Why should I consider steel instead of wood?
I asked myself this exact same question. After using wood pretty much exclusively for over 20 years, steel was not even on my radar. A geographic change exposed me to a whole new world of possibilities and options with steel. With the ever increasing cost and lack of availability due to other emerging nations consuming what was once an abundant supply of raw building materials, the cost of all things associated with construction seems to have increased faster than normal inflation. Alternative building practices are not only great for the environment, but can be an amazing choice from a financial perspective as well.
Consider Steel for these reasons:
Strength: Cozy steel buildings are welded together and secured with high strength screws. Steel tends to remain secure because there is very little or no movement at all between the structural members and the panels. In typical wood construction, the fasteners (nails, screws, staples etc.) can loosen over time due to expansion and contraction, shifting soil, settling, poor landscaping etc. Thus the structure may warp, twist, shift or crack allowing moisture to penetrate and start to deteriorate the wooden frame holding it together. Since steel tends not to warp, shrink or change over time, the connections remain consistent and secure.
Insect resistant: Even by utilizing wood on the interior, it will still be very difficult for pests to get through concrete and steel first. A proper and regularly treated perimeter with a good seal utilizing spray foam insulation could practically guarantee a termite safe building.
Durability: Steel is simply heavy and tough. If properly installed, there is no reason (baring natural disaster) that your building couldn’t easily be around for 75-100+ years. In my experience, giving proper care and maintenance tends to be simpler on a steel structure.
Green: The odds are your steel has already been something else once, or perhaps even twice, before. What a comfort in knowing that 100 years from now it could be recycled and turned into something else. Try doing that with a traditional stick-built home after 100 years.
Cozy Home Plans will continue seeking alternative construction ideas and building practices that provide people with choices. Steel is a great option for these reasons, plus many more, and should definitely be considered if local building codes allow for it, or you’re fortunate to live in an area with minimal restrictions.
Do I need a professional to put up my metal building?
This depends entirely on your skill level and comfort with this type of construction.I chose to spot or zip-weld the tubing, c-channel and trusses together and then bring in a professional to finish welding all the joints. This will be cheaper than having them building it from scratch. Plus, you get the added benefits of building it yourself with the security of knowing it was welded together properly. Welding is a true art and the peace of mind that comes with having an experienced welder that secures the structure together is worth the money. We are only talking about the skeleton of the building. Just about anyone can install the sheets on the walls and roof. Consider the fact that there are many other aspects of construction for the typical DIYer to save money on, so spending a little money on a professional is worth considering.
How long does it take to erect a metal building?
This will depend on the building size, your skill level, location, access to equipment to aid in positioning trusses and the number of people helping plus their skill level.
Does a metal roof provide any benefits?
Metal roofing can last 1-2 times longer than traditional asphalt shingles. It’s lighter in comparison to shingles with the underlayment necessary to support them. It also stands up better to the elements. Metal roofing is environmentally friendly with some potential insurance savings as well.
Are any special tools required?
Metal roofing and siding can be easily installed using standard hand tools that you probably already have or can purchase relatively inexpensively. Safety glasses, hand drills with bits, circular saws, sawzalls, hammers, pliers, chalk lines, levels and a tape measure are typical tools that are used. Specialty tools for cutting metal panels are 4 ½ in hand grinders, metal chop saws (not necessary at all), metal snips and various sizes of large C clamps. Panels may be easily cut with a metal cutting blade on a 4 1/2 grinder. The grinder cuts with relative ease, accuracy and safety. It is by far the best choice for the beginner and the tool itself is very reasonable. Don’t forget a stick or wire feed welder.
How do I attach the doors and windows?
I will be the first to admit that it is not as easy as doing it in traditional wood construction because they have to be well planned in advance and modifications are extremely difficult. I always recommend starting with a small window and working your way up to the bigger things. Measure twice and cut once…
How heavy is a building?
They are around 6,000 pounds. The best thing is that it is broken down into small components. The largest being the roof trusses at about 300 lbs. All the c-channel and roof/wall sheets can be moved and installed by a single person if necessary, but I would advise against it for safety reasons. The building fits neatly together like a deck of cards, but opens up to a spacious shell.
Which do you personally prefer?
That’s hard to say. I have lived in both and the both are great advantages and disadvantages. It’s kind of like asking a parent which one of his kids they love more. I love them all equally.