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Steel: Keeping the Wolves at Bay

The big, bad Wolf huffed and he puffed and … Regardless of our individual views of climate change, no one denies the rising cost of disasters around the globe, particularly on the coasts. While the main benefit of steel framing has always been its strength and durability, there are many advantages to steel.

Cost Effectiveness

Factory precision produces high quality steel components that reliably comply with design specs and assemble the first time. That cuts the cost of specialized engineering and architectural time when the inevitable change orders crop up. Likewise, having accurate components means a quicker, easier installation with fewer errors, even with unskilled or semi-skilled labor. Cost benefits persist over the life of a steel-framed building, too. Unlike wood, steel members don’t expand and contract with humidity, so storm doors and windows maintain a tighter seal and waste less energy over time.

Strength Implies Design Flexibility

The strength and formability of steel offer inherent advantages at the design stage, whether the builder wants an arch, gallery, or a visually dramatic span. Steel framing has also been extensively stress tested, so plan approval takes less time and gets the builder’s job started sooner. The simpler the design, the closer the project can come to turnkey installation, even in extreme environments.


Buckminster Fuller’s prediction that more and more construction would be standardized or semi-standardized, modular, and prefabricated to cut waste, and reduce overhead has come true, in spades. Modularity alone offers advantages. Among them, the buyer can often occupy part of the premises almost immediately, making the new site productive while construction continues on a just-in-time basis.


Unlike wood, bugs don’t eat steel. That means both fewer infestations and reduced risk of a structural collapse due to one. Steel construction also greatly reduces the need for the toxic glues, preservatives, and pesticides that make for sick buildings as volatile chemicals continue to evaporate and spread. In addition to earthquake and wind survivability, steel is also flame resistant and brushfire tested up to 1000 degrees C (1832 degrees F).

Steel is Green

While it is true that trees can be replanted after harvesting, most salvage from wood construction winds up as landfill. By contrast, with an overall recycling rate of 98%, almost all structural steel gets reused. Most steel is too valuable to wind up in landfills. Likewise, with its high sensitivity to energy prices, steel manufacturing has cut energy intensity per ton by 29% over 1990 through 2005. In 2005, the steel industry further committed to decreasing energy intensity per ton by a further 10% by 2012 as part of the US Climate Vision Program. Better yet, while the Kyoto Treaty would have required the steel industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% by 2012, iron and steel manufacturers voluntarily reduced carbon emissions by 47% over 1990 through 2005.


In addition to becoming the premier environmentally friendly building material, steel’s strength, design flexibility, and ability to endure extreme environmental stresses convey significant value to homeowners and commercial builders. Best of all, steel framing is cost effective both at build out and over the economic life of the structure.

Steel Buildings: Affordable Fireproof Buildings

Quick: think of the top 10 reasons you are resisting building your dream home, new warehouse or garage? Are labor and materials prohibitively expensive? Will it take too long to build it? Is it the potential for losing what you just built, say in a fire or flood? Insurance costs going to sky-rocket for a new building?

Consider this: all steel buildings are greatly resistant to the ravaging effects of fire. Well, up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far better than conventional materials, such as wood. After all, no one builds a fire out of steel, but they sure do use wood. Anyway, at 1100 degrees, even steel begins breaking down leading to an eventual collapse of a structure.

There’s help. Proper insulation of steel protects buildings from inducing the steel to reach too high of a temperature, which prevents collapse. Even so, steel is also mildew and mold proof, and will not have any termite issues either.

Steel is affordable by a long shot compared to traditional building materials and methods. Additionally, the fireproof power of steel ensures that loved ones, treasured animals and irreplaceable and priceless equipment and collectibles stay dry and are protected from fires. That all means that insurance rates are going to be rather affordable, because the building itself is not costly to replace.

Old Steel and New Technology
Steel is not new by any means. Yet, constant technological improvements consistently are increasing efficiency of manufacturing the steel for building purposes. It means less waste and better precision to cut down on steel buildings and the relatively few associated manufacturing errors. This all translates into a better experience for you, the new owner of a new steel building.

