SPX Advanced Steel Panel Wall Technology
Dispelling Myths about Galvanized Steel

In industries such as chemical or electric utlities, bare galvanized steel is commonly used in wet soil with life expectancy greather than 50 years. In a dry environment, galvanized steel will last over 150 years. However, In addition, SPX walls have extra layers of protection, which results in a dry wall system which is expected to last well over 100 years.
  • SPX walls are the only walls with integrated drainage planes which make it impossible for water to accumulate against the wall system.      Any water will fall with gravity to the footing perimeter drain.
  • SPX wall panels are sealed to each other using butyl sealant.
  • SPX wall panels are assembled in the plant with a 100% exterior rubber membrane, preventing any water or oxygen from infiltrating the galvanized steel.
  • The exterior EPS insulation also has integrated drainage planes which make it impossible for water to accumulate against the wall system.  Any water will fall with gravity to the footing perimeter drain.
  • Although not required, optional anodes can be installed which will provide further sacrificial corrosion protection. 

SPX Advantages over ICF.
SPX Redefines the Standard in Foundation Walls.

INSTALLED COST.  SPX significantly less cost than ICF walls, and delivers more living space.  Savings can reach over 40%. 

THERMAL BRIDGING.  SPX contains a continuous thermal break on the exterior.  ICF appears continuous, but the interlocking block contains pathways through the joints reducing the thermal performance.

MOISTURE ISSUES.  SPX panels are manufactured sealed with an integrated drainage plane, and contain a waterproof membrane - no moisture can get through either wet or as condensation.  Some ICF systems show corrosion of drywall screws - the interlocking edges of the panels or blocks are points where water can penetrate.  The ICF blocks are often damaged during shipping or erection and must be patched prior to waterproofing.  The ICF wall often includes cold pour concrete joints, air pockets or voids in the concrete and shrinkage of the concrete away from the ICF- which results in many channels that water can migrate into and through.

SETTLEMENT CRACKING.  SPX panels weigh approx. 50 lbs per linear foot - compared with an ICF or concrete wall weighing over 900 lbs per foot.  The increased weight of concrete on the footing raises the risk of ground settlement and resulting wall cracks.  The issue with an ICF wall cracking is that you cannot see where the crack is - resulting in fustration in locating the source of water infiltration.

INSTALLATION QUALITY.  SPX panels are manufactured square and plumb in a dry facility.  SPX panels are adaptable to field conditions, with flexibility to adjust for width and plumb, and are assembled quickly with simple tools and skills.   ICF walls can be inconsistent - forms can be wavy and not plumb, and concrete can contain crack, spalls, or honeycomb.   Installers must be certified, as improper installation can result in structural issues.  Lack of concrete consolidation can cause voids, rock pockets, honeycomb, and poor bonding with the rebar, which can affect the structural integrity of the walls.  Excessive vibration can create bulged walls and blowouts.Improper concrete mix design and correct placement technique.Requires a fire stop (drywall) installed on top of EPS.

ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURE.  Steel panels are impervious, dry/inert and cannot support mold growth.  Steel does not off-gas chemicals.  EPS insulation, found in ICF walls contain a fire retardant hexabromo-cyclododecane, or HBDC which is listed by the European Chemicals Agency a Substances of Very High Concern.

EARTH FRIENDLY.  SPX panels are manufactured from galvanized steel, the most recylced material in the world.  The total carbon footprint of SPX panels is less than concrete.

FIRE RESISTANCE.  Steel panels are not flammable.  ICF polystyrene foam is combustible and produces more smoke. At higher temperatures, gaseous combustible products are formed by decomposition.
SPX applies a known science in residential construction.

Steel pipe sheet pipes are widely used in harbors (piers, seawalls, and breakwaters), urban civil engineering (earth-retaining walls and cofferdams), bridges (foundations for steel pipe sheet pile foundations), buildings and other applications, along with use regarding increased scales of structures, increases in water depth, and increases regarding construction work in regions where the deep supporting strata exists under thick soft ground.

There is a long history of successful application of steel products below grade for use a structural systems.  The use of steel foundation walls was introduced by Dofasco Steel in 1977.  Now with the SPX technology, a steel panel foundation wall is more economical and accessible for residential construction.

Designing and building with steel makes sense in todays world. Steel is economical, inert, earth-friendly, and superior in technical properties than traditional building methods.  Consider the bottom line. Consider the environment. And consider quality.  Steel provides the most desirable and the most cost-effective combination of strength and design flexibility.
STEEL - A sustainable Choice
Steel offers real benefits for generations to come.

There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding of what green and sustainable buildings actually are. At present there is no commonly accepted definition of sustainability. The Brundtland definition, however, is frequently quoted: The Brundtland Report of the world Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable development as follows: "Humanity has the ability to make develpment sustainable - to ensure that it meets the needs of the persent without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." (WCED 1987)

From a downstream perspective, steel has been shown to be the most recycled material in the world - 100% recyclable, galvanized or not.  Recovery rates for sheet steel are over 88%, the most of any material.   From an upstream perspective, our steel comes from the EAF process which uses at least 95% recycled steel.  Scrap is the predominant feed to EAFs. The blend consists typically of 85 - 95% post-consumer scrap, with the remainder post-industrial scrap and some flat iron or pig iron from an Integrated Steelworks possibly supplemented with Direct Reduced Iron (gas reduction of iron ore without smelting).

