Reasons To Use Steel in Residential Construction

Reasons To Use Steel in Residential Construction
  • Opening Intro -

    Traditional homebuilding methods rely heavily on wood framing.

    But even though wood is regarded as a “renewable” resource, it can take as many as 20 mature trees to frame a mid-sized home, and each of those trees takes decades to grow.


Increasingly, builders are looking to other materials for efficiency, sustainability, and strength. These are some of the reasons to use steel in residential construction.


Steel is among the most highly recycled materials on the planet. The overall recycling rate for steel in the US is 66 percent. Steel scrap is valuable, and as a result, it is unlikely to end up in a landfill.


Steel lasts. It is impervious to insects and, when properly rustproofed, won’t warp.

Steel framed walls remain straight and plumb for decades, and a steel-framed building will have fewer cracks and fewer nails waiting to pop out of walls.

Steel doesn’t burn. It melts at extremely high temperatures, but it won’t feed a fire. Fire protection materials for steel framing have been improving, and many local building codes have been updated to specify fire protection methods for steel framing.

Steel structures have been shown to retain their integrity through earthquake-strength forces. Builders constructing homes in earthquake-prone areas should consider using residential steel framing.

Steel withstands storms better than wood framing. It can withstand hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards.

Design Flexibility

Steel beams allow architects and designers to experiment with broader open spans, as steel beams can support longer spans, uninterrupted with structural columns, than wood beams.

Where the structural support of an I-beam is necessary to support a design, steel support columns coordinate with the pre-drilled I-beam, which is hoisted into place and bolted together on-site.

Metalworking shops use computerized (“computer numeric controlled” or CNC) beam drilling machines to prepare beams with precisely drilled holes to accommodate the bolts that will hold them in place.

Speed of Construction

Residential steel framing is held in place with a few screws rather than several nails. It slots into a base channel and a cap or top channel and fastens easily with screws.

Steel studs come with pre-drilled holes so that plumbing or cabling can be run through them easily. Unlike structural steel I-beams, which must be prepared in a machine shop with structural steel capability, residential steel wall studs can be cut to size on-site with aviation snippers.

Lightweight and Cost Efficient

Another reason to use steel in residential construction is that, although strong, steel framing is lightweight. Foundations for steel-framed buildings may not need to be as deep or large as for a traditionally framed structure.

Steel framed structures also require fewer total materials, making them less expensive overall. Residential builders are warming up to the benefits of using steel framing, particularly in urban areas where space is tight and thick masonry walls are impractical.

If you’re a builder, consider this alternative to traditional framing today.

Image Credit: reasons to use steel in residential construction by Adobe Stock royalty-free image #296386160

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