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Learn More About Cold-Formed Steel Framing


Cold-formed steel refers to a manufacturing process where galvanized sheet steel is roll-formed into products such as studs, joists, track, headers, angles, truss members and other components. For cold-formed steel framing, typical material thicknesses range from 0.0147 in. (0.373 mm) to about 1/8 in. (3.175 mm). Cold-formed steel framing products are typically made from zinc-coated cold-rolled steel with yield strength of 33 ksi or 50 ksi.

Wall members are typically vertical lipped channel “stud” members, which fit into unlipped channel “track” sections at the top and bottom. Similar configurations are used for both floor joist and rafter assemblies, but in a horizontal application for floors, and a horizontal or sloped application for roof framing. Additional elements of the framing system include fasteners and connectors, braces and bracing, clips and connectors. Cold-formed steel floor and roof trusses are also available for cold-formed steel framing applications.

Cold-formed steel framing is a durable, reliable and cost-effective option for low-rise and mid-rise building projects. It typically refers to light-frame construction where the vertical and horizontal structural elements are primarily formed by a system of repetitive framing members. The framing members are typically spaced at 16 or 24 inches on center, with spacing variations lower and higher depending on the loads and coverings.

Cold-formed steel framing in North America is typically designed and constructed in accordance with standards developed by the American Iron and Steel Institute. Cold-formed steel framing lends itself to architectural layouts where the floor and roof systems are supported on bearing walls. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why build with steel?
    Residential steel framing members are cost-effective, lightweight, easy-to-handle, and manufactured in conditions that allow strict quality control. When designed properly, the result is solid, non-combustible, and durable. Because steel can be pre-cut to desired lengths and is a stable material, you don't need to sort out defective pieces and can erect a frame faster. Also, steel scrap has value and can be recycled.d a new question go to app settings and press "Manage Questions" button.
  • Will my home look different than the rest in my development?
    No, only if you want it to. In fact, because of steel's properties, your architect can design your home with larger open spaces. With steel framing, walls will remain straight and true, preventing callbacks due to nail pops and shrinkage cracks. Finishes can be the same as you are accustomed to using.
  • What about the environmental impact of steel construction?
    The overall recycling rate of the steel industry is 66%-the highest in the country-offering an environmentally sound home framing alternative. Steel framing scrap is a valuable commodity that should not end up in a landfill.
  • Can my home be energy-efficient?
    Yes. Steel framing can be designed to meet or exceed governmental energy efficiency standards. In addition, by staying straight and true, the steel framing helps prevent cracks due to shrinkage or warping, thus preventing air leaks that result in a costly loss of energy.
  • Will my home rust?
    The use of galvanized steel frame components protects your home from rust.
  • Can my house be built to resist earthquakes and hurricanes?
    Yes. Positive connection and the strength of steel provide great protection against earthquakes and hurricanes. Steel's high strength and ductility make it the best construction material for earthquake-resistant design.
  • Will steel framing affect the indoor air quality?
    No. Steel framing is recommended by the Healthy House Institute for chemically sensitive and environmentally conscious homeowners who seek good indoor air quality. Steel frames do not need to be treated for termites and are free of resin adhesive and chemicals normally present in other construction materials.
  • Will I have to pay higher insurance premiums for my homeowner's insurance?
    No. As a matter of fact, because of steel's excellent performance record in earthquakes, and because it is not effected by termites and is non-combustible, homeowners may be able to save on insurance premiums.
  • Will the house need bigger footings and foundations?
    No. Steel framing components weigh up to 60% less than wood framing components. The foundations, and even the seismic design loads can be smaller.
  • Can I build a steel-framed house close to the seashore?
    Yes, with the use of galvanized steel members that are recommended and common in almost all applications. In addition, you should provide a standard, well-insulated weather barrier as required for any home under construction.


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