Zinc for galvanizing is 70% mined and 30% recycled.  A SPX foundation wall uses G90 galvanized steel which contains approx. 0.35 lbs zinc per square foot of wall.  A SPX wall has a service life of +100 years.

The principle for calculating the benefits of steel recycling is based on BS EN ISO 14044[1] guidance and uses the principle of avoided impacts. Put simply, the benefit of recycling is calculated based on the avoided impact, i.e. by recycling, a benefit equal to the avoided primary production is credited to the system. The following explains, in a series of simple steps, how this method is applied. Embodied carbon has been used as the environmental parameter but the same approach is applicable to any LCA parameter. Before the recycling benefits can be calculated, certain cradle-to-gate embodied carbon data and definitions for steel production are needed.
from  www.steelconstruction.info/Life_cycle_assessment_and_embodied_carbon#Accounting_for_the_recycling_of_steel
SPX Building Science

Lightweight.  The reduced weight of the SPX wall compared with traditional walls affects the proportioning and costs of beams, columns, footings, and lateral load resisting members.  Also, reducing the dead load on footings reduces the risk of footings cracking and ground settlement.  

Low Cost. While construction costs vary by region, the SPX is a cost competitive solution. 

Thermal Performance. SPX walls provide high thermal (R-value) and airtightness performance over the service life of the building. The insulated wall panels are exterior of the building structure to provide the best thermal envelope by reducing thermal bridging typical of cavity wall systems.   The continuous metal diaphragm provides and air and water tight barrier which prohibits air and  moisture movement into the building envelope.  A typical setup achieves an effective   nominal thermal performance of R34.

Integrated Drainage Planes.  SPX walls have integrated drainage planes on the exterior diaphragm.  Any moisture that meets the exterior panel will drain via gravity to the bottom.

Indoor Environmental Quality.  Insulated panels  help ensure a stable interior environment. The SPX system is impervious to water or moisture which eliminates mold or mildew growth.  As well, the steel panels come with factory applied water-proof membrane, do not off-gas chemicals and are non-combustible.

Patented Unibody Design.  The SPX system uni-body design is the only system that provides a continuous structural diaphragm integrated into the studs, which provides extra strength and durability to handle vertical loads, shear forces,and lateral earth pressure.  

Simple Installation. SPX walls are simple to assemble with standard tools and basic skills.  The SPX panels easily accommodate plumbing and electrical utilities, and are adaptable to field conditions with flexibility to adjust for width and plumb.

Building Certification and Green Targets.  SPX panels are manufactured from 90% recylced steel content and contribute to LEED certification programs and the path to Net-Zero Energy.
Full steel diaphragm -  most durable wall assembly, eliminates envelope failures.

A durable wall assembly available to architects, engineers, and homeowners. The SPX wall panel is assembled from galvanized steel with a patented unibody stud/diaphragm, with built-in drainage planes and a full air/moisture barrier.  With a complete steel diaphragm from the factory, envelope failures are eliminated during and after construction, making the SPX wall inert to moisture ingress.  

The SPX wall can be erected anywhere for residential and commercial construction.  Applying exterior thermal insulation elimates dewpoint condensation in the wall in cold climates. In hot climates any moisture that condenses on the exterior side of the vapor barrier will be drained to the exterior since the panel also has integrated drainage planes. This wall assembly will dry from the vapor barrier inwards and will dry from the vapor barrier outwards.

Galvanized Steel Structural Wall Panels

R34+ thermal peformance, with continuous exterior (min R8) insulation to eliminate thermal bridging.  Use any interior insulation at any R value to suit design conditions.
Panels are sealed in the factory and have drainage planes and a moisture barrier on the exterior face, to virtually eliminate pressure differentials that drive moisture into the wall cavity.
Use as a foundation wall, exterior/interior structural wall, or shear wall.  Axial load capacity from 20-35 KIP/ft, and foundation wall capcity to 5 KIP/ft at 7ft backfill. Custom panels available.
Approx. 40% cost savings over ICF, 25% cost savings over traditional concrete foundation wall.
Lightweight panels (40 lbs/ft @ 8ft) reduce building loads on footings, allowing for cost reductions of infrastructure, and reduced risks due to settlement.

Sustainable and will not compromise future generations. Made from recycled steel, no watse, contributes to LEED. 

Simple installation with small tools and basic lifting equipment.  No interior vapor barrier makes improves access and utilities install easier.


The SPX system has been engineered, modelled and tested to meetin the building code requirements in Canada and the United States.  SPX panels are suitable for residential and commercial load bearing wall applications above or below grade, and conforms with Part 4 of the Ontario Building Code (Ont. Reg. 350/06, OBC). Design basis conforms with AISI S100-12 CAN/ CSA-S136 (AISI S100), North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members.  Download the TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION.

SPX Offers First Nations New Housing Opportunities (click for full report)

Mold free and better air quality contributes to healthier community
Quality construction adaptable to multi-generational homes
Quality design
Good investment - long lifespan exceeding 100 years
Earth friendly
Provides training and skills development
Become a model housing leader
Provide more affordable quality homes for FN members

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