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Making Solid, Sustainable Choices with Cold-Formed Steel Framing

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With a history spanning more than a half-century in noncombustible commercial construction, cold-formed steel (CFS) is a popular material choice for framing nonstructural interior walls, loadbearing interior and exterior walls, floor joists, and curtain walls. The many performance-based characteristics and green attributes of cold-formed steel framing have enabled architects to design structures that are safer and more durable, dynamic, and sustainable.

Among the biggest advancements to cold-formed steel members in recent years is the change in paragraph 9.2 of ASTM C645-14e1, Standard Specification for Nonstructural Steel Framing Members. This section now permits use of high-performance steel, tightly controlled and specified. Improvements in manufacturing technology and a redesign of the basic stud profile, along with changes in the strength of steel used to manufacture interior drywall framing studs, resulted in products manufactured to a thickness less than the ASTM-specified 18-mil (i.e. 0.5 mm), but that attained the same or greater limiting heights as standard thickness members. Additionally, the members have better screw shear and pullout values per higher strength steels used in the manufacturing of these proprietary studs. For these reasons, at least two Canadian manufacturers are producing improved drywall framing studs allowed by this section of ASTM C645.

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