Custom Built Design and Functionality
Steel buildings have the distinction of affording its owners with special privileges. Not everyone who wants a custom build can afford it in the world of conventional materials. Surveying, engineers, architects, excavation, materials and labor all tally up to a huge cost. Comparatively affordable, steel lets its owners custom build as a matter of course, for anyone buying one of these buildings.

Types of Buildings
The only limit to what you can build with steel is the imagination. Steel takes well to insulation, wall board and flooring just as well as any other type of building. That means you can have a new barn, equestrian building, pole barn, workshop, warehouse and even a comfortable new home.

One search on the Internet, or even among social media enthusiasts, and you will discover just how versatile a material steel is. Individuals and businesses freely share photos of their creations. Modular construction and the power of steel makes for a quick build as well. A small crew with surprisingly few hand tools easily constructs most buildings out of steel within a day or two. It is another marvel of technology.

Steel structures are built to suit your needs and fire resistant up to very high temperatures. Consider additional insulation for even greater fire resistance.

Make Metal An Option For Your Next Building Construction

Steel can be the ideal construction material for a variety of building that are both large and small. It is durable, relatively inexpensive, and easy to work with. It is also well-suited for today’s movement towards green and sustainable construction. Steel receives high ratings when it comes to LEED certification in addition to being widely available from both local and recycled sources. The only real challenge with this material presents itself when it comes to issues related to cooling. Climbing summer temperatures can drastically raise temperatures inside steel building to dangerous levels, potentially damaging the goods housed within or threatening the health of anyone in the building. However, there are a considerable variety of ways to cool steel buildings that are inexpensive and easy to initiate.

Supplementing Your Efforts

The first solution that people usually try is conventional air conditioning units either in the form of a central unit or a window design. This approach can be effective, but due to the fact that these types of buildings trap heat once it is inside, the unit ends up working extremely hard and burning out early. Rather than taking this approach alone, it is a good idea to combine air conditioning units with roofing materials that are designed to cool the internal environment as well. The top choices in roofing for this purpose are asphalt, tile, and concrete. Concrete tiles reflect roughly 30 percent of the sun’s rays, saving nearly 20 percent on cooling costs. Asphalt reflects the least amount of heat, saving around one percent on conventional cooling costs. Tile is the most effective choice, reflecting 35 percent of the light striking it and saving an average of 35 percent on cooling costs.

Put Air on Your Side

Ventilation is also very important when it comes to keeping metal buildings cool on the interior. Vents should always be installed on the West and East sides of the building in order to encourage the movement of air. When possible, it is also ideal to construct the building using an orientation that puts the prevailing winds to your advantage in these terms. East to West is generally the position that provides for these kinds of conditions. There should also be ventilation installed under the eaves of the roofing. The movement of air must be encouraged in all areas of the building, making it necessary to install small fans in the roof of the structure as well.

The Material Advantage

Using a metal roof for your building also has it advantages. In addition to reflecting a considerable amount of heat, it is extremely flexible when it comes to style. Metal also saves money in order to cover cooling costs thanks to its high level of durability. While other materials may be slightly more efficient when it comes to the expense of cooling, they are in need of repair much more often. From every respect, metal proves itself to be a superior method of construction, despite some small drawbacks when it comes to cooling concerns that can easily be remedied.

The Dangers of Condensation on Metal and How to Prevent It

When it comes to keeping up the health and safety code of a building, one of the important things to watch out for is condensation. When warm air touches something cold, like a metal building, the air becomes colder. Then when the air can’t hold all of the moisture caused by the temperature change, water droplets are formed, hitting the steel of the wall. Here are some ways to prevent that from happening.

1. Keep Circulation Going

When there’s humidity, there’s a lot of moisture in the air. A good way to avoid all of that from just sitting in the air and turning into droplets is to keep cool air blowing through at all times. Keeping fans or air conditioners on consistently will let the air circulate, cool off the warm temperature and help prevent condensation. You can also use a dehumidifier to help with this problem.

