ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Metal Buildings Durable and Multiuse

Updated on July 10, 2014

Metal Buildings from industrial parks to garages, have found wide acceptance. Uses include garages, homes, indoor riding arenas, industrial buildings, metal storage buildings, civic centers, airplane hangers, churches, gymnasiums, and more. Recently a civic center was constructed near our home. After closer inspection I realized it was a metal building. Large trapezoid windows accented the North end, French doors opened onto the covered deck, and professional landscaping has made the new center the most attractive building on the block.

Metal Building or Wood

For large buildings the main two choices are wood or metal. It is estimated that wood buildings cost 50% more than metal buildings. Metal is also superior to wood in light of pest invasion, weather damage, and heat endurance. There are virtually no insects that can penetrate a steel building. Termites, carpenter ants, and wood bees have to look elsewhere for a snack.

Many buildings come with a paint warrantee of 20 years or more. They are a virtually maintenance free type of construction. Wood sided buildings must be painted or stained every few years. If left unprotected this organic material rots and deteriorates.

In the case of fires, metal buildings have such a high melting point that very few fires actually damage the metal. Furnishing, content, and any interior wood may perish, but the main superstructure of the building will still be standing.

Looking at an even larger picture, earthquakes and hurricanes have given on the field live testing to every type of building in the affected area. Metal buildings are the most common survivors of such natural disasters. After hurricane Katrina many metal buildings were still standing while other structures were toppled.

For factories and industrial uses, steel buildings have become the choice. Of course the insect and fire resistant qualities are impressive, but they also prove the best in intense heat manufacturing and also when explosions are a possibility.

Structurally, metal buildings can have huge clear span areas coupled with an over all lower roof line than wood truss buildings. Wide clear span can be vital to industrial buildings as well as indoor horse riding arenas, gymnasiums, airplane hangers, and churches. A wood truss building has a flat ceiling while a metal building gains extra clearance up to the peak due to the vaulted ceiling. Also during construction wood trusses are susceptible to wind damage before the roof sheeting is installed. Steel buildings have the entire frame bolted together, so it is already sturdy before the metal roof and sides are installed. But roofing and siding should be installed on any building as soon as possible.

Metal Building Kits

Multiple Bay Garage
Multiple Bay Garage

Metal Building Construction

One concern regarding metal buildings is outward wind pressure on the building when doors and windows are opened. Like a balloon, on a windy day the air rushes into the building, putting strain on the roof and sides. This phenomenon is referred to as “uplift”. Metal roofing and siding must be installed with the screws designed for metal to prevent the siding and roofing from popping off the building when outward pressure is present. These screws are sometimes called self tapping and have a rubber ring at the top of them to help seal around each screw. The number and size of the doorway and window openings will affect the structural design that is appropriate for a specific project. Uplift also impacts the piers and footings of a building. Extra strength may need to be added to piers and footers to compensate for it.

Another consideration is if the building superstructure will have any hoists, cranes, or pulleys attached to it. All of these are potential for substantial weight strain on the building. Before choosing one, all projected use on a building must be considered and relayed to the structural engineer of the project.

Other commercial type uses for a metal building also stretch to airplane hangers and indoor horse riding arenas.

Metal Garage Buildings

Metal Garage
Metal Garage

Metal Building Kits

Metal building kits typically come ready to assemble. The entire superstructure comes pre-drilled and pre-welded for easy assembly. Engineered drawings also accompany the kits.

Some smaller projects, such as a garage, metal storage building, or small barn, are not too difficult for the homeowners to assemble themselves. Metal garage buildings can be one car or four cars wide. A nice addition is to construct a breezeway from the house over to the garage. A much bigger metal garage can be built for the same cost of a standard construction attached one.

Metal Building Erection

Large Metal Storage Buildings and Commercial Use

Larger projects are more involved and contracting a professional general contractor is a wise investment. If choosing a metal building contractor, be sure to visit some metal buildings they have already completed. A project can turn into a nightmare very quickly if each phase of the construction is not done correctly.

When choosing a builder, it is a wise idea to select one with years of experience in metal building construction. They many not be the least expensive, but experience has a tremendous value.

There are many reputable companies nationwide which design and manufacture metal buildings. Internet searches, personal referrals, and local representatives for these companies are all good way to explore options.

If you have a rough sketch of the building, try submitting it to a few different companies. Some are more competitive in pricing for different styles of buildings. Be sure the packages you price are comparable one to another. Careful review of exact package inclusions is vital.

When pricing a project with a contractor, be sure the bid details exactly what is included. If a contractor only includes erection costs, but no site preparation or footer work costs, it will drastically change the price. If any additional work is to be done on site during the project, i.e. burying of electric or water lines, be sure to separate out those costs. A spreadsheet can be very helpful for keeping the different projects and correlating costs organized.

Metal buildings are a valuable long term investment, durable against weather, pests, and heat, and so versatile. From ranches to industrial buildings, ice skating rinks to garages, they can be adapted to meet almost any need.

And as always... Thanks for reading!
Sue Lemmon
Cowboy Log Homes

Olympic Metal Building

Inside of Commercial Metal Building
Inside of Commercial Metal Building


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Mike Allin 7 years ago

      Choosing the right contractor for the job here is very important as it could end up costing you more if you have someone inexperienced. Try to chose based on references and be sure to ask about their familiarity with the different materials you want to use. For instance, if you are building from scratch you will one an expert with the material you choose to use because different metals require difference processes.