Steel VS Wood Framing...

 
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
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Question

Steel VS Wood Framing...


I'm sure it's been debated before, but I'm up for a current exchange.

Pros VS Cons of either material.

Personally, I love Wood.

Not fond of Steel.

What say ye?

Where does each material have it's benefits and limitations (e.g. steel for commercial use, wood for residential, etc...).

Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


1) Re-usable versus one-time construct.

2) Expensive versus cheaper.

3) Straight versus warped, bended.

4) No rotten versus carpenter ant/termite.

5) Light weight versus heavy weight.

6) Office-wall/partition removable/movable versus residential/fixed code compliance

7) Incombustible versus combustible (fire code)

8) Any more anyone !!??...


Last edited by SelfContract; 01-12-2008 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by SelfContract View Post
1) Re-usable versus one-time construct.

2) Expensive versus cheaper.

3) Straight versus warped, bended.

4) No rotten versus carpenter ant/termite.

5) Light weight versus heavy weight.

6) Office-wall/partition removable/movable versus residential/fixed code compliance

7) Incombustible versus combustible (fire code)

8) Any more anyone !!??...
I've heard some contractors won't use steel in basements because if the basement floods,
steel rusts and it compromises the integrity of the stucture?
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


True, but how long will they let water sits in until rust shown up?.. two months or more? Like Katrina hurricane, after the storm, people immediately clean up water or pump out quickly and demo all the wall down to let water air vapors all out, so rust is not problem but I think maybe be the steel high cost is one factor.
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Old 01-12-2008, 11:36 AM   #5
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


A steel stud wall loses more heat than a wood stud wall due to thermal "short circuiting". - R19 insulation in a wood stud wall gives you about a R17. Depending on the steel stud gage and spacing, R19 in a steel stud wall could be as low as R11.
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:05 PM   #6
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
A steel stud wall loses more heat than a wood stud wall due to thermal "short circuiting". - R19 insulation in a wood stud wall gives you about a R17. Depending on the steel stud gage and spacing, R19 in a steel stud wall could be as low as R11.
I totally disagree! a 3 5/8 wood stud has an "R" value of 4.55 and a 5 1/2 =5.78. This means every 16" or 24" you have a 1 1/2" cold strip down the wall that transfers the loss directly to the house's interior.

The metal framing is much more energy efficient because the insulation fits inside the stud.

Wood and metal will reach the same temp in the same conditions. There is far more uninsulated area in a wood framed wall than there is in metal framed walls.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Good stuff. See? I'm learning!

Now, question:

Faulty wiring, more of a danger in steel framing?

Also, since wood goes up faster (as has been in my limited experience, cutting, fastening, etc...), is the cost offset by the saved labor?
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:50 PM   #8
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Metal framing is more expensive that wood right now.(up here anyway)

The R value thing has got me wondering. Just my opinion is stated above except for the R value of wood. I think Building Science might have scientifically proven statistics on the whole picture. If anyone has a good reference I'd be interested in seeing it.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:35 PM   #9
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Jason -

Check all of the research and tests. You may also want to look at ASHRAE. That will give you an idea of the real world and not just the advertising world.

The mistake you and most people makes is looking at an average R for the wall, which does not work or make sense.

The steel has a high conductance and will "drain" the heat out through the small cross-section. A steel stud has a wide area (about 1 1/2") that collects the heat and funnels it through a highly conductive web. Even a series-parrale calculation under estimates the heat lost of steel studs.

The R-value concept is only a simplified way for most insulation comparisons, but there are situations (high difference in conductivity)where the concept just falls apart. That is why the have ASTM test procedures and testing that shows what really happens. - Really R-values are really only good for advertising and comparing insulating values of very similar wall sections. - The greater the difference in conductivity of the materials, the further of the estimates are.
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:37 PM   #10
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Steel Framing requires some form of thermal break on the exterior to avoid the cold transfer. Dick got it right that wood will be a better insulated home then steel. I'll find the spec sheet and post later, but I remember R-19 in 2x6 steel = R-8 on average and 2x6 wood = R-12 based on 16" o.c. framing.

The only way I have been satisfied steel framing is with a thermal break (styrofoam on the exterior of the studs) and insulated with Demilac or some form of spray foam insulation. Anything less and you may as well leave the windows open to let the warmer daytime air in to heat the house.

Steel Framing labor is 2 - 2 1/2 times slower than wood (Dealing with Structural Steel Studs), Most guys can use a air nailer faster than screws. Subs do charge more since electricians either use BX or need the gromets, plumbers need a plasma cutter for rough in or plenty of hole saws and arbors.

To this day I cannot get a straight answer from the Steel Framing Alliance as to how to provide a thermal break where the steel roof trusses sit on the steel frame walls. The rafter tails are going to be exposed to the elements no matter what and unless you have a 'unlimited' budget you can't get a perfect seal. Somewhere I have infared heat loss photos of steel framed houses and you can count the studs really easy using it, as a matter of fact I could find every fastener for the styrofoam and siding.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:02 PM   #11
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Technically speaking, wood doesn't conduct heat or cold.

Steel does, right?

Last edited by 2ndGen; 01-12-2008 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:09 PM   #12
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Some great points on metal and wood conductivity of warmth:

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question...3081130AAFkGhV

Metal is a very good conductor or heat but if there is not heat it will be very cold as it conducts cold very well too. Wool is a better conductor of heat than cold rather than both.

