There is a reason why steel is becoming a popular material when constructing new buildings. It has a number of large advantages over more conventional materials. One of these advantages is durability. Here are five reasons why steel lasts longer than other building materials.
A main reason that steel lasts longer than other building materials is raw strength. Steel is one of the strongest alloys commonly used in construction today. It has a yield stress of 50,000 pounds per square inch. Steel is strong from every angle including compression and tension. It will not buckle or break just because the load of a building is heavy. It will not slowly bend or warp under stress. This allows steel buildings to stand for decades or longer without any structural issues when manufactured correctly using modern techniques.
Natural Protective Surface Coating
Something interesting about many types of steel used in construction is that it develops a natural protective surface coating. The way steel interacts with the air causes a slight bit of oxidation on the surface. The coating is an incredibly thin layer of molecules that can stop water and the elements from reaching the actual alloy. The coating forms naturally and will replenish itself over time as long as it is in contact with the air. The natural coating helps steel to resist damage from many of the elements that would normally wear down or degrade most other commonly used building materials.
No Warping Due To Temperature
Many conventional building materials like wood and concrete respond to changes in temperature. Sudden increases or decreases in temperature can cause the material warp. This actually damages the material sometimes in very noticeable ways. Buildings that go through normal seasonal cycles can start to see cracks and deformities in the structures that will eventually lead to total failure. This is not an issue with steel. The alloy will not warp due to normal seasonal temperature changes. It remains largely stable and static at all times.
High Resistance to Fire and Chemicals
The structure of steel alloy makes it highly resistant to fire and chemicals. Steel has a melting point of at least 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it can withstand most normal fires. It will not ignite easily like wood. Steel is also naturally resistant to damage from many types of chemicals. Steel does not react to high amounts of salt in the air as found in coastal regions near the ocean. This allows steel to outlast other building materials that might burn away or corrode over time.
Invulnerable to Pests and Mold
Something the nearly 106 million short tons of steel produced in the country every year all have in common is an invulnerability to pests and mold. Pests cannot damage steel, eat it away or degrade it. Mold cannot take root on the surface of steel. Pests and mold are two big hazards to most other building materials. Pests and mold can rot away even concrete over the course of several years. Steel is unaffected by pests and mold.