Advantages and Disadvantages of Residential Steel Buildings
Residential steel buildings offer many benefits, but they're not without a few drawbacks as well. Depending on your individual needs and intended usage, it may be both possible and highly cost-effective for you to overcome the few disadvantages, making steel buildings well worth considering.
Here's how they compare to traditional wood-framed homes.
- Cost of raw materials: One of the largest drawbacks to using steel is the expense of the raw materials, which are slightly higher than their wood counterparts. Yet while steel is initially costly, the durability it provides can greatly outweigh the price of the material. In addition, the cost of construction is markedly lower than that of wood building materials (50% less by some estimates) due to the simplicity of the construction process and dramatically lower levels of waste and culled materials. For example, stud framed (a.k.a. "stick frame") buildings are estimated to cost between $23 and $40 per square foot in comparison to steel frame construction which can be as low as $12 to $18 per square foot.
- Durability. Steel will not rot or decay the way wood can (even when treated). And unlike wood, pests like carpenter ants and termites can't damage steel. Likewise, mice and other rodents can't chew through it. Structural integrity increases because steel is much less likely to distort or bend with age, and it won't crumble or crack the way brick and concrete tend to over time. Plus, residential steel buildings are engineered to withstand whatever nature throws at it. Hurricane and earthquake resistance means the building will remain intact.
- Fire resistant. Using steel as a building material greatly reduces fire concerns. Steel is flame resistant and damage does not begin until temperatures become quite high. Melting points vary depending on the exact type of steel, but normally range well over 2,500° F or 1,370° C.
- Easier to assemble and expand. While the building process is more detailed, pre-assembly techniques may make installation easier. Engineered structures will have pre-cut holes allowing for quick assembly and add-ons. Plus, small steel buildings are easy to disassemble and move to a new location.
- Sustainably sourced. Steel can be recycled, making it an environmentally-friendly building material. Brick and concrete materials normally end up in landfills. Unlike treated wood, steel does not contain chemicals that may pose health issues for occupants.
- Corruptibility. Steel is vulnerable to corrosion. The steel frame and any components used to assemble it require treatment to prevent rust.
- Heavier weights. Steel is heavier than other common building materials and may require forklifts and other machinery to build. This weight can also present issues and additional costs in association with transportation.
- Specialized building materials required. The assembly of steel buildings is different than wooden structures. These buildings are not simply nailed together. Rivets, bolts, or tapping screws are some of the components needed.
- Insulation concerns. Insulation presents a greater challenge with steel buildings. Steel by itself is more conductive to heat and cold. The metal may also sweat from temperature changes, creating moisture where it is not desirable. Using environmentally friendly insulating techniques can overcome this obstacle, however.
When you are considering residential steel buildings, weigh the advantages and disadvantages with respect to your needs. While steel is expensive to use, the durability will eliminate many repair costs associated with other building materials. While steel is subject to heat, proper insulation and ventilation can reduce the problem. Pre-assembly can make installation easier, eliminating many concerns in the construction process.Ready to Compare Residential Steel Buildings Price Quotes?