Steel is the most widely used metal in construction products today. While it has been used for many years in commercial and industrial construction, steel has also become very popular in today’s residential building market. Just before the turn of the century, American builders began using lightweight steel products for residential housing much more than ever before.
In fact, data supplied by the National Association of Home Builders reveals that use of this product HAS increased by as much as 44 percent in 1998 alone. In addition, use of steel for framing in residential construction also grew by over 52 percent, while steel products used in floor joists grew by 25 percent in the same time period.
Today, many builders in the New England area are choosing to use steel and steel framing construction in their residential projects for both multi-family and single-family homes. Part of this increased use is attributed to higher lumber costs and an industry-wide commitment to conserving natural resources, such as timber products.
However, in searching for a more cost-effective solution, many builders have uncovered many other benefits to using lightweight steel products, including beams, joists and studs. This article will focus on the many advantages associated with using steel and steel framing construction for residential construction in Massachusetts. We will discuss some areas, benefits and potential issues to consider when contemplating the use of steel products in your next building project.
One of the most obvious advantages to using steel over wood in residential construction is durability. While steel is much stronger than wood products, there are other durability advantages as well. Wood is susceptible to termites and other pests, while steel does not. Steel also provides a home with extra strength in the case of earthquakes, fires and other natural disasters.
Architects, designers and builders are finding many advantages to using steel over wood in residential construction in Massachusetts. One of the most beneficial opportunities is the ability to span greater distances with steel ceiling joists versus wooden ones. This allows architects to expand their options, allowing them to create new space using steel products that just weren’t available with other materials.
However, a home that has been built with steel can actually be less energy efficient than a building built out of wood. Metal transfers hot and cold temperatures 400 times faster than wood. Additional insulation can be used to stop this transfer of heat, specifically wrapping steel framing with rigid insulation in addition to use of conventional insulation between studs. Once the issue of insulation and energy efficiency is understood, however, this no longer remains a problem for steel construction.
Steel is one of the most recyclable products in the world. Many dealers purchase used steel as scrap. In the year 2000, over 70 million tons of steel were recycled, including steel framing construction products, cans, cars, appliances, bridges and much more. Currently, steel has an overall recycling rate of over 64 percent in the United States alone. Using recycled steel saves energy and natural resources, which in turn, lowers the cost for producing new steel products.
The Benefits of Using Recycled SteelRecycled steel can be used in a number of ways. A basic oxygen furnace method is used to create flat-rolled steel products, such as steel framing, automobiles, appliances and cans. An electric arc furnace is used to make new steel products, such as structural beams, rebar, steel plate and other products that require long shapes. Both furnace methods can take recycled steel products and make them into new products for approved use in residential construction in Massachusetts.
A study conducted by the Steel Recycling Institute reveals that recycling in the United States can save enough energy to power as much as 18 million homes for a year with electricity. Just reusing a ton of steel, which is the amount usually found in the average American car, can save as much as 120 pounds of limestone, 1400 pounds of coal and 2500 pounds of iron ore. Every bit of steel that you recycle help to save energy and natural resources.
Where to Purchase Quality Steel Products in Massachusetts
Builders who are looking to purchase quality steel products in Massachusetts should turn to Mid-City Steel. With locations throughout the Southcoast region, including Westport, Massachusetts and Bozrah, Connecticut, Mid-City offers a wide variety of steel framing construction and lightweight steel products. Contact Mid-City Steel direct to find out more about their full line of products suited to residential construction in Massachusetts and all throughout the New England area.