Light Gauge Steel Framing vs. Wood Framing

Light Gauge Steel Framing vs. Wood Framing

Using the best framing material for building homes is essential for contractors. A home or building is a big investment that requires a lot of planning to avoid any regrets. Doing some research in advance is essential in helping you decide between light gauge steel or lumber for your next construction project. Keeping all of these different pros/cons in mind can help you decide which is the best option for your situation.

Light Gauge Steel or Lumber

Light gauge steel framing (LGS) is gaining in popularity as an alternative to using lumber framing. LGS is powerful and durable while also being flexible in design. LGS is a much better long-term investment compared to lumber construction.

Here is an overview of the differences between using a steel frame vs. wood frame materials in construction.


Wood can easily absorb and release moisture, which makes it perform well in high-humidity climates. However, wood can suffer significant damage if it soaks in water for a long time. Mold can eventually form and cause the wood framing to rot. Termites can also create massive damage once they get inside a home. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), termite damage causes up to $2 billion worth of damage each year. Despite these various weaknesses, wood framing can last a long time with proper maintenance.

Steel framing offers superior durability compared to wood materials. For example, you don’t have to worry about mold or rot with steel framing. Termites also can’t cause any damage to steel construction, which will give you peace of mind. Wood can eventually begin to warp or shrink due to moisture, while steel will always remain the same because it’s non-porous. However, using a protective coating for steel framing is vital to avoid corrosion due to exposure to the outside elements.

Fire Resistance

Pine, spruce, and fir trees are often used in wood frame construction due to them being cheap and lightweight. These building materials are easy to handle during the construction process, which can improve efficiency. However, one of the main drawbacks of wood construction is the risk of fire. Softwood can quickly ignite and spread much faster compared to heavy hardwoods that were once popular in buildings. Incorporating fire-resistant materials, installing a sprinkler system, and creating adequate exit routes are essential aspects of wood construction. An important safety feature of LGS is that it acts as a barrier against the spread of flames.

Flood Damage

Taking flood-resistant measures for wood construction is important due to its potential for developing mold, rotting, shrinking, or warping if it’s soaked in water for a lengthy time. One way to combat these issues is to apply water-repellent paint to the wood frame. Spraying closed-cell foam within the stud bays or using XPS insulation boards is also helpful in decreasing flood damage.

Galvanized steel uses a protective zinc coating that provides a moisture barrier against water damage. Using this coating provides steel framing a significant advantage over wood construction, making it nearly invincible against flood conditions. Applying anti-corrosion coating is also beneficial to extend its longevity further, as galvanized steel may eventually lose its zinc coating in harsh environments.

Seismic Performance

Building solid structures is especially important in areas prone to earthquakes. Wood is a fairly sturdy material during normal circumstances, but it needs additional reinforcement to prevent a collapse amidst seismic activity. Building additional support will increase construction costs, but it’s always well worth the cost in many regions of the country. Lateral bracing is often effective at providing support to handle the additional horizontal loads caused by earthquakes.

An added benefit of using LGS framing is that it offers additional flexibility in providing lateral load resistance. Engineers can choose from various alternatives, whether using steel sheathing, plywood, or flat-strap X-bracing for additional support. On the other hand, wood structures are often limited to bracing options on shear walls. Besides offering protection against earthquakes, the strong foundation of steel provides you additional protection against severe storms and strong winds.

Building Costs

With the spike in lumber costs, you will find that metal or light gauge steel is cheaper to use than wood.  In addition to the cost savings, you will also find that steel frame home have a much lower lifetime cost associated with its near-zero maintenance.  If you ever decide to sell or tear down your building or house, the metal can be 100% salvaged, recycled and sold.

Potential Insurance Savings

Using steel for home construction can also help reduce your insurance premium compared to wood framing. These cost savings are often significant, as it’s a good idea to receive multiple quotes from insurance providers to help you find the best coverage at the right price. Adding different elements to your design can also lower your insurance, such as installing a fire sprinkler system or fire-resistant insulation.

Closing Thoughts

Comparing steel versus wood framing is important in helping you make the best decision for your next building project. Steel framing offers a variety of benefits, and it continues to grow in popularity. It’s important to keep all of these various factors in mind to help you choose which material is the best option for your next home construction building project.

If you have any questions, or want to learn more about using light gauge steel for your next project, please contact us at (863) 623-3021 or email for additional information.

