Steel vs Wood
Advantages of Steel Buildings Over Wood Construction
Greater structural strength and integrity
Steel building components are manufactured to very rigid standards and specifications. There are no “seconds” or substandard materials in a pre-engineered metal building. You are guaranteed that each piece meets strict industry standards for strength and is designed specifically for use in your building.
Every component is designed and manufactured to meet strict design load criteria. This means your steel pole buildings will handle all the load requirements of your location. Properly designed and built metal buildings have withstood hurricanes, tornados and all kinds of extreme conditions.
Steel components won’t warp, split, twist, swell, shrink or decay like wood. Steel will remain rigid for the life of the building, maintaining great structural integrity for life.
Quicker, easier and less expensive to construct
Pre-engineered steel buildings are designed and made specifically for your steel building. Each component is designed and manufactured to match perfectly with the others. Each piece is labelled and easy to identify and cross-reference on the assembly drawings. This means your steel buildings will fit together precisely. Because each component is detailed and made for your particular building, erecting the building is very quick and easy. Steel buildings go up fast and require less labor.
Safer over the life of the building
Steel components won’t weather or degrade over time like wood. Steel will remain rigid for the life of the building. This structural strength means less stress on fasteners and components and provides a safer building for years to come.
Steel pole buildings are non-combustible so they will not add “fuel to the fire” in the event of fire.
Most wood posts are pressure treated and can be poisonous to livestock or other animals if ingested. Wood structures are typically not recommended for use to board livestock.
Greater design flexibility
Because steel is much stronger than wood, it allows for much greater design flexibility. You can typically span the entire width of your building with no interior posts required and the columns can be set further apart on the sidewalls. The result is a much more open building with less weight and greater structural integrity.
Lower maintenance costs
Steel components won’t warp, split, twist, swell, shrink or decay like wood. Steel will remain rigid for the life of the building. Steel components will not have to be replaced or repaired and will remain long after the wood frame building is gone.
Pre-engineered metal buildings use heavy 26 gauge sheeting for roofing and siding, as opposed to light gauge 28 or 29 gauge material on most wooden pole barns. Fasteners are also higher quality for steel buildings so you won’t have to replace fasteners like you will on a typical wooden pole building. The light gauge metal sheeting on most wood pole buildings will require replacement over time. Wood runners hold moisture against the light gauge metal sheeting causing the sheeting and the fasteners to rust prematurely. The fasteners lose their grip and the sheeting becomes loose requiring repair or replacement.
Longer economic life – more durable and worry-free
Steel buildings simply don’t wear out over time like wood structures. Barring some catastrophic event, steel buildings will last a lifetime and then some. Wooden buildings have an economic life of 15-20 years and require lots of maintenance along the way. Wood siding will have to be replaced, usually around 7-10 years down the road. If nonmetal roofing is used, it will also require replacement at some point. A pre-engineered metal building requires virtually no maintenance and provides decades of worry-free service.
One of the first objections some people make to a steel building is that it requires a concrete foundation and floor, adding significantly to the initial cost of the project. A metal building does not require a full slab, although it does require concrete piers at each column location to provide proper structural stability and meet design load requirements. The required piers provide load bearing capacity and an above grade connection so that the posts are not subject to moisture and decay like wood posts are when they are buried below grade. These foundations add to the initial cost of your pole building, but the advantages over the life of the building are tremendous.
Steel construction is better for the environment
Steel pole buildings are the best choice for the environment. Steel is 100% recyclable and is the only recycled material that doesn’t lose strength when it is recycled. There is also no waste from steel buildings because no cutting is required on-site and all cut-offs at the factory are recycled.
Steel buildings can actually save you money – year after year
A steel building has an “A” fire rating versus a “C” rating for a wood building. You could save significant money on insurance premiums for the life of your building.
Steel buildings offer many advantages over wood pole barns, but the debate will continue as long as both options are available. Before you build a pole building, you owe it to yourself to consider all the options to make an informed decision. Compare the costs – not just the initial costs for site prep, materials and labor, but also the longer term costs of ownership like maintenance, repairs and insurance. Decide how much value you place on safety and environmental friendliness, too. When it’s all said and done, we believe you will find the value of a pre-engineered steel building is much greater than that of a wooden pole building.