The Advantages of Using CFS Bearing Walls in Construction

Discover the benefits of using cold-formed steel (CFS) bearing walls in building projects. Learn about its strength, efficiency, and design flexibility.

The Advantages of Using CFS Bearing Walls in Construction

As an expert in the field of construction, I have seen firsthand the benefits of using cold-formed steel (CFS) bearing walls in building projects. This innovative wall system not only meets fire resistance and finishing requirements for residential spaces, but it also offers a variety of other advantages that make it a superior choice for any type of building, whether it be commercial, public works, or residential. One of the most common types of floor assemblies used with CFS bearing walls include composite metal joists, precast concrete planks, and metal roofs with deep grooves. These load-bearing walls are manufactured with CFS and can be used in both sheared wall systems with coated panels and in wall systems reinforced with lightweight frame straps. The use of steel in these walls provides the necessary lateral strength for the durability of any typical building. Today, CFS wall frames are widely used in multi-story load bearing applications.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards prefabrication of these walls in panels. This offers the advantage of saving time, materials, and costs. However, for these projects to be successful, it is important for the cold-formed steel engineer to consider additional factors inherent in panelization. In this article, I will provide an overview of how to plan with the panel manufacturer, design with the panel designer and field installation in mind, and coordinate with other professionals. I will also discuss the importance of considering different floor systems, load distribution elements, and panel discontinuity from an engineering perspective.

To illustrate these concepts, I will share several examples of projects that presented these challenges in panel form.

The Benefits of CFS Bearing Walls

When local construction authorities informed a project team that they would need to install a sprinkler system to protect timber-framed beams, they decided to use a CFS system instead. This is because CFS is especially preferable in areas prone to hurricanes and earthquakes due to its dimensional stability, lightweight nature, and efficiency in terms of resistance to lateral loads. One of the main advantages of using CFS bearing walls is its strength and structural performance. Not only does it provide support for other components such as plaster and concrete, but it also helps protect them from damage. As more project owners choose to use CFS structures that support loads, they are successfully combating common myths about this material. CFS wall coverings are available in a variety of types and shapes, from relief panels to granular and single-layer panels to insulating panels.

This not only increases the architectural appeal of the material but also its practicality. Additionally, CFS can offer additional safety benefits as it can withstand wind and snow loads.

Designing with CFS Bearing Walls

With the help of technical software such as FRAMECAD Structure, all project specifications including loads, deflection, and other forces can be entered and calculated as part of the engineering process for each component of the CFS. This allows for more precise and efficient design, making it easier to create unique and innovative structures beyond standard block construction. Over the years, CFS has increasingly replaced other materials as a structural system in a variety of commercial and multifamily applications. However, some building owners still overlook the benefits of using CFS in their construction projects.

The Strengths of CFS

CFS has a very high strength-to-weight ratio and is ideal for use in lateral load resistance systems due to its high ductility.

For example, when constructing the Exempla Saint Joseph replacement hospital in Denver, Colorado, CFS prefab panels were used for exterior walls. These panels were assembled at the factory using green panels, a type of drywall that is more water-resistant than standard drywall, as exterior and interior aerosol insulation. Because CFS can be designed and engineered to withstand loads, and because of its unique physical characteristics, it is a superior structural material. In large projects, the stability and lateral load resistance qualities of CFS are essential elements for the integrity of the building.

Innovative Design with CFS

Structural steel was chosen to support the dome of a building, but CFS was selected for the exterior curtain walls. These non-structural outer coverings offer many advantages in terms of construction, including wall panels, floor joists, roof trusses, and structural walls.


In conclusion, as an expert in the field of construction, I highly recommend considering the use of CFS bearing walls in building projects.

Not only do they meet fire resistance and finishing requirements, but they also offer a variety of other benefits such as strength, efficiency, and design flexibility. With the help of technical software and careful planning with panel manufacturers and designers, CFS can be successfully incorporated into any construction project to create innovative and durable structures.