Building With Galvanized Steel: Pros and Cons
Galvanized steel is a widely used building project material. This steel is coated with a zinc oxide finish, making it superior to plain steel. Consider the pros and cons of building with galvanized steel before beginning your project.
Pros of Galvanized Steel
Galvanized steel is most often used in pipes, roofs, support beams, wall braces, and residential framing. It is a popular material for commercial uses and is becoming increasingly more popular as a framing material for residential use as well for the following reasons.
Galvanized steel resists corrosion, making it popular in marine and seawater areas, where any other material tends to rust and rot.
It is also used for farm applications, and it is in fact considered better than aluminum for many purposes in a farm setting, such as for livestock confinement or for buildings with mixed materials. Generally, if a building comes in contact with wet concrete, copper, or lead, then the galvanized steel is recommended.
Sustainability and Recycling
Many people recommend using galvanized steel as a framing material for residential as well as commercial buildings because it can be reused and recycled.
If a building is destroyed in an earthquake or other natural disaster, then there is a great deal of construction waste that needs to be disposed of – often ending up in a landfill.
Galvanized steel can be easily salvaged and reformed into useful reusable products.
Better Than Wood Framing
Galvanized steel experiences no shrinking, warping, twisting, or deforming like wood framing. The framing pieces are uniform and square, allowing for ideal finishing work.
The steel framed homes can stand up to hurricanes, earthquakes, winds, snow loads, torrential rains, and termites without corrosion or breakage.
There are no nail pops or squeaking with steel framing, since there are no nails used. The studs install quickly, weigh less than wood, and are less wasteful, and they can be made to custom lengths, eliminating the need to make frequent cuts.
Cons of Galvanized Steel
While galvanized steel has many advantages, it's important to know the disadvantages of this material before making a purchase.
The cost of galvanized steel, particularly for framing in residential homes, is higher than wood stick buildings. This can deter people for using galvanized steel, despite the many structural and safety advantages.
Lack of Experience with Steel
Some building code and zoning officials in various towns and counties may not be familiar with steel construction, since using galvanized steel as a framing material is not yet common. This may cause delays and questions.
Carpenters may take some time to familiarize themselves with using the product, and they may need to get different tools to complete the construction.
Dangers in Pipes
When used in pipes, galvanized steel may leech lead into the water system, which can be very dangerous, especially when in contact with children.
While the use of galvanized steel for other uses is gaining popularity, the use of steel for water moving purposes is fading out.