Light Gauge Steel Framing and the Different Forms It Can Take

  • Light Gauge Steel Framing System (LGFS) or Light gauge Steel framing is a building construction method using low-density, square shaped steel as the main building material. This is not a traditional framing system, but rather a variation to traditional building methods. An example of this Light Steel Framing being used as primary structures is the galvanized steel trusses, which are normally utilized for windbreaks and as gates. Such trusses are typically galvanized through an electrochemical process that leaves the steel with an electro-galvanic bond that is very resistant to corrosion.

    Another significant factor in utilizing the light gauge steel framing is that they offer increased strength compared to typical galvanized metal. The reason why galvanized metals are so strong is due to the galvanization process, wherein there is an extra coating of metal around the steel to make it extra tough, corrosion resistant, and also to increase its tensile strength. However, these are prone to rusting, especially when exposed to rain, snow, and other weather conditions. When the building material is galvanized, it forms a barrier to protect the rest of the building from rusting. Also, with time, the extra coating of metal tends to break down, rendering the entire building vulnerable to corrosion.

    On the other hand, light gauge steel frame consists of thinner sheets of steel than typical galvanized construction. Such materials are less than half the size of galvanized sheets. They are also known as 'half sheet' or 'triple beam' construction materials because they consist of a center panel and two side panels. These two sides are then connected to each other with stainless steel rivets. This type of light gauge steel framing may be composed of one, two, and three-foot sections or even more. Such materials are much easier to work with than galvanized construction sheets, since one can make them into various shapes and sizes without having to cut individual pieces from regular sheet materials.

    When it comes to the different shapes that are available for light gauge steel framing, there are plenty of them. For instance, flat bar is the most basic shape, consisting of a straight edge on top and a short length side to side. This is used for door frames, wall studs, window frames, and other small openings. A 'J-groove' or 'R-groove' is another common shape, made with a flat bottom surface and long length sides, which are useful for joining beams and columns. The 'Box' shape is the most popular and most common of all shapes, consisting of a short length of the long side and a short length on top, which allow for greater versatility.

    The 'box' shape is commonly used in commercial construction, especially in commercial buildings where aesthetics is of prime importance. There are a few advantages to using cold-formed steel framing in places where appearance is not important. First, this is an easy material to work with, even for the less skilled builders, since it is easily formed by hand. The second advantage is that it is economical, since labor costs are lower and the framing time is faster than other sheet steel construction methods.

    Of course, different types of construction will require different shapes. In order to fit an exterior wall correctly, it needs to be shaped like a 'U' shape. However, this does not mean that external walls have to be formed by hand. The best solution is to have a framing company use machinery to do this process for you. Other forms of construction such as internal construction, on the other hand, may require different framing shapes. These include: diamond plate, French cross, straight, jigsaw mitered and more.