Cold-Formed Steel Framing Building Systems Compared

Explore the differences of our cold-formed steel building systems.

In recent years, cold-formed steel framing has experienced a resurgence, popping up everywhere from small apartment buildings to 15-storey condominiums. Its ever-growing popularity could be attributed to its many advantages over other building materials like wood and concrete.

Cold-formed steel, a durable building material crafted by roll-forming metallic-coated sheet steel into various building components, is more affordable, easier to use, and lends itself to both smoother construction and more flexible designs. Cold-formed steel also weighs less and requires less maintenance and repair over time.

Typically, you can find cold-formed steel framing in mid-rise residential and commercial buildings, though it can be used for a wide range of projects including custom homes and mezzanine construction. Cold-formed steel framing is especially common in rapidly growing urban areas as builders search for the fastest and safest ways to address housing needs.

iSPAN’s framing systems capitalize on the advantages of cold-formed steel, offering higher quality structures in shorter timeframes. While each system is loaded with benefits and unique features, it’s important to understand the differences between them to decide which is right for your project.

TotalFraming: A complete cold-formed steel building structure

TotalFraming: A complete cold-formed steel building structure

TotalFraming is the most complete cold-formed steel building solution, designed so that contractors can assemble building components on or off-site without recruiting special trades. This system combines Composite TotalJoist with load-bearing, pre-panelized walls, resulting in a single source structural solution that makes the transition to cold-formed steel framing seamless.

For easy installation, all components are included, cut to size and assembled using bolts instead of welds.

Among its many benefits, TotalFraming reduces on-site construction time, enables a cleaner, safer job site and, with all structural components delivered by a single supplier, facilitates a smoother overall project.

In addition to Composite TotalJoist, TotalFraming can also incorporate our TotalTruss system. With TotalTruss, any complex roof can be modelled and fabricated for easy on-site installation. TotalTruss roofs are 100% non-combustible and there’s complete architectural freedom.

TotalFraming is best applied to mid-rise construction projects, like apartment buildings, condominiums and hotels.

Composite TotalJoist: A durable and high-quality flooring system

Composite TotalJoist: A durable and high-quality flooring system

Composite TotalJoist combines TotalJoists with Total-Lewis-Deck and concrete to provide the ultimate flooring system. TotalJoist is a patented steel floor joist; Total-Lewis-Deck is a dovetail-shaped deck with embossed ribs that forms a very strong, permanent bond with the concrete poured onto it.

Composite TotalJoist is quick and easy to install and dramatically expands design and building options for owners and developers. This complete concrete flooring system can be used in combination with a wide range of support conditions including ICF, masonry and wood framing.

Composite TotalJoist has high acoustic ratings, vibration control and high fire ratings. This system also eliminates the need to use bulkheads, is available in multiple depths (from 8 inches to 18 inches) and is 50% lighter than precast concrete.

Like the TotalFraming system, Composite TotalJoist is ideal for mid-rise construction.

TotalJoist: The ultimate cold-formed steel joist

TotalJoist: The ultimate cold-formed steel joist

TotalJoist – a superior steel floor joist – is the basis of Composite TotalJoist but without the concrete flooring. Its proprietary design allows it to be installed like wood I-joists, but TotalJoists have superior strength and structural integrity. The joists are designed to work with all wall structures, including wood framing, steel framing, masonry and ICF. This makes TotalJoist the most accommodating joist in the floor framing industry.

TotalJoist has many advantages. They have up to 30% greater spans than wood, allowing for bigger rooms and more open design. Customers who use TotalJoists often want a lightweight joist with wider spans than what’s possible with wood joists or joists made of other materials. TotalJoists also maintain their quality once in place, meaning they won’t shrink, twist, warp or suffer damage from termites, mold and other conditions. They’re also environmentally friendly, creating less waste and lasting more than 100 years.

Concerning application, TotalJoists are often used for low-rise construction such as office buildings and custom homes.


iSPAN’s cold-formed steel framing systems are designed to produce superior structures in less time. TotalFraming and Composite TotalJoist are ideal for mid-rise buildings while TotalJoist is an unbeatable joist solution for low-rise construction and custom homes. Regardless of the project or purpose, iSPAN can help. We pride ourselves on providing high-quality building systems, outstanding project support and better on-site experiences.

To find out more about each of our solutions, contact us today.


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