Wood has been the preferred material for the construction of homes and most other types of structures for many years. The wide availability, self-replenishing nature and ease of use are the reasons for this. However, with today’s modern manufacturing infrastructure, and the reduction of non-protected sources of wood are creating a new trend in domestic and commercial construction.
Currently, steel is quickly becoming the building material of choice for many large construction contractors. Steel is more durable than wood when properly treated. It is not significantly heavier than the preferred wood types, such as oak, and it does not require the depletion of our woodlands to use for building.
In 2002 the U.S. Department of Housing began a study wherein they built one steel frame home alongside a home built with traditional wood materials. In the short term, the steel building cost 14% more to build than the wood home. However, over the next few years, the cost to own and maintain the steel-based structure was significantly lower.
Since then, manufacturing processes have advanced enough to narrow the construction cost gap of steel to wood, making steel the clear superior to wood at every point in the life of a home.
Naturally, steel is more resistant to natural disasters, such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Steel is impervious to the ravages of mold and the dreaded termite threat which causes millions of dollars of damage to real estate every year. It does add to the weight burden that material haulers and builders must cope with. But the weight differential can be made up for in long-term costs easily.
Best of all, steel construction poses little to no threat to the environment as our trees and forests needn’t be cut down to support it.
For all these reasons, steel is rapidly becoming the building material of choice for many development organizations.