JULY 2008

Faced with the threat of hurricanes, homeowners turn to steel for building

When asked what construction material they would prefer when framing their house if living in an area prone to hurricanes, 75 percent of United States homeowners prefer steel as their material of choice. That is a 6 percent increase from July 2007, showing a rise in consumer preference for steel.

The national consumer survey, conducted by the global research firm Harris Interactive, also found that 42 percent of consumers say that steel is the roofing material they would prefer. These findings indicate that consumers recognize the important role that steel plays in protecting their homes and families, especially in the face of a natural disaster such as a hurricane.

“Steel framing is an optimal framing choice in hurricane-prone areas because it can be designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and is protected from corrosion by a galvanized coating that can last hundreds of years,” said Larry Williams, president of the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA).

“In addition, steel cannot be eaten by termites and does not burn. These benefits help to protect homeowners and their families.”

Steel framing can be designed to resist damage by high winds, allowing the structure to stay intact, and today's steel roofing can withstand wind speeds up to 150 mph. In addition, steel framing does not contribute to the growth of mold and mildew. In the aftermath of a hurricane, flooding usually occurs, leaving homes susceptible to mold and mildew, which are known to pose health risks, especially to those with asthma and other respiratory ailments. Building with steel also helps preserve natural resources and creates less waste, because 100 percent of steel is recyclable and can be salvaged from the clean up debris.

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) sponsored the hurricane-related questions in preparation for a 2008 Atlantic hurricane season that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts will be above normal.

The Atlantic Hurricane season began on June 1 and will run until November 30, during which time the NOAA Climate Prediction Center has forecast up to five major hurricanes, with August typically marking the beginning of the most active months of Atlantic weather.