What Makes a Steel Frame So Important in Buildings?

December 17, 2019 11:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Steel has been used in the construction industry since the first skyscrapers started to appear in the late 19th century. Today, steel isn’t just an option for massive commercial and industrial buildings, but also for smaller-scale projects and even some types of personal residences.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages associated with the use of steel as a material—and steel frames in particular—that make it so beneficial in the building process.

Steel frames in construction in Umatilla County, OR

The most obvious benefit provided by steel is that it offers a level of strength that simply cannot be achieved through the use of wood frames or brick walls. Unlike wood, steel does not buckle, warp, twist or bend over time due to environmental factors or stresses. This means steel construction is capable of lasting for significantly longer than what you’d get out of a wood frame building. This gives architects much more flexibility in their designs of buildings and homes.

Another part of this durability is that steel is mold- and mildew-resistant, which is a huge benefit over wood, as wood draws in moisture and is often affected by mold and mildew. Over the time, those moisture problems could create structural weaknesses in wooden framed buildings, a problem that simply won’t happen with steel frames. For similar reasons, steel buildings are also significantly more resistant to termites and fire.

Steel is also durable and sturdy enough that it will hold up to damage caused by natural disasters, including earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. For this reason, many buildings in areas that are susceptible to these types of natural disasters will feature steel frames, even if the building isn’t of a particularly large size.

All of these durability and strength benefits result in the owner of steel-framed buildings likely being able to get a better deal on building insurance, as there aren’t nearly as many potential hazards to consider.

Finally, steel is considered a “green” building material, as it is completely recyclable. A builder can create an entire commercial building or home out of recycled steel material, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of the project.

A few drawbacks exist

All this being said, there are a few drawbacks associated with the use of steel frames. The largest of these drawbacks is cost—steel is much more costly than conventional materials, including wooden frames. You can expect it to raise the cost of the project by 14 percent on average.

Steel buildings can also be difficult to make energy efficient, so additional insulation will likely be necessary. This is because steel conducts both heat and cold, more so than conventional materials.

Finally, if there are any design flaws, steel buildings could potentially be prone to corrosion. This can be avoided with proper manufacturing and construction.

For more information about the use of steel frames in construction in Umatilla County, OR, we encourage you to contact the team at NW Metal Fabricators Inc. today. We look forward to working with you soon.

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