2. Provide Quality Ventilation

When you have vents in your rooms that are dealing with condensation, it sucks out the hot air so that it’s not sitting in the room and changing temperatures. If you put a gas or oil heater on the outside, you can install vents from there and put ceiling vents inside the rooms that need condensation prevention. This is particularly helpful if there are lots of people or equipment in the room.

3. Ensure Good Insulation   With some good vinyl-backing insulation on the inside of your walls and ceilings, that will prevent the humid air from making contact with the metal panels. It also helps to control the temperature of these steel buildings without so much cost put into electricity to keep air conditioners running. Though insulating the building is a big project, it is definitely worth it.

4. Check Your Lights

Sometimes lights can affect the temperature of your room. So one way to prevent condensation is to, either personally or professionally, get your heating and light fixtures checked. If you have an oil heater that is located right underneath a steel panel, that is sure to generate condensation, and should be replaced.

5. Understanding

The Dangers of Condensation- Preventing condensation is important because water damage is a serious thing when it comes to metal or steel buildings. Corrosion is one of the ways that it can affect your walls, causing the metal to weaken and thus shortening the life of the steel. Condensation can also cause mold or mildew, which creates bad odors and can be very dangerous for anyone with asthma or allergies. Finally, condensation can cause insect infestations, or even reduce the effectiveness of your wall’s insulation.

Now that the dangers of condensation have been discussed and the tools for preventing it have been given, it’s important to take the proper measures to do what needs to be done. Whether it is a simple solution that you can tackle on your own or would prefer to call in a professional, make sure you take it care of as soon as possible for the best quality repair.

How Steel Buildings Compare To Concrete Tilt-Up Structures

Steel buildings and concrete tilt-up structures are two popular options for fast construction. While both methods offer definite strengths, each performs best in different situations. Here’s a look at how these building methods compare with each other.

Building Size

Steel is an excellent material for smaller buildings under 50,000 square feet because of the labor and equipment required for building concrete tilt-up structures. This is true despite the lower overall cost of steel compared to concrete. In buildings over 50,000 square feet, however, the cost of construction is offset by the cheaper price of concrete.

Flexibility in Design

Steel offers a high level of flexibility in the design and construction of custom buildings. When greater spans and numbers of bays are involved, pre-engineered steel building packages allow greater savings. However, more custom requirements will increase the cost of a steel building dramatically. At the same time, greater customization costs are sometimes included in kits for concrete tilt-up structures. This can mean easier budgeting related to permits, taxes, plumbing, finishing and foundation work.

Availability and Usage of Materials

Because steel is normally brought to the construction site from a distant location, this factors into the total cost of a project. By contrast, a concrete tilt-up structure can be made with locally produced concrete and wooden forms and may cost less as a result. However, steel can be used as soon as it arrives on site while concrete must be prepared, making it dependent on weather. Building speed is also faster with steel thanks to the ease with which it can be erected compared to concrete.

Resistance to Damage

Compared to concrete-tilt up structures, steel buildings are more vulnerable to fire but more resistant to earthquakes and wind. As a result, erection of a steel structure requires more attention to local building codes. Designers use a number of materials to reduce the risk of fire damage in steel structures, including fire-resistant panels and sprays, but they can still become distorted by fire very quickly. Concrete tilt-up structures can withstand significant fire without collapsing and endangering occupants.

Different Purposes

A steel building is generally best for a work structure that lacks heavy public traffic while a concrete tilt-up structure is more appropriate for buildings that will face heavy use for years to come. If vehicular or other accidents strike a steel structure, damage is often more expensive to repair than with concrete tilt-up. Storage buildings, aircraft hangars and workshops are dependable long into the future when constructed from steel, but buildings where security is important should use concrete tilt-up for greater safety.

More buildings are being made with steel nowadays because recycled steel can be used, reducing their environmental footprint. Concrete tilt-up remains a valuable construction method and often allows for lower insurance costs, but concrete buildings tend to depreciate more than steel over time. The advantages and weaknesses of steel buildings and concrete tilt-up structures should be weighed carefully by planners for the best results immediately and in the long term.