The Durability of Light Gauge Steel
One of the important factors of the construction process is the durability of materials. The performance of light gauge steel construction has been evaluated and studied over many years, in a wide variety of environmental conditions and is used for many types of buildings: including residential, commercial, health care, educational and industrial.
Key Durability Benefits
- Design life predictions for light steel framing in a "warm frame" environment are more than 250 years.
- The NHBC and other housing warranty providers, require a design life in excess of 60 years and accept the use of light steel construction.
- Light steel sections are protected from corrosion by continuous hot-dip zinc coating.
- Steel does not shrink, warp or change its shape.
- Light gauge steel can be used for walls, floors, roofs, and suspended ground floors.
- Steel does not creep under heavy load.
- Galvanised steel can not suffer front fungal or biological deterioration and is not susceptible to insect infestation such as termites.
- Even in uninsulated roof constructions light steel sections provide a design life in excess of 100 years.
Protection from Corrosion
Corrosion will occur when the surface of bare carbon steel reacts with oxygen, water, and airborne pollutants to form the complex series of oxides generically known as rust. In dry, warm environments this process does not occur.
The standard form of corrosion protection for cold-formed steel sections is the continuous hot-dip zinc coating applied as a pre-coat to the roll of strip steel from which the sections are formed. Galvanized steel strip and its coating is supplied to the specifications in BS EN 1034 and BS EN 10143. The galvanized strip steel is usually produced with a standard z275 grams of zinc per square meter summed over both faces of the steel strip. This corresponds to approximately 0.02 mm overall thickness of zinc per face. Other coating thicknesses are available for special applications. Zinc-aluminum coatings are also available and are more commonly used in other countries such as Australia. Zinc-aluminium coating AZ150 is an acceptable alternative to Z275.