I’ll admit, that at first it seemed like people living in metal buildings might just be some kind of fad that would pass in a few years. That was my thought in 2013, when we first started this project. I mean wood has been the traditional material used to build homes, so why change now? Initially, I was surprised and intrigued to find out that it makes serious financial sense to build your next home with metal. Obviously it is much more durable than wood but that wasn’t the only reason.
In fact, there are plenty of reasons you might want to build your next home as a steel building…
The Main Benefits of Using Steel Building Frames
There are a lot of reasons to deviate from the norm and choose steel building frames. Steel buildings have been an affordable option for decades, and while you may not see these buildings lining the streets in your neighborhood, they have been used for:
- Industrial buildings
- Commercial buildings
Residential buildings are not typically constructed with steel frames. But when you consider choosing steel over wood, you’ll benefit from:
- Prefabrication. Wooden construction goes over timelines. Weather gets in the way, workers miss work, and the next thing you know your new home, slated to be finished by June, is now going to be finished in September. Steel buildings can be prefabricated, which means they’re faster to build, efficient and quick to make. The majority of the building is created in a plant, so weather never gets in the way of construction. Ultimately, prefabrication speeds up your home’s construction.
- Eco-friendly. The world needs more eco-friendly products, and wooden homes cause a lot of deforestation. Steel buildings are made from recycled materials in many cases. You’ll also find that the roof of a steel home is ready for solar panels. There is also far less construction waste with a steel home.
- Maintenance. Metal buildings are simply less maintenance. You never have to worry about termites, and the walls and roof often come with a 40+ year warranty. Your home will be sturdier as a result, allowing your home to exceed building codes and withstand heavier winds.
- Resilient. Steel is strong, and you never have to worry about rot, mold or mildew. Pest damage is also a thing of the past. There is a higher level of consistency with steel, allowing for a high quality, consistent size and shape.
- Load Bearing Differences. Wood carries the load of the house differently. Walls are needed to carry the load, meaning that there are interior restrictions inside of the home. You can’t just go knocking out walls and expect your structure not to weaken as a result. Steel frames bear the weight on the exterior perimeter, allowing you to truly customize your space. Unique flooring options are available because you never have to worry about the division due to load bearing.
- Metal roofs can last 40+ years – the same can’t be said for wood. Not only will you spend less on your roofing needs, but you’ll also find that the roof can mimic tile or shingles in appearance. You can still maintain a roof that has a traditional look so that your home doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
- Facades. Metal facades don’t need to look like they’re metal. That’s just boring. You can have a façade that is a lot more fun. Metal can look like natural stone or even brick, and your home won’t look different than all of the wooden homes on the block. The siding used often looks just like the natural wood siding you have. So, what’s the difference? This steel siding will last two to three times longer than wood.
- Corrosion. Wood corrodes – there’s no way around it. When you have a wooden building, the elements will cause damage to it. Steel buildings, or metal buildings in general, have protective coatings that are designed to stop corrosion.
- Color Options. If you think that you’re limited with your color options, you would be 100% incorrect. There are countless color options to pick from, and everything can have its own color, including the roof to your downspouts and even the gutters.
- Engineered. If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry. Engineered buildings are designed to hold the load that the engineer designed the building to hold. You see, wood buildings don’t need to meet the structural design of the designer. Steel buildings, on the other hand, are closely designed with the designer, allowing the building to be more structurally sound. The building will also be able to meet the standards of the engineer for snow load, live load, dead load, collateral load, wind and so on. Ultimately, metal buildings are designed to the specifications of the engineer so that they’re as sound as possible.
- Contractors. There are a lot of contractors and subcontractors involved in stick-built homes. You’ll need a contractor for everything, and this is a major issue because there are too many contractors that can cause errors along the way. Fewer contractors, or just one when having a metal building constructed, means that there is less room for error. And when an issue does arise, you only need to contact one contractor.
- Warmer and Cooler. You want to stay warmer in the winter and cooler during the summer. Everyone loves saving money on their heating and cooling, yet it’s not something many people can achieve. Steel utilizes thicker insulation because the steel has a larger cavity. The roof can also be heavily insulated, meaning that you’ll keep more heat in during the winter. Cooling is provided via the metal panels that reflect the sun. The panels reflect some of the sun’s rays, leading to less solar radiation entering and heating the home. And what this all means is that at the end of the month, your electric bill will be much cheaper.
As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to choosing a steel building as your next home. Yes, they may seem unconventional at first, but they’ve been in use for decades and continue to grow in demand. For decades now, the majority of warehouses have been using metal because they’re much sturdier, require less maintenance and have a longer durability. Think about your kids indoor soccer facility, your local discount warehouse or mechanics shop.
The main issue that kept this from expanding at the same rate into the residential market was that people didn’t know what metal buildings had to offer.
There is also the stigma that these buildings will be exponentially higher in cost. All of this is a fallacy. In fact, metal homes are consistently coming down in price. And while there are some “cons,” you’ll find that these buildings are primarily superior to wood.
The Pros & Cons Of Choosing To Live In A Metal Building with Living Quarters
Living in a metal building must have some consequences. Right? Well, there are pros and cons to everything, but I think you’ll find that metal buildings are superior. When you choose a steel building, you’re choosing:
- Less maintenance
- Shorter construction time
- Quick assembly
The cons are hard to find because steel is superior compared to wood in most aspects. However, we want you to be fully informed and be transparent about potential issues you might face. With that said, you might want to consider that:
- Wood buildings often have a lower upfront cost
- There are fewer builders in residential steel building
- Steel has been slowly embraced
Depending on the builder, the steel building may be more or less expensive than a stick-built home. You’ll need to do your homework to find out which building method is ideal for you. In almost every case, steel is the clear winner in terms of advantages when compared to wood.
Wood has been the go-to material for homes for centuries, but steel overcomes many of the issues and costs associated with maintaining a wooden structure. If you look at your next home truly as an investment opportunity. You will come out saving thousands on long term maintenance costs by choosing to build with steel over the traditional materials.