Building a new home using steel framing can be a very good long term investment, as they last longer, and carry a better warranty than wood. Steel is not effected to the degree wood is when it comes to temperature, or insects. The materials are much different, however the overall construction is the same. The differences in cost of a steel framed home, and a wood framed one, comes out in the initial construction, and is generally a little more expensive. This cost will be returned to you over the life of your home in maintenance and repair costs, as well as heat and air efficiency.
Building Materials Used
With steel framing the base of the frame walls are replaced with what are called tracks, and these are secured to the floors in a similar fashion with bolts secured up through the tracks. These are the base support of the actual frame that will be constructed using a steel stud framework, that is 24 inches apart, instead of the normal 4 feet in wood framing. Your tools are going to be specialized for securing metal, and cutting metal beams as the construction is being done.
Cutting Edge Tools
When assembling your steel framing you will be using a number of strange new tools such as the collated screw gun and different types of cutting sheers to trim and clip metal beams as needed. C-clamps are commonly used for pinning or holding work as it is being secured with the connectors, which are track flange screws designed to hold the frame together.
The steel framing is made up of steel studs that will need to be cut and measured as your blueprints allow for height and width of your outer wall structure. The technology also allows for more unique construction where wood has seemed to limit the creative outlet of construction for hundreds of years. Steel frames can literally be shaped and molded to create strange angles and artistic type contours to your homes outer appearance with very little effort.
When constructing with steel framing you will want the blueprints to be made with this in mind as the stud wall layouts are different than in a wooden home. The architect and drafter will need to alter any previous floor plans that may have been drawn for a wooden home, if the contractor does not know how to convert the stud wall frame layout to a steel one. A major difference is that the distance between studs is different as will be the building materials which will change the initial purchasing cost of the home.
If you decide to go with a home construction that uses steel framing, you will want to be sure to get a contractor that is familiar with the process. There are many subtle changes to the process, even though the majority of the actual construction is relatively the same. Different materials that may cost a little more in the beginning and save you in the end, will not save you money if the contractor is not familiar with steel framing process.