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Important questions you need to know before building

I hear metal and steel used to describe a type of building.  What is the difference? 

Metal- is a solid material that is typically hard, shiny, malleable, fusible, and ductile.  Metal has electrical and thermal conductivity qualities.  Examples  would be iron, gold, silver, copper, and aluminum.  Metal can also be combination of elements that are called alloys.  Examples would be brass or steel.

Steel– is an alloy that is a combination of iron and carbon.  This alloy makes a hard, strong, gray or bluish-gray material.  Steel is primarily used as a structural and fabricating material for building and automobiles.  It is usually painted red or gray.

It is safe to say that all steel buildings are metal but not all metal buildings are made of steel.


What type of metal building you need depends on the features you are looking for.  There are four common metal building solutions to consider:  I-Beam, C-Channel, Tube Steel, or Pole Barn building systems.

Steel I Beam Building

Steel buildings are constructed using a "rigid" steel frame called I beams.  Steel I Beams are typically painted red or gray.  These frames are the heaviest gauge, or thickness, of metal used to support buildings. Steel I  Beams are set on concrete with anchor bolts.  Secondary steel framing support beams are called C-Channel, U-Channel or Parallet Flange Channel (PFC).  These supports are lighter steel than the I Beams at 14-16 gauge. The secondary support beams are bolted to the I beams for support.  The side walls and roof are also made of steel and metal and are usually 24-29 gauge.  The side walls and roof are secured by self tapping metal screws.  The building and concrete foundation are designed and approved by engineers for appropriate building weight, soil conditions, wind, snow load, and seismic activity for the area.  Steel I Beam Building applications are heavy duty in scope and durability.  They have the longest warranty compared to other metal buildings.  Applications are industrial or commercial like  warehouses, strip center, church, offices, garage, arena, gym, storage building, barn.

Metal Side Installation.JPG
C-Channel Metal Building

C-channel metal buildings incorporate C-Channel Beams for the primary and secondary support beams.  These primary support beams are made of steel but are significantly lighter in weight compared to a Steel I Beam.  Secondary framing can be C-Channel or other metals such as aluminum or galvanized metal.  Buildings and foundations are engineered based on customers building needs. C-Channel building offers an all steel structure for less money than a Steel I Beam Building.  There are limitations on size of building.  There are also limits based on geographic locations that may not be suitable for the engineering standards. Building applications are medium scope in durability.  Buildings would include barn, garage, storage, workshop, office, cabin.  

Tube Metal Building-

Tubular buildings utilize metal tubing for the frame and supports.  The metal tubing kits fit together in a slip and fit fashion much like a tent poll.  Side walls and roof are made of 24-29 gauge painted or galvalume metal. Tubular buildings can be engineered but are usually not designed for specific building codes and wind loads.  There may be HOA restrictions.  Applications are light in scope and durability.  Buildings include small storage shed, carport, and RV or boat cover.

Poll Barn Buildings-

Poll Barns main and secondary support framing are made of wood, metal, or a combination of both. Side walls and roofing is made with 24-29 guage metal.  Foundation can be solid concrete or concrete peers if a dirt floor is desired.    Poll Barn Buildings should be engineered for appropriate building weight, soil conditions, wind, snow load, and seismic activity for the area. Building applications are medium to light in scope and durability.  Buildings include barns, garage, storage, workshop, office, home, carport, RV or boat cover.


What type of Metal Building fits your needs?

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