Metal Framing vs Wood Framing

Metal Framing vs Wood Framing

When building a home or commercial project, the framing stage is crucial to determining how the rest of the building will ultimately take shape. Without a strong skeleton, the structural integrity is compromised and prone to disasters. 

A building’s frame is made from one of two conventional options, metal framing or wood framing. Both metal and wood framing have their advantages and disadvantages which need to be weighed and considered before committing to the rest of the build.

Metal Framing

Metal framing is considered more beneficial than wood framing for multiple reasons. First metal framing is more durable than wood framing. Unlike wood framing, metal framing is not prone to rot or warping.

What is Metal Framing Good For?

Metal framing is generally used for commercial properties. 

The Pros of Metal Framing

Metal framing is the industry standard for framing commercial properties. We will list a few reasons why you may consider metal framing for your next project.

  1. Unlike wood, metal does not accumulate moisture or humidity thus metal studs do not warp or rot.
  2. Metal studs are much lighter than wood studs as metal framing is hollow to allow electrical cables to pass through.
  3. Metal framing is strong against severe winds and storms.
  4. For environmentally conscious builders steel metal framing is a green product as steel can be recycled. In fact, according to The American Iron and Steel Institute, steel framing contains a minimum of 25% recycled steel. Leftover materials are also recycled after the job is done.
  5. Metal studs do not attract insects and are prone to bugs like termites.
  6. Metal framing is made from a non-combustible material such as steel making it fire resistant.
  7. Metal framing helps when it comes to insuring a structure as it is more reliable than wood when it comes to floods and other natural disasters.

The Cons of Metal Framing

While metal framing has its positive traits some negatives need to be addressed. 

  1. Metal framing is more expensive than wood studs from a strict raw materials standpoint. Metal studs also require screws to fasten as nails would not suffice. Once you include these costs, the total cost of using metal framing starts to build up.
  2. Metal framing is more difficult to cut compared to wood framing. You need to use a circular saw and metal snips to contour the metal.
  3. Metal studs have limited availability as you need precise cuts of metal to complete a build while with wood you can easily obtain the studs required.

Wood Framing

Wood framing is the framing of a structure that is made out of lumber. This lumber is usually made from softwoods such as Douglas Fir as it is the most cost-effective option for construction.

What is Wood Framing Good For?

Wood framing is the preferred option for residential construction. However, metal framing is starting to become the more popular choice between the two.

The Pros of Wood Framing

Even though wood framing is starting to diminish in residential construction there are still many pros to using wood in framing your structure. 

  1. The most appealing factor when deciding to use wood framing is that it is more affordable. As all professionals know, building materials are becoming more expensive and are constantly rising so more people are looking to save costs where they can. 
  2. Wood framing doesn’t rust over time. Unlike metal wood does not risk rusting and compromising the structural integrity of the building.
  3. Wood studs are easier to manipulate for the needs of the building’s architecture. Metal studs have parts of the stud knocked out to run electrical cables through wood allowing you to manipulate the stud to your liking. 
  4. Wood framing is easier to maintain in the long run. Wood is much cheaper to get a hold of and easier to repair 
  5. For the environmentally conscious, wood framing is the greener option. The operational cost of making wood studs requires less energy compared to metal framing.
  6. Wood studs can be nailed into place. Nails are often cheaper than screws generally reducing the cost of building materials even further.
  7. Wood studs are better for interior decorating as they can support nails driven into walls for hanging picture frames, mirrors, and other types of hanging products.

The Cons of Wood Framing

Although there are many positives to using wood framing, at the same time, there are some drawbacks to using wood framing as well.  We will examine those drawbacks here. 

  1. The most obvious negative to using wood framing is that wood is not fire-resistant. Wood framing is more susceptible to combustion compared to metal framing
  2. Wood framing can rot and become damaged by insects such as termites.
  3. Wood framing can lead to higher moisture levels in residential construction. This moisture buildup will eventually lead to mold growth which will degrade the structure and harm residents living inside the home.
  4. Wood framing tends to reduce the overall energy efficiency of a home.

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