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How Does Structural Metal Compare to Wood Frames in Construction? April 6, 2018

Wood, Wright
How Does Structural Metal Compare to Wood Frames in Construction?, Wood, Missouri

Turning blueprints into reality requires a significant amount of materials, but none may be as important as those used to create the frame. After all, structures rely on frames to hold up their weight, stabilize walls, and create a functional living or work space. So what type of material is best for framing: wood or metal? While wood has a longer track record of success in the construction industry, the following advantages explain why structural steel is catching up fast.

Metal vs. Wood Frames

Labor Requirements

It takes several skilled professionals to create a stable, well-designed wood frame. For example, studs and posts must be precisely cut, prepared, and fitted to meet the blueprint parameters. Rather than waste time and money meeting these demands, many construction teams use structural steel beams. Since these beams are fabricated before the project begins, crews don’t have to spend as much time preparing materials.

Strength & Durability

metalWhile some types of wood are stronger than steel, the natural material presents a lot of risks that can impair the overall stability of a structure. Specifically, wood is susceptible to insect infestation, rot, and fire damage. Steel, on the other hand, is incredibly strong, fire-resistant, insect-resistant, and stable enough to keep buildings secure during seismic activity. In addition to these advantages, structural steel also requires less maintenance than wood frames.

Design Capabilities

Design options are limited when building structures with wood, as the material can only be manipulated in certain ways. By contrast, structural steel offers much more flexible design capabilities that allow contractors to create tall buildings with a variety of interesting architectural elements. Since steel is a lighter material than wood, it also enables crews to erect buildings faster. As such, steel frames remain a top choice for commercial structures and multi-family residences.  


In many cases, upfront costs for metal may be higher than wood. However, these price differences are minimal when you consider the numerous long-term cost benefits of structural steel. Since metal beams require less maintenance, reduce insurance costs, and won’t warp over time, steel frames are typically more cost-effective than wood in the long run.


To explore all the benefits structural metal frames have to offer for your next building project, source materials from a reliable manufacturer like Douglass Steel in Mountain Grove, MO. Spearheading the construction industry’s transition to structural steel, this metal fabrication company takes pride in offering building materials that are precisely designed, structurally sound, and affordable. To learn how this manufacturer will support your upcoming construction needs, visit them online. Call (417) 926-5589 to speak with a specialist at their Mountain Grove headquarters.