Building a home or business is no small undertaking to say the least. Before you ever break ground there are dozens of decisions that have to be made, which affects the entire build. One of the first and most important decisions is what materials will be used to construct the structure.
The natural inclination is to use wood, but that’s far from your only option. While wood does have its benefits, we’re very impressed with today’s steel built homes and buildings. Even if you prefer contemporary style over modern design, steel can be used to build a structure that’s going to last longer, require less maintenance and lower your eco footprint.
Steel is More Cost Effective Than You Think
When people hear steel they see dollar signs. In actuality, the cost of steel buildings is far less than many people realize. Raw steel fluctuates in price largely based on supply and demand. The type of steel used is also a factor. When you’re constructing a home or small building it’s perfectly fine to use minimum yield strength steel in place of more expensive high-density steel.
On average high-quality minimum yield strength steel is roughly $7-10 a square foot for base building and $10 a square foot for construction. Do it yourself construction with pre-engineered steel kits and materials is even more cost effective.
Were you considering concrete or wood for the structure? Another way steel helps you save is by reducing the footprint of the foundation. The load is much lighter compared to concrete and even wood so the foundation doesn’t have to be as large or as complex.
One more way steel can cost less overall is by reducing the build time.
As long as you have a construction team that knows what they’re doing and purchase from a reputable provider, steel construction is much faster than wood framing. Instead of taking months to construct, a steel structure can be assembled in a matter of days or weeks.
It’s a predictable building material that can be pre-engineered before it arrives to the construction site. Components can be pre-cut and pre-drilled holes that make bolting it all together quick and straightforward. It also reduces the potential for human error and measuring mistakes that slow the build down.
Strength and Durability
Wood warps, bends and splinters with the passage of time. If moisture gets inside you also have to worry about rot. Steel, on the other hand, can withstand extreme weather, hurricanes and earthquakes. With the proper treatment, steel beams and panels are also rustproof. Whether or not steel is treated it will always provide fire resistance.
It’s this superior level of durability that makes steel such a desirable building material. The lifespan is incredibly long, and maintenance is minimal since steel is so strong.
If reducing your carbon footprint is a top priority steel should be at the top of your material list. The longevity alone makes steel an eco-friendly option compared to other building materials. However, that isn’t the only characteristic that makes steel environmentally sound.
Steel buildings are actually more energy efficient than wood in many regions. It’s also much lighter, which means shipping steel is less energy intensive. After it’s long lifespan steel can then be recycled and reused for other purposes.
One of the biggest issues property owners face is pest infestations. Wood boring insects like termites can create serious structural problems that cost thousands to prevent and correct. Replacing wood with steel can help eliminate this worry.
Over time your needs will likely change, but your home or business remains the same. A time will come when you’ll have to decide whether to find a new property or work with the one you already have. When you build with steel adding on to an existing structure is easier and more affordable.
Versatility is one of steel’s biggest advantages. It can be molded into different shapes, cut into and welded back together to increase the footprint of a home or building. A steel beam can also be run across a ceiling to take the place of a load bearing pillar and expand the open space.
Lower Insurance Premiums
Because of steel’s strength, durability, rot resistance, fire resistance and pest resistance insurers often offer lower premiums on steel buildings. This monthly cost can add up to significant savings over time.
The benefits of building with steel go on and on. Now that it’s readily available for residential and commercial construction we expect to see more steel buildings in the near future.