August 9, 2019

What Metals Are Used in Houses?

Metals have been used in construction for centuries, but it’s only in the recent decade where structures made mostly of metals have started emerging. It’s almost as if for the longest time some sort of stigma was attached to the use of metal that many builders where skeptical of its performance. There are a number of reasons for this kind of perception.

metal clips

  1. Metals have low compressive strength, just as concrete have low tensile strength. If you put too much weight on them, they would buckle or fold. That’s why metals and concrete usually go together to form what is known as “reinforced concrete”. Either material cannot subsist both static and dynamic forces at work in any kind of structure.
  2. Metals are known to corrode when exposed to the elements. Like superman, they have their own kryptonite. We’ve learned from school that although metals exhibit unbelievable strength, there’s very little that can be done to prevent them from corroding. Even more annoying is the fact that the most abundant types of metals are commonly the most susceptible to such process of deterioration.
  3. Metals have high thermal conductivity or low thermal capacity. They heat up faster than stone, concrete, ceramic, and other types of main construction materials. And heat conduction is probably the least of a builder’s worries when it comes to metal-based construction. The fact that metals have been constantly depicted as a material that melts like butter when exposed to high temperatures makes them a lesser favorite.

For centuries, we’ve embraced this perception of metals that the idea of building houses, commercial establishments, and even horizontal structures using only metals had never crossed our minds until the late 90s. It’s understandable though as this perception is based on scientific evidence and not merely a presumption, which is why there’s some truth in it.

As technology advances, so do ways to further improve the strength, corrosion resistance, and thermal capacity of metals. There are many properties of metals that we are only beginning to understand. With more methods to explore them, it’s only a matter of time before we can produce metals that can stand alone against the destructive forces involved in construction.

Commonly Used Household Metals

Nonetheless, metals are still an important element in construction. They play a vital role not just in fortifying structures but also in aesthetics. Whether or not they are the main materials used, a structure wouldn’t be complete without them being used as either support within columns and beams or trims and coverings on surfaces. Here are some components and accessories in a building that ought to be metal.

  • Framing Elements

    – Include columns and rafters (called primary framing) and girts, purlins, and eave struts (called secondary).

  • Bracing

    – Made up of rods and cables whose primary function is to add stability to a structure or portions of it.

  • Walls

    – Although not yet common, some buildings now have walls made of metal panels. They are just coated with protection to prevent corrosion.

  • Roofing Systems

    – Not all roofs are made of metals, but modern building now have them either as the main material or simply components. A part of the roofing system that must be metal is the gutter, ridge cap, and base angle.

  • Doors and Window Framing

    – For the door and window panels to fit securely along the edge of the wall opening, a frame must be installed. There’s no better material for this kind of element than metal.

  • Bolts and Fasteners

    – To prevent a building from sliding off or detaching from the foundation and other major structural components, it must be bolted properly. Also, anything that goes with the frame must be fastened using the right types and sizes of fastener. In fact, the frame themselves needs to be fastened to the wall edge.

What Metals Are Used in Houses

There are two types of metal that can be found in your house—structural components, the ones I mentioned above, and decorative elements, the ones that add flair to your home’s architecture and interior design. So here are some of the most common types of metal of which these elements are made.

  • Carbon Steel

    – Although steel is basically iron that contains a little bit of carbon, another term is needed to identify a type of steel that has more carbon content than necessary. The addition of carbon makes steel stronger, harder, and less ductile through heat treatment. The only drawback of such technology is the steel becoming almost impossible to weld.

  • Aluminum

    – The third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, aluminum is also one of the most widely quarried and utilized metals, especially for construction applications. It is prized for its low density and extremely high corrosion resistance. Structural components that require extra resistance to corrosion are usually made of aluminum alloy.

  • Copper

    – Some buildings have roofs that are made purely of copper. However, this is not the only application of copper in construction. Many architectural components are made of copper-based materials, too. Good examples are the knobs and hinges on your doors as well as the railings and trims on your stairways. Copper sheets are even used for covering surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

  • Stainless Steel

    – Also known as “inox”, this metal is a type of steel that has about 10 percent chromium content. The result is an incredibly strong and corrosion-resistant metal that is nothing like its base metal. Sometimes, molybdenum is also added to further increase the metal’s protection against corrosion. Stainless steel is commonly used in cookware, cutlery, surgical instruments, major appliances, and construction.

With the right type and quality of metal, you can build the most stable and longest-lasting structures. It doesn’t matter if those structures are horizontal or vertical, or if the components made of metal are exposed to outdoor elements or concealed inside the structure, as long as it is made by a reputable manufacturer, you can expect great results.

So to make sure that the metals used in homes, which you are looking for, are of superior quality, it would help to find the right supplier first then start your search of materials from there. A trusted supplier like Rotax Metals is likely to have not just high-quality supplies but also a complete selection of products from which you can find the exact type, size, and grade of metal you are looking for.

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