What Does Light Gauge Steel Mean In Construction?
What Does Light Gauge Steel Mean In Construction?
Light gauge steel is a type of cold-formed steel used in construction that is strong, lightweight, and does not deteriorate like wood. It is often used as an alternative to wood framing in residential or light commercial construction.
Light gauge steel frame elements are manufactured from structural steel sheet that is formed into C, Z, or S shapes which are able to support heavy loads.
The strength and flexibility of light gauge steel makes it a versatile construction material that can be used for increased spans, custom openings, curved walls, and different external façade treatments. Advantages of using light gauge steel include buildability (as structure and nonstructural members can be produced in a factory), fire resistance (as it is non-combustible), and sustainability (as all steel products contain recycled steel).
Advantages Of Light Gauge Steel Construction
Light gauge steel construction offers numerous advantages similar to those of light wood-framed structures. One of the primary benefits of this type of construction is that it is lightweight, allowing for quick building without the need for heavy tools or equipment.
Each component is easily transportable by hand, making the construction process similar to a carpentry job on a larger scale.
The primary tool used for this type of construction is a light, handheld screw gun. Due to the strength of steel, light gauge steel (LGS) structures are lighter than wood-framed structures with equivalent strength.
The high strength of steel also allows for greater spacing between members compared to wood frame construction. For instance, LGS can be spaced about 24″ (600mm) apart compared to wood frames that require spacing of around 16″ or 20″ (400 or 500mm). This means that fewer members are needed, resulting in quicker construction times.
Furthermore, light gauge steel can easily be shaped to any form and can be clad and insulated with a wide range of materials. Additionally, changes or modifications to LGS construction can be easily made at any point in its lifespan. There are also a great range of systems and products available that cater to this type of construction.
Light gauge steel structures have additional advantages over wood-framed structures. For example, they are non-combustible, which is a code requirement for some types of structures. However, because steel can lose its strength in fire easily, it must be protected from fire with fire-rated sheeting.
Furthermore, light gauge steel structures do not rot, shrink, warp or decompose like wood structures, making them an ideal choice for areas where there is a high probability of termite attack.
Disadvantages Of Light Gauge Steel Construction
Light gauge steel construction has some drawbacks. Firstly, it allows sound to pass more easily than masonry structures. Secondly, light gauge steel can lose its strength in the event of a fire, so appropriate fire protection must be implemented. The most straightforward fire protection method is to cover the steel with fire-resistant sheeting or drywall.
What Is The Difference Between Structural Steel And Light Gauge Steel?
The two types of steel differ in their manufacturing process, as well as their usage and the techniques used to attach them. Connecting structural steel necessitates more robust and thicker techniques, such as welding, bolting, or riveting, whereas light gauge steel can be attached more easily using steel screws.
What Are Other Names For Light Gauge Steel?
Light-gauge steel is also known as cold-formed steel, cold-rolled steel, and thin-gauge steel. It is a type of construction material made from thin sheets of rolled steel that has been formed through a series of rolls at low temperatures to create various shapes and sizes.
As compared to traditional structural steel, light gauge steel is much lighter in weight and does not deteriorate due to weather or age like wood does. It can also be aesthetically pleasing and provide architects with more design flexibility than concrete.
Light gauge steel provides many beneficial properties such as durability, strength and it is easily transportable.
Is Light Gauge Steel Fire Resistant?
Light gauge steel is often used in building construction due to its cost effectiveness, sustainability and consistent quality. It is also resistant to external elements such as termites, pests and mildew.
Light gauge steel materials are fire-resistant due to their lack of fuel load, so they char at a high temperature instead of burning quickly.
The charring acts as an insulation barrier that prevents fire from spreading. Additionally, lightweight steel framing provides excellent acoustic resistance as it helps prevent sound transmission through walls and ceilings. All in all, light gauge steel is an effective and suitably fire-resistant material for building applications.
Is Light Gauge Steel Combustible?
Light-gauge steel is a great solution for those looking to build on sites where fire hazards are a concern, as it is completely non-combustible.
Its core ensures that it will not become part of a dangerous fire, allowing the site to remain safe despite the greater risk of fire due to the wooden materials used in construction.
As such, light-gauge steel can provide peace of mind by giving builders assurance that their structure won’t become engulfed in flames during its assembly.
Is Light Gauge Steel Galvanized?
Light gauge steel is typically galvanized with either zinc, aluminum, or a combination of the two. This is done to protect it from corrosion and rust, and helps it to stay strong and robust as a building material. The typical method for installing light gauge steel involves constructing a load-bearing wall first, followed by interior partitions and then exterior cladding.
Galvanizing the steel gives it added strength and durability for years to come, ensuring that any building made using light gauge steel can withstand even the toughest conditions.