Advantages of Steel Frame Construction

Advantages of Steel Frame Construction

Choosing the best material for a building project is critical for your investment, as not using the right material can lead to plenty of headaches. The most common types of building materials include lumber, concrete, or steel. These different materials have various benefits and drawbacks, but a steel frame structure is one of the best options for any building or home.

Steel framing consists of steel columns and beams that are assembled to provide support for an entire building. The use of steel framing is also growing in popularity, and it’s even displacing lumber as the primary material for residential and commercial buildings in some areas of the world. Learning more about the many benefits of steel frame buildings is always essential before you begin your next construction project.

Here are a few of the many reasons to consider using steel framing construction.

Quicker Build Time

Time is always money in the construction industry. A faster build time saves everyone money, and it’s a lot more convenient, which makes steel a popular option for buildings. Steel is fabricated off-site, which expedites the entire construction process as everything is ready to be assembled through welding and bolting pieces with each other. On the other hand, using concrete is a much slower process. Installers also don’t have to spend time building temporary formwork and dismantling it afterward, saving a lot more time.

Long Lifespan

Another benefit of steel frame construction is that it has a much longer lifespan than concrete or lumber. Unlike lumber, you will never have to worry about steel splitting or cracking due to its age. Steel frame construction is also not vulnerable to pests. An increase in moisture won’t cause steel to expand, warp, or rot, which is an all too common problem with wood construction. However, it’s still important to prevent contact with water due to possible corrosion issues. The best way to protect steel is to coat it with a water-resistant material to prevent rusting while also using a fire-resistant material to ensure steel maintains its strength and integrity during a fire.


Using steel framing can also save you money over the long term. Steel frames are always fabricated off-site, decreasing on-site labor by 10%-20%, as fewer workers reduce the chance of costly accidents. The quicker construction time for using steel framing also means less financing costs, and it expedites the building process to ensure the building is ready to be used for a faster payback. Steel is also highly durable, which lessens the maintenance cost and reduces the need for making repairs in the future. Many insurance companies offer lower rates for steel structures due to their ability to withstand pests, decay, and many natural disasters.

Improve Safety

Safety is always a top priority, as steel construction provides much greater strength than other available options. Steel frames perform exceptionally well against mother nature, whether earthquakes, hurricanes, or heavy snow loads. Steel even performs better against man-made emergencies, whether it’s an explosion or a high-impact accident. Fires are always a risk with wood construction, while steel isn’t combustible. However, it possible for the steel to become compromised if exposed to extreme temperatures.

Greater Strength

Steel has a much higher density than concrete or lumber, as it can carry a greater load than either one of those construction materials. The higher strength of steel makes it possible to reduce the amount of material needed on the job site, decreasing shipping costs, reducing labor, and simplifying design. All of these different items increase efficiency throughout the building process while keeping costs to a minimum. Steel also wears less than lumber framing, which results in it lasting for a much longer time.


Sustainability is another advantage of using steel frame construction. Using software before fabricating steel products greatly decreases scrap steel, which helps the environment and lessens costs. Scrap steel can often be recycled to use for other projects, as it doesn’t lose its strength if it’s melted down for recasting. On the other hand, scrap wood isn’t always recyclable if it’s too small or has an awkward shape. Concrete can be recycled for the future, but it’s only limited to pavements.

Maximize Space

Using steel materials allows you to maximize space during the construction process. Steel frames can be spaced farther apart to create a more expansive bay and provide more flexibility in floor designs. While concrete is strong, it has inferior spanning and a more limited construction height than steel materials. Choosing to use steel for a house can also decrease the need to use load-bearing lumber, saving you money. Additional benefits of steel frames are that you can construct them in any weather, and it’s often simple to make any design changes.


An often overlooked benefit of steel construction is that it’s much more versatile than other building materials. Structural steel can easily be fabricated into many different shapes without decreasing its strength and integrity. The versatility of steel makes architects use innovative and creative designs for a truly unique appearance. You can use steel for a wide variety of purposes, whether it’s aircraft hangars, indoor arenas, bridges, or high skyscrapers. Future-proofing a steel frame is much easier than other materials, as you can expand the size of a building or renovate it due to its versatility.

Closing Thoughts

Steel frame construction provides a wide range of benefits, whether it’s for residential or commercial buildings. The additional strength, versatility, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness of using steel construction are just a few of the many advantages of using this material. You will also significantly cut back on construction time by using steel. All of these different benefits make using steel a worthwhile option for anyone working in the construction industry.

Now is one of the best times to begin making plans for your next steel frame construction project.  Give us a call at (863) 623-3021 or email for more information.