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An Introduction to residential steel framing

For more than 150 years, steel has been used in the North American construction market. Today it remains one of the strongest, most durable and economically manufactured materials. While it has typically been associated with skyscrapers and bridges, steel is emerging as the material of choice for residential framing.


Across Canada and the United States, builders, developers and homeowners are finding out about the many benefits that steel has to offer in the residential marketplace.

Although the name "steel" may conjure up images of a heavy or cumbersome material, the coated steel products used in residential framing are just the opposite. Cold formed sheet steel is a light weight, easy to handle, economical and high quality alternative to traditional wood framing materials. Among its other advantages, steel offers the builder a strong, dimensionally stable, easy to work with framing system.


Builder Benefits:

• Steel will not rot, shrink, swell, split, or warp and is non–combustible.

• Every steel stud is a good stud. There is no longer the need to sort through lifts of framing members to select suitable pieces. Steel framing is of consistent quality.

• Steel framing can be supplied to the exact lengths required thus eliminating much of the on–site cutting and most of the waste.

• Steel framing is a proven technology that is user friendly allowing for a smooth transition from other materials.

• Steel framing members are available in a variety of standard shapes and sizes in varying steel thicknesses to accommodate any structural requirements.

• Steel members weigh as much as 60% less than wood members; therefore, foundation and seismic loads can be reduced.

• Steel framing members are manufactured with pre–punched holes for running piping and electrical wiring, minimizing preparation work for other trades.

• Steel framing accommodates all types of commonly used finishing materials.

• The inherent strength of steel can be utilized to reduce the number of framing members required. It is not necessary to replace steel for wood stick–for–stick.

• Steel is competitively priced and consistent in quality. Steel prices are more stable than wood and steel supplies have historically been more readily available.

• Steel framing does not dry out and shrink over time, thus the costly call backs to repair warped walls, nail–pops and squeaking floors are eliminated.

• Building waste and pilferage from the construction site is greatly reduced.




• Workers can be easily trained to work with steel framing elements. Assembly details are easy for workers to quickly pick up.

• Steel framed walls are straight and remain that way. There is no shrinkage to cause nail–pops and squeaking floors.

• Steel framing has been used for decades in commercial and condominium construction. It is a tried and well proven technology now available to home builders as an alternative to wood framing.

Environmental Benefits:

• Job–site scrap has resale value.

• All steel products are 100% recyclable. The overall recycling rate of steel products in North America is 66%; the highest rate of any material.

Homeowner Benefits:

• Steel products can be recycled repeatedly without degradation or loss of properties.

• Steel's inherent strength and non–combustible qualities enable a steel framed house to resist such devastating events as fires, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Homes can be designed to meet the highest seismic and wind load specifications in any part of the country.

• The steel industry is the single largest recycler in North America because recycled steel is an integral ingredient in steel production.


Across Canada and the United States, builders, developers and homeowners are finding out about the many benefits that steel has to offer in the residential marketplace.

Steel is available in many different thicknesses and strength levels. The common design thicknesses are 0.018, 0.033, 0.036, 0.044, 0.048, 0.060, 0.075, and 0.105 inches (exclusive of any metallic coatings). It is important to specify sheet thickness by the decimal thickness to guarantee a minimum thickness of delivered product.

Benton & Overbury Victoria
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