We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Steel Framing?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Steel framing is a construction technique that uses steel supports to form the basic shape, or “skeleton” of a building. The steel frame provides structural support for other building elements, including siding, roof, floors, walls, and occupants. Steel framing is an alternate to other construction methods, including wood framing and modular building.

A steel frame is comprised of vertical members, known as columns, as well as horizontal members, or girders. Both columns and girders are typically made from I-beams, which are steel beams shaped like the capitalized letter “I.” The two shorter lengths of the I-beam are known as flanges, while longer section is called a web. The shape of an I-beam provides superior strength and structural support for the remainder of the building.

The columns and girders used in steel framing are laid out in a grid pattern, with steel sheets used to create floor and roof decks. Building components that are not exposed to high loads may be formed from steel channels, pipes, or tubes, which weigh less than I-beams. Because of their high strength to weight ratio, steel joists, or trusses, are often used to build roof supports. These elements are joined together using bolts, rivets, or welding techniques to ensure a strong connection.

When steel framing is used to construct the interior walls of a building, it is often referred to as light-gauge framing. In light-gauge framing, thin sheets of steel are formed into studs or channels. The channels are placed along the floor and ceiling, and are used to hold the studs in place. Steel studs are typically placed 16 inches (40.6 cm) on center and are covered with sheets of drywall to form the building's walls and rooms.

Steel framing has a number of advantages over other construction techniques. First, it offers superior strength compared to its weight, which allows for very tall or complex buildings to be safely constructed. Because steel is produced by machine, it offers a consistency that can not be found with wood-framed buildings. This often results in smoother and more even walls, as well as fewer structural failures. Finally, steel framing is not susceptible to the mold, rot, and insect problems that plague wood-framed buildings.

Despite its many benefits, steel framing also has its drawbacks. It is typically much more expensive than modular or wood framing, and requires more experienced installers. Steel framed buildings can also suffer catastrophic damage due to fire. To minimize the risk of heat or fire-related failure, steel beams must be protected by a more fire-resistant material. Many steel components are sprayed with non-combustible foam, encased in concrete, or surrounded by fire-resistant drywall.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.