Steel framing has so many advantages over wood -- including dimensional stability, consistent pricing, and resistance to rot and termites -- that I'm convinced it will claim more and more of wood's market share in the years ahead. But for builders who have never used anything but wood, the prospect of diving into steel framing all at once can present a big mental barrier (see " Making the Switch to Steel," JLC 6/00). One alternative is to start at the bottom, and begin the transition to steel with the floor framing system. As the former project manager of a family-owned company that has been framing entirely with steel for years, I found that the material's benefits were especially attractive for floor framing.

Allowable Spans for Cold-Formed Steel Floor Joists (1,2,3,4)

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