Because metal has a higher coefficient of heat conductivity than wood. Thus, the metal carries more heat off your body than does wood in the same time frame. And when that heat is drawn off your body, you feel it as cold.

Wood is more porous than metal so it has air in its structure and is a natural insulator - it is hard for it to absorb the heat of your hand. Metal conducts heat away from your hand very efficiently.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:11 PM   #13
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


[QUOTE=Chris Johnson;354484]
Steel Framing labor is 2 - 2 1/2 times slower than wood (Dealing with Structural Steel Studs), Most guys can use a air nailer faster than screws. Subs do charge more since electricians either use BX or need the gromets, plumbers need a plasma cutter for rough in or plenty of hole saws and arbors.

QUOTE]

Thanks Chris.

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Old 06-30-2010, 03:36 PM   #14
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Hmm steel vs wood
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:38 PM   #15
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


No trees or animals are killed in the making of a steel building.

Steel roofs qualify for LEED points.

Steel is one of the strongest building materials available, many times stronger than wood.

Steel is non-flammable - it will actually contain a fire and keep it from spreading. Wood framing is one of the biggest hazards in a fire.
Safe from termites, rot and mold, and drying out - it won’t shrink, warp or swell.

Sturdy and durable - free of high maintenance costs. Walls stay straight, floors are flat, doors and windows do not stick.

The difference becomes even more dramatic over time- years from now a steel building will be as straight, as sturdy, and as beautiful as the day you moved in.

Long lifespan, long warranties on the structure, roof and painted exterior finish (a metal roof lasts 2-3 times longer than an asphalt shingle roof)
Steel is the most recycled material on earth- all new steel is currently produced with recycled steel

Steel buildings are pre-engineered for cost efficiency as well as ease and speed of construction

Steel studs and joists are pre-punched with holes to allow the passage of electrical, telephone, TV cables, etc.,- a huge time and money saver when erecting the building.

Steel buildings have a better track record in both earthquakes and hurricanes.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:26 PM   #16
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


By what measure are no trees or animals killed in the making of a steel building? The life cycle costs/ energy footprint of even recycled steel dwarf those of wood components. All current steel is most certainly not recycled stock... check out the differences between virgin, pre-consumer and post- consumer on any websearch. Also the building in question is not a pre-manufactured building, so those advantages are out the window. The commentary regarding heat conductivity is very relevant. Joe Listeburek with Building Science Corp is a great resource here. Steel studs actually conduct heat out of your structure at an incredible rate UNLESS you build with exterior insulation. Pre drilled holes are useless unless detail oriented installers happen to care enough to line the holes up. And what about the commentary about all of the extra hardware to rough in wire and plumbing. Finally, Steel fails catastrophically in fires and much more rapidly than wood componentry. It adds up to some slick talk by the steel industry. There is a reason it is used mainly in commercial construction.
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:40 PM   #17
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


metal framing has its advantages but i am not sure life span is the best argument for it. I've seen plenty of timber framed buildings 200 years plus built fairly similarly built to modern contruction methods and roof stuctures 800 plus years that's not bad
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:41 PM   #18
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Anyone have opinions on these for interior partitions where thermal or structural issues don't apply?
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Old 11-25-2010, 02:59 PM   #19
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGen View Post
I'm sure it's been debated before, but I'm up for a current exchange.

Pros VS Cons of either material.

Personally, I love Wood.

Not fond of Steel.

What say ye?

Where does each material have it's benefits and limitations (e.g. steel for commercial use, wood for residential, etc...).

Thanks.
Depends on where you're framing - I used a mix of wood and steel stud framing on my basement and was very pleased with the performance of the steel studs. My doorways stayed perfectly plumb and true with with steel, adding wood as trimmer. Additionally, steel studs are easier when building walls on a sloping floor, as they do in basements (slope towards floor drain). As the height of each stud increases/decreases with the floor pitch, you simply adjust each stud length. Standing up a traditionally framed wood-stud floor in this instance, leaves a gap at one end of the wall.
Drywall, once you get used to using a slower speed gun (0 -2,500 rpm), is a snap with steel studs, but construction adhesive should be used.

Good luck, there's plenty of information and YouTube demos online to view to help with your decision.

Good Luck, Bob
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Old 11-25-2010, 08:41 PM   #20
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Re: Steel VS Wood Framing...


There was a time I believe when steel was cheaper than wood (during the boom). It also depends on the gauge you are talking about. Interior metals studs are pretty thin. For a while the drywall companies were expanding to include metal interior framed partitions. So sometimes we were only putting the "lids" on houses.

I trimmed a few out and can tell you that it is wise to use screws when attaching base and crown moldings to metal studs. Especially if you are on a slab because the base may need to be bent to conform to that slab.

The interior metal framing seemed to go pretty fast. We strip our ceilings so everything is 16" OC. They pop their lines on the floor, then use lazers to get the marks on the ceiling. It's really like balloon framing. A metal stud can be cut 3/4 of an inch short and it will still work, so time measuring is lessened. Once again, you can tell the difference between wood and metal when you slam a door.

As far as thermal resistance, I don't know much about them. I would think they would sweat much like epicore does where hot and cold meet.

I really can't see how steel is more environmentally friendly than wood. Spruce and Yellow Pine are farmed. Maybe you are comparing steel stud manufacturing to deforestation in a South American rainforest for "hardwoods" such as Mahogany or Ipe. Neither of which I have used for framing. Those woods are reserved for finish work here! But alas, even hardwoods are being farmed now thanks to genetic engineering.

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