VS1 Cloud Blog
or 50-plus years, cold-formed steel (CFS) c-shape joist systems have offered superior performance when compared to traditional wood framing joists. Because steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any building material used for construction, utilizing c-shaped steel joists can significantly reduce the cost of labor and materials because architects and builders find that one can achieve similar spans and loads with wider joist spacing.
CFS joists do not warp or bow like wood joists, nor do they split or have pesky knots that can pose challenges and compromise the structural performance when framing contractors create workarounds to install these members in the field. These c-channel joists offer dimensional stability and integrity over wood joists. A more dimensionally stabile joist means that joists won't shrink like wood, eliminating troublesome nail popping and unsightly wall cracking.
The increasing price of wood and the competitiveness of CFS pricing (both structural and nonstructural stud and track) have made this popular building material even more popular in recent years because of the increasing price of lumber as well as the unrivaled resiliency compared to stick-built construction. Owners, architects and builders are turning to CFS, especially in the wake of the soaring price of lumber. In September, we saw the rise equate to a 3.1% increase to an all-time high of $641.60 per thousand board feet as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The new high, a growth of $19 since July 2020, beats the previous high of $639, which was a result of a brief hike in 2018 from tariffs and forest fires. In the spring, the price of lumber futures hit a four-year low as sawmills closed response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
CFS resiliency is one of the most reassuring attributes for owners, architects and builders looking to provide stronger, more dynamic and lasting structures. With increasingly intensified tropical storms and hurricanes throughout the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard, CFS is being chosen as the framing material of choice for a long-standing, safe structure for both single-story and multistory builds because of its intrinsic benefits and durability.
When you couple the power of CFS joists with the overall intrinsic benefits of steel as a building material you get unmatched life-cycle savings. Steel will not rot, promote mold or mildew, or attract termites, pests or other insect life. CFS offers sustainability benefits both during occupancy and after construction as well. Because steel is extremely durable it offers a much longer life span compared to wood, and it is 100% recyclable and never downcycled.
Some CFS framing manufacturers have taken their traditional stud c-channel configurations and optimized web depths greater than traditional 6-inch stud depths to create these c-channel floor joists. These joists integrate seamlessly in a variety building types and framing applications including curtainwall, load-bearing CFS framing, concrete masonry unit block, steel beams and panelized construction. Manufacturers have since created service punchouts with reinforcement lips, creative bends and folds, and rim tracks, bracing and other accessories that seamlessly integrate into building systems.
By: Sal Forgione