Light Gauge Steel or Lumber - Which is that the Better Framing Option in Residential Construction?
If you're deciding whether to border your house with the tried-and-true lumber or invest within the potentially superior but costlier light gauge steel, consider the subsequent questions:
Wood’s durability comes from a capability to match its moisture content thereto of ambient air. Even if it is soaked in water, the wood can be completely dried again, as long as it is drained. This capacity to soak up and release moisture allows wood to perform well in climates with high ratio .
Although the moisture is released under the appropriate conditions that have been prepared, the wood may suffer severe damage if it is soaked in water for a long time. Mold can grow in the wood and cause the wood to rot. Recent tragedies in Berkeley and Folsom are prime samples of structural damage that comes from wood members’ sustained exposure to moisture.
Light gauge steel
In terms of durability, steel has an whip hand over wood. Because of the inorganic nature of steel. Moulds and other organisms cannot breed in it, which protects them from mould, rot and pests. Being non-porous, steel cannot accumulate water and doesn't suffer from moisture-related warping, shrinking or cracking. In other words, exposure to air containing water and salt will cause corrosion of light gauge steel components, so appropriate anti-corrosion measures must be taken.
2. Seismic Performance
Wood is a sturdy material. In general, the wooden frame connects the vertical load to the concrete infrastructure below along with stud bolts. When an earthquake strikes, horizontal loads begin to act on the structure; to stop collapse, it must be braced with adequate lateral reinforcements. Lateral bracing could also be achieved by attaching wood structural panels attached to the frame to make shear walls, and other options are available, including prefabricated shear walls.
Light gauge steel
Light gauge steel’s flexibility in design may be a major advantage when it involves lateral load resistance. In the case that the seismic support provided by the wood frame is usually limited to the shear wall, the light steel frame provides a variety of supports for engineers. Includes flat X-shaped support, plywood, and steel sheath.
3. Fire Resistance
Nowadays, pine, fir and spruce have become the best choice in wooden construction. Cheap and lightweight, these species are budget-friendly and straightforward to handle during installation. Unfortunately, compared to the heavy hardwoods that were once popular in wood selection, their softwoods will ignite quickly and spread the fire more quickly.
To prevent wooden structures from burning, fire-resistant materials like fire-rated gypsum wallboard must be incorporated into the planning , along side sprinkler systems, adequate exits and egress routes.
Light gauge steel
Steel’s inflammability acts as a barrier to the spread of flames, a crucial feature lacking in wooden frames.
Although it will not be ignited, once exposed to temperatures above 550°F, the strength of the light gauge steel does begin to decrease. Residential fires are generally around 1,100°F. At this temperature, steel only has 50% of its normal use strength. Without proper protection measures, the steel frame will bend and collapse. to stop this scenario, fire-resistant materials must be wont to guard the frame from direct exposure to flames.
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