Builders employed dimensional timber to sustain their framework operations until engineered timber joists were introduced in the late 1960s. These were replaced in 1970 by i-joists, named after their shape. Engineered wood joists constructed of plywood have grown in popularity as the manufacturing process has become more effective and costs have fallen. They added steel to make trusses as steel mining grew more practicable over time, ultimately giving place to steel floor joists.
The goal was to develop a more robust load-bearing framework to assist large structures and make open floor designs more accessible at the beginning of the century. Although wood is a cost-effective alternative in many building projects, steel joists’ longevity and load-bearing potential make them an appealing offer for long-term constructors. The question, therefore, becomes: when should steel joists be used?
Steel Floor Joists Make Sense For Multiple Reasons
- Steel joists have the best strength-to-weight ratio of any building material. Therefore, they can accomplish the same duties with far less support. It can impact the amount of time it takes, the labour cost, and the accessibility of each item. You must also examine the load-bearing capacity since some circumstances will prevent the usage of wood owing to massive loads.
- Steel joists are appropriate for regions such as cellars and attics where climatic conditions would typically cause wood joists to deteriorate. Steel is not susceptible to mould development due to prolonged contact with moisture, such as basements. It’s also less sensitive to basement-dwelling pests like rats and termites. Although both materials may be treated with different primers and chemicals to make them more resistant to wear, timber is far more susceptible to deterioration than steel.
- Steel joist floors do not make as much noise as wood floors. Walking over old wood floors can cause creaking due to warping, cracking, and bending of the wood, leading to loosened bolts and sagging joists. Steel floor joists become the perfect solution in cases where sound may be a concern or need elimination. These always remain straight, highly durable, and hold their shape longer than wood floor joists.
- There are some places where steel seems to be the only alternative due to particular constraints. Steel may be necessary to protect individuals who will utilise a bridge in an area prone to floods or earthquakes. In addition, several Australian states have or are considering mould-related regulations. Thus, builders who wish to avoid responsibility must include steel joists in their blueprints.
- Steel is the most recyclable substance on the planet, it doesn’t need forests, and it produces 90% less waste than wood. Steel joists may be assured of their durability by developers who are aware of the environment or wish to utilise “green” activities as a selling feature.
- Steel joists do not combust and will not contribute to the spread of a fire. It enhances fire safety while adhering to local norms and regulations. Compared to traditional wood joists, a steel joist provides code-approved improvements in allowed floor space and structure heights. A third of any fire originates in the hollow between the walls. According to case studies, steel joists perform admirably in home fires, with hardly any damage to the frame system.
Use a wood system if you wish to save cash on upfront component expenses in the near term. However, steel floor joists are the solution for lengthy sustainability, durability, reduced noise, security, and excellent overall quality.