Wood vs Steel stud framing is one of the most common debates in building construction. There are pros and cons to both. Here is some essential information that can help you decide which type you should use for your project.
The most commonly used material for framing on a building construction is wood. Wood studs for framing have been used for many years until the utilization of steel in hybrid structures. It is still a favorite for many people for the following reasons.
- Wood has a high insulation capacity which can prevent external weather conditions from influencing the indoor temperature. For example, during winter or summer, you can be comfortable indoors because wood studs are natural insulators.
- Wood is still an all-time favorite for many project managers because it can be easily sourced (no long lead times), quickly assembled, and constructed to meet the needs of the customer.
- Over time, it is easy to maintain and repair wooden structures.
- Wood is one of the best values in construction.
- Building a fire-resistant structure with wood studs challenges builders because of the combustibility of wood and the difficulty in reducing the spread of flames.
- Termites can damage a wood-stud building’s durability and cost thousands of dollars in repairs.
- Wood-studs may contain chemicals, adhesives, and VOCs that compromise indoor air quality.
- Energy codes are driving wood walls to be thicker, even double stud applications to meet insulating standards.
Example of a project built with wood studs. https://arcgc.com/projects/#pp-album-5e8debbe368e0-2
Building construction also has the option of steel. Production of metal studs involves forming the studs from strips of galvanized steel in cold rolling machines. Metal studs used for structural building components utilize heavier gauge metals than the metal studs for non-load bearing walls. The Pros and Cons of steel studs are the following.
- Moisture and humidity do not affect galvanized metal studs, so they do not warp or rot and can remain straight and sturdy for a long time, which in turn can reduce your overall maintenance costs.
- The durability and strength of metal stud construction stands up to severe winds.
- Termite-resistant metal studs eliminate the need for pest control measures.
- Metal studs are hollow and lightweight, which makes them easy to carry and store.
- Manufacturing metal studs with steel creates a green product because steel can be recycled.
- Metal studs do not emit VOCs.
- Cutting metal studs can be difficult and hazardous. It typically requires a miter or circular saw equipped with a metal-cutting blade in conjunction with tin snips.
- Limited availability of less popular dimensions of metal studs can slow the construction progress.
- Tapping a drywall screw into a metal stud requires practice and patience.
- While metal is flame-resistant, it loses strength at high temperatures, like during a fire, which makes the metal studs prone to buckling and even collapse. Also, as an active conductor of heat, metal studs can ignite adjacent materials, which may cause flames to spread to other areas of a building more rapidly.
- When considering only the framing system, studies show that a metal stud framing system can cost 15 percent more than wood stud framing systems.
- The acoustics within a metal stud structure produce loud and echoing noises as the sound waves reflect off the hard surface.
Example of project built with steel studs. https://arcgc.com/projects/#pp-album-5e9365b136b25-1