed.
  • When properly designed, steel framing can provide a tight building envelope for less air loss and better HVAC performance over time.
  • Steel-framed structures often result in builder’s risk-insurance discounts.
  • The zinc coating on steel framing materials can protect against corrosion for hundreds of years.

Source: Metalmag, January 2008


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Steel Framing Alliance
1201 15th St., NW,
Suite 320
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone 202.785.2022
Fax 202.785.3856

March 5-9, 2008
ABC National Craft Championships
San Juan, Puerto Rico More
March 11, 2008
“Cold-Formed Steel Structures” Seminar
Greenville Technical College
Greenville, SC More
March 13, 2008
Current Code Changes Affecting Composite Limiting Height Tables
Atlanta, GA More
March 13-15, 2008
Steel Framing Training for Builders, Contractors and Lead Framers
Hattiesburg, MS More
March 23-27, 2008
AWCI Annual Convention & INTEX Expo
Paris/Bally’s Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV More
April 1, 2008
CFSEI Annual Meeting
Orlando, FL


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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, Framework Online arms you with the latest news and commentary on the steel framing and construction industries. In addition to industry headlines, trends and project profiles, Framework Online provides information and ideas that will better enable members to increase their participation in the residential and commercial construction markets.