There are many advantages to choosing steel over other contemporary building options. Steel has many attributes that place it head and shoulders above its competition. Two of these attributes are steels strength and durability.
Steel Building Strength
Unlike wood, steel provides a long-term consistent performance. Steel doesn’t expand or contract with moisture, as such, it will not warp, crack, rot, split, or creep. Additionally, structural steel frames satisfy minimum building code requirements for structural integrity and have a significant advantage in natural disasters (like hurricanes and earthquakes) due to reserve strength and ductility. Steel provides strength, structural integrity and resilience for other materials’ systems (e.g., reinforcing steel in concrete construction and steel connectors in wood frame construction), making it a logical choice for the whole structural system.
Steel Building Durability
Durability and strength make it an inherently resilient design material, with “resilience” defined as a structure’s ability to meet extreme natural and man-made challenges with minimal disruption to occupants and functions. Properly designed and constructed steel structures provide long-term durability, meaning it’s a more cost-effective choice. Barrier coatings (such as paint or galvanized zinc) are readily available to coat the steel surface and isolate it from water and oxygen. Without water and oxygen, the steel cannot corrode. When there are severe exposure conditions, such as industrial atmospheres and marine atmospheres, higher-performance coatings are available.
Benefits of being Inorganic
Steel’s inorganic nature makes it immune to termites, vermin, and mold. Moisture does not get into steel studs, substantially eliminating the expansion and contraction of construction materials around windows and doors, where leaks can occur. Termites cause more damage to structures than fire, floods, and storms combined; steel framing is not vulnerable to termites since it is inorganic and does not provide a food source for them. Additionally, termite damage is rarely covered by insurance. Building with steel can avoid this costly issue entirely.