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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I'm a framing subcontractor, and I mainly do large apartment complexes. I only do wood right now, but I want to expand into steel. Have any of you made a move like this? I'm wondering what kind of headaches to expect, and what things to be aware of when starting to do steel framing.

thanks
 

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KemoSabe
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If you are using a system like Frame Right, expect to be doing lots of screwing. Each joist gets a web stiffener at each end with 6 screws into the joist, 4 into the C-channel through the front, 1 through the top of the channel into the joist and 1 through the bottom.

Stud connections are pretty typical, but time consuming due to the heavier gauge. Wood sheathing is much easier to predrill, even with self drilling screws, because the drillpoints get clogged and require too much force to be productive.

Here's some pics.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's a cool looking house. I read your thread on it.

Thanks for the tips. I was actually wondering more about time frame and profit margins in relation to wood framing. I want to get into steel in order to expand the amount of framing jobs I can bid, and I wanted to see if anyone has made a similar transition and see if it has been worth it.

I read that your house took six or seven times longer to frame than a comparable wood structure, and I can't imagine that working on a million square foot project.
 

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Working
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I have done 2 steel framed building both were commercial and took a lot longer to build. Like lone said about the screwing it takes some much more time than shooting with an air nailer. The second one we used a spot welder and it still took for ever but was faster than screws.

Don't know what the proffit margine was as I wasn't on my own at the time, was the project manager/crew forman.

Cole
 

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I learned steel stud framing before stick framing and I could never figure out why anyone would build with wood when it was so easy to work with steel... until I did more wood framing.

I think wood's faster overall, but with the right people and tools you can really haul butt framing with steel.

Some of the advantages of steel:

- the material is consistently straight, no warps, springs, cups, no matter the length
- it doesn't split, crack, splinter, rot, or get damaged by insects
- you can't stretch a board, but you can easily add more length to steel with a wire welder
- you can carry a whole lot more self-tapping framing screws than 16ds in your bags
- it's a lot easier to teach a newbie how to put screw into steel with impact drivers than it is to teach them how to use a hammer correctly
- steel studs already have cutouts for wiring and plumbing
 

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I have done 2 steel framed building both were commercial and took a lot longer to build. Like lone said about the screwing it takes some much more time than shooting with an air nailer. The second one we used a spot welder and it still took for ever but was faster than screws.

Cole
I think it's mostly technique. A nail gun is faster, but with a decent impact driver you can screw self-tappers pretty darn fast.

Once you get good with the snips, I think you can cut and install headers, and frame openings for access panels, etc. much faster with steel.
 

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I have really wanted to gain experience in steel but the jobs Ive looked at pay way less than wood and you have to provide materials. I'd try one if I thought I could do it without going bankrupt
 

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I think it's mostly technique. A nail gun is faster, but with a decent impact driver you can screw self-tappers pretty darn fast.

Once you get good with the snips, I think you can cut and install headers, and frame openings for access panels, etc. much faster with steel.
On the interior non load bearing walls I would agree it's just as fast. These were buildings like posted above those structural studs are a big pain in the butt to screw.

Cole
 

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KemoSabe
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If you offered me 20 bucks a sq.ft. to frame a house with structural steel joists and studs, or 4 bucks to do the same house in wood, I'd do the wood house and lose less money.
 

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I think it's mostly technique. A nail gun is faster, but with a decent impact driver you can screw self-tappers pretty darn fast.

Once you get good with the snips, I think you can cut and install headers, and frame openings for access panels, etc. much faster with steel.

We use Hilti screw guns with a 3/8" inch arbor/driver head and 3/8" to 3/4" self-taping Hex bolts on 16, 14, and 12 gauge steel but that's in the commercial world -

in residential - you'll most likely not be using much of the "heavy gauge steel" except when/where called for on exterior framing so you can use regular Philip-head 3/8" self-taping screws on the lighter 20 and 18 gauge steel (unless codes call for something more in your area) and/or it's a larger home with a heavy roof system/etc.

layout/setup is the most time consuming part of steel framing but with the proper tools (laser - PLS - rolling baker/scaffold) and some good framers - you can fly.

Also - you need a steel cutoff saw for cutting the material (saves time because you can cut up to 10 studs/etc at a time)(try that with wood on your chop saw once!) - you only use "snips" when you absolutely have to

framing a header doesn't require any "snip work" unless you want it to take 5xs longer than when using a cutoff saw -- you can cut all of your header material in advance (as well as all of your studs/etc. far quicker than with wood once you have your measurements for openings, stud lengths, etc.)

there are 2 types of headers too (standard and box type) - standard is used in door and window framing for most interior situations, and box type is used in exterior window/door openings, and in heavier construction for spanning and carrying loads over openings
 
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