Developers are being forced to make a tough decision: either use environmentally friendly, cost-effective metal framing or go with traditional wood. Some developers complain that steel often corrodes and requires more maintenance than wood while others say it is stronger and longer-lasting–especially when faced with extreme weather conditions like hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, and other natural disasters (to name just some). The debate on this issue has been going strong for years without any concrete conclusion.
Is Metal Framing Right For You?
Metal framing offers a number of benefits over wood framing. Studies have shown that steel frame buildings are stronger and last longer against earthquakes, hurricanes, high winds, etc. Steel is also non-flammable so in the event of a fire, there’s less chance to lose it all.
Metal studs are made with at least 25% recycled material which means they’re completely recyclable for future use. The waste production from this system is also significantly lower due to every piece being reusable regardless of how small it is. Finally, erecting this type of structure/building just takes much less time than its counterpart made entirely from wood.
Steel is a more durable material than wood. For example, steel will stay straight and true when compared to something like wood that can bend or warp over time making for an uneven surface. Steel also allows you the opportunity of screwing structures together instead of hammering them into place, being a great way to save on manual labor expenses.
Costs of Metal Stud Framing
When considering the cost of steel framing, it’s best to keep in mind that initial costs are greater than for wood. Steel materials will be lower-priced than the ones made from wood, but labor is usually higher and thus more expensive on a per square foot basis. The average price tag for metal framing can differ depending on factors such as location or material type; however, $9-$11 per square foot is pretty common (out of the final per foot price, the materials will only account for about 30%). A typical two-story house measures 2500 sq ft which would equate to an approximate cost between $24K -$25k.
With steel framing, you will be able to save in the long run, though. Metals studs are durable and will not warp or split, which means you’ll have to worry less about drywall cracks and screw pops from material movement. This also lowers insurance rates due to steel’s lack of risk-related incidents such as fire damage, insect infestations, mold growth. Debris haul-off will also be lowered because of the decrease in scrap material.
Advantages of Metal Framing
Metal stud framing provides a number of advantages to builders, including the money-saving benefits. The steel is also environmentally friendly and can be recycled 100% after its life has come to an end; it does not emit VOCs like wood products do which creates better air quality. Steel’s safety in high wind areas and seismic activity makes for more peace of mind when building with this product as well.