If you were to make a list of all the metals used in construction applications, that list would get pretty long, pretty fast. Metals are a choice building material for those looking to create strong, long-lasting structures that are both durable and sustainable. And steel fits the bill.
Around the world, steel is one of the most recycled materials. Remarkably, recycled steels retain equivalent strength and durability to their non-recycled counterparts. In fact, much of the steel used in the construction industry today has been recycled multiple times.
While many types and grades of steel are regularly used in construction, there is one that lends a particular set of benefits to designers, builders, and developers alike: cold rolled steel. Today, we’re taking a hard look at the use of cold rolled steel in the construction industry. But before we dive in, let’s cover a bit about this steel variety.
What is Cold Rolled Steel?
Cold rolled steel, commonly referred to as cold-formed steel, is a steel variety that gets its name from the process it undergoes. Typically, when we discuss steel varieties, it’s by types (stainless, carbon, tool, alloy), or it’s by grade. But with cold rolled steel, it’s about the process that’s used to finish the steel.
The cold rolling process uses steel that has been hot rolled and cooled. Once it has been cooled, it is then re-rolled at room temperature. As the material is cold rolled, power rollers apply tension. This tension causes the steel to become thinner and harder. The process also helps to achieve more exact dimensions and better surface qualities.
Unique Properties of Cold Rolled Steel
Cold rolled steel is known for being extremely ductile and is the material of choice in applications where material needs to hold tight tolerances and retain few surface imperfections. After forming, cold rolled steel is non-creeping, meaning it retains its shape exceptionally well. Cold rolled steel doesn’t split or absorb moisture, and it’s resistant to both pests and fire.
Additionally, today’s cold rolled steel contains at least 25% recycled material, and at the end of its useable life, it is 100% recyclable. This makes cold rolled steel desirable for sustainability purposes as well.
These properties, combined with a palatable value in relation to its price tag, have had quite an impact on the construction industry over the past few years.
Construction and Cold Rolled Steel
When it comes to the construction industry, cold rolled steel has been increasing in demand, especially for framing applications. Framing made from cold rolled steel is both lighter and stronger than competing materials. In recent years, cold-formed steel framing has become the material of choice for multi-housing buildings like dormitories, hotels, and assisted living facilities.
The physical properties of cold rolled steel make it ideal building material within many different environments, even those prone to high winds and earthquakes. But cold-formed steel’s benefits to the construction industry don’t stop there. It is lighter than comparable building materials, making it easier to ship, handle, and assemble. And as we referenced above, cold rolled steel requires less material for equivalent or greater strength. This means less material is required overall.
Cold Rolled Steel and Consistency Over Time
Cold rolled steel is also known for its consistency. From shipment to shipment, year over year, cold rolled steel maintains the same physical and chemical properties. Here at Mead Metals, we’ve been providing 1008/1010 cold rolled steel to customers in a wide variety of industries, and our customers know that 1008/1010 that comes from us is going to be consistent.