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Light-Gauge Steel Framing Myths

iSPAN - Article - Light-Gauge Steel Myths

Cold-formed steel – also called light-gauge steel – is practically perfect for most construction projects. If you’ve heard something bad, it could be fake! Read these seven common myths about this versatile steel construction solution, and learn the truths that benefit developers, architects, general contractors and tenants.

Myth #1: Light-Gauge-Steel Framing is Expensive

Flexibility, strength and durability must cost more, right? Not always. In many mid-rise construction projects, light-gauge steel saves money. Using a framing solution like iSPAN’s TotalFraming allows for a smaller installation crew and a shorter installation schedule, in turn lowering costs. So although in some cases upfront costs could be more, significant cost savings will be found throughout the process.

Additionally, a light-gauge-steel supplier like iSPAN not only manufactures the product, but also cuts project expenses by streamlining the design process with their in-house team.

Myth #2: Light-Gauge Steel Framing is Noisy

Noise is the primary complaint for multi-family residential buildings. Think about steel, and you likely envision large, cold structural steel beams that echo and clang together. Light-gauge steel is the opposite of noisy.

When used properly, light-gauge steel dramatically reduces noise. Take for example iSPAN’s Composite TotalJoist flooring system. It regularly achieves 60% higher acoustic ratings than precast concrete and over 34% higher acoustic ratings than wood and gypcrete with reduced sound flanking. Neighbours could be amateur rock stars, and it wouldn’t make a difference.

Myth #3: Light-Gauge Steel Framing is Not Load Bearing

Light-gauge steel can bear the load of a mid-rise building and even more. AquaZul Waterfront Condominiums in Grimsby, Ontario reaches new heights at 10 storeys of light-gauge steel – that’s also an incredible amount of weight! Like any structure, important load-bearing engineering requires planning, but the limits of this steel are being redefined every year.

Myth #4: Light-Gauge Steel will Rust

Steel will rust when left to the elements without protective coatings – this is absolutely correct. That being said, the light-gauge-steel structures that we’re seeing in the construction industry are quite a bit different. They’re coated with zinc that ensures that they will never rust. So even if there is a roof failure and water enters the building, there is no risk of rust, corrosion or even mold.

iSPAN - Article - Light-Gauge Steel Myths - Aquazul waterfront condominiums

Myth #5: Light-Gauge Steel Framing Requires More Work

It’s true that light-gauge steel can result in more design work, but that’s only in the best interests of saving time and money in the long run. More time is spent on design so that every component is precisely measured and fabricated prior to the site construction happening. But once construction begins, it is normal for the number of crew members required to be cut in half, since there is no onsite cutting of the structural elements. A small installation crew of eager labourers are all who are needed.

In addition to the smaller crew, having each light-gauge steel component produced in advance ensures that there are fewer job site mistakes, delays and confusion regarding material installation. It’s a smoother, simpler, easier construction process.

Myth #6: Light-Gauge Steel Framing Interferes with Mobile Phone Reception

We’ve heard this one for at least a decade, and the same myth has been spread regarding WiFi reception and radio signals. Although steel in general has the potential to impede signal reception, there is no interference with light-gauge steel since waves can easily diffract around the framing.

Myth #7: Light-Gauge Steel Framing is Bad for the Environment

The future of construction – and the world we live in – relies on wise use of our precious resources. Steel requires energy to be produced, but it retains that energy, giving it the highest strength to weight ratio. Light-gauge steel doesn’t corrode, rust, decompose or harbor harmful growths. When its use is over after an untold number of years, it is almost 100% recyclable.

The Reality is: Cold-Formed Steel Benefits Most Mid-Rise Projects

Steel is the future of construction, and improves every step of the planning and construction process. Have you heard something negative about cold-formed steel and aren’t quite sure if it’s true? Ask iSPAN’s Director of Sales Dwayne Schaus: dwaynes@ispansystems.com or 1-855-804-7726.


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