Steel Buildings vs. Traditional Timber Buildings - Who Comes Out On Top?

Posted by CDMG Team on May 8, 2019 8:59:41 AM
CDMG Team
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If you're about to build a new building, there are many obstacles you'll face and many questions you'll have to answer during the building process.

What type of building should I build? How much will it cost to build? How much will it cost to maintain? How long will it last?

Those are just a few of the questions you'll be able to think of off the top of your head before you start building.

Once you start building and the process is underway, sometimes it will feel like you're just under a barrage of constant obstacles and questions.

That's okay though, that's all a part of the process. You aren't the first person that will feel that way, and you definitely won't be the last.

Before you answer any of these questions, though, you need to answer the most important question of all; what material will I use to build my new building?

The most common building materials are traditional timber and steel, and they will both have their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

It's important for you to weigh the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is best for your new property.

In the article below, we'll put traditional timber buildings up against steel buildings, and see which one comes out on top.

Timber vs Steel Building Table of Contents:

  1. Traditional Timber Buildings
    1. Environmental Impact
    2. Challenges to Remodel
    3. Increased Insurance Costs
  2. Steel Buildings
    1. Cost Savings of Steel Construction
    2. Appreciation of Land Value
    3. Decreased Construction Time
  3. Help Making an Informed Decision

Traditional timber buildings will have their advantages

Traditional Timber Buildings

We'll start with traditional timber buildings. Traditional timber buildings are typically very sturdy and reliable.

However, they aren't the most environmentally friendly, and they take a significant toll on the environment.

The typical 2,400 square foot, single-family home needs about 16,00 board feet of framing lumber and over 14,000 square feet of other wood products including plywood, oriented strand board, glulam beams, particle board, and many others.

If you've done the math, you've figured out that it takes 60 tons of fresh tress to make 30,000 board feet for a 2,400 square foot building.

That's a lot of trees for just one single-family home.

Steel buildings can be built without cutting down a single tree, and steel is easily recyclable, making steel the best choice if you're worried about your impact on the environment.

Timber buildings can provide more design possibilities, but remodels can be very difficult. Make sure you like your design enough that you won't want to add to it or change much about it in the future.

Temperature regulation is also a positive of timber buildings. There usually isn't much airflow when you build with timber, and it's easy to regulate a wood buildings temperature.

Steel buildings have caught up in this area. With proper insulation and special exterior paints, the temperature in steel buildings can be regulated just as easily.

If you've ever seen an older timber building, you know they are susceptible to rot, mold, cracking, insects and termites, and they aren't fire resistant in the slightest.

Insurance companies typically charge more for timber buildings because of their fire rating and overall strength and durability. Insurance is always an excellent measurement tool when looking to build or buy a building.

The more bang for your buck you can get with your insurance coverage, the better.

Insurance agents will charge more for buildings which will need to be repaired more often, have parts replaced, and have more claims.

A steel building has a major advantage with this because they are very low maintenance, they come with warranties, and they won't need parts to be replaced every few years.

-back to table of contents

Steel Buildings have many advantages over traditional timber

Steel Buildings

The biggest benefit to a steel building is the cost compared to traditional construction methods like wood framed timber buildings.

In certain situations, constructing a steel building could save you up to 50% in costs compared to constructing a traditional timber building.

Don't get upfront cost confused with overall cost.

That timber building might cost less up front, but those savings go out the window every time you have to replace warped wood or rotting timber.

You won't incur any of those costs with steel buildings.

Steel buildings are the ultimate long-term solution because they will cost much less over the lifetime of the building, and they can last long enough to pass the building down from generation to generation.

And the icing on the cake is that land with a steel building tends to appreciate, while land with a wood building typically stays the same, or could even depreciate.

Your steel building is constantly working for you, and if you ever decide to sell it, you might make a few dollars off of the sale.

Steel buildings generally have shorter construction times as well. Steel buildings are prefabricated and delivered to your job site so they can be assembled in days or weeks, instead of months and in some cases years.

Steel is also very easy to clean and maintain, and if treated properly with the right coatings and paint, they will have a much longer lifespan than traditional timber.

The biggest complaint most people have about steel buildings is their appearance.

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a steel building?

It's probably some version of a boxy warehouse or boring metallic structure with no character or personality.

For that reason alone, many people will decide against the many benefits of steel just because of the "limited" aesthetic possibilities.

But, to the surprise of many, a steel building doesn't have to look like, well, a steel building.

Your steel building can have the outward appearance of any building you want, while retaining the structure and benefits of steel.

Brick facades, vinyl sidings, and even wood veneers can be added to the exterior of a steel building to give you the exact look you want.

Make An Informed Decision

You have options, so you also have decisions to make.

It's ultimately up to you to decide what building material works best for you and your budget.

However, remember not to focus solely on short-term costs over long-term costs.

The building that costs a little less today could cost you a lot more tomorrow.

Also, be mindful of how quickly you need your building to be erected, and the environmental impact your building is going to have.

Once you've thought over all those questions, it should be obvious which option is best for your new building.

If you're ready to move forward with a steel building, contact the folks at CDMG.

They have decades of experience and expertise with steel buildings, and they'll help you get your perfect building.

Click the link below to get started.

Start Your Steel Building Project With CDMG

 

Topics: steel building