How to Construct Steel Buildings

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There are many reasons why the modern homeowner might become interested in steel buildings. Construction of these buildings is easier and faster than that of conventional structures. Constructing steel buildings is also much faster than building a traditional structure, too. Steel buildings are extremely durable and they're far less expensive than their traditionally constructed counterparts. Steel structures come in a huge variety of sizes and can be used for any purpose from housing your garden tools to housing aircrafts!

Things You'll Need

  • Approved Steel Structure Design
  • Steel Building Kit
  • Level Surface
  • Basic Tools
  • Lifting Equipment (to raise rafters)
  • Steel buildings make a great do-it-yourself project, but unless you plan on forging the steel panels yourself, you'll have to buy a steel building kit. These are readily available online and can often be tailored to your exact specifications and measurements. For large steel structures (for example, a steel house), hiring professional contractors will be a must. In many cases, the companies that offer steel building kits will also offer professional building services, as well.

  • Steel building construction is going to vary depending on the manufacturer you purchase your kit from. However, in most cases, your steel structure will begin with a solid, stable concrete foundation. Even if you want to leave some facets of your steel building's construction to the pros, you might consider creating your own concrete foundation to save some money, especially if you are planning on building a small structure such as a work or tool shed.

  • Next comes the framing. Some steel buildings use a combination of metal and lumber framing to reduce costs, while others use only metal. Either way, the supports and frame of the structure are anchored to or in the concrete foundation for stability. Because all-steel framing is very strong, these types of buildings have simpler framing requirements than traditional lumber framed structures.

  • Now it's time to put up the roof. Steel buildings can have pitched roofs much like a traditional house or they can have roofs that are sloped at such a small angle that they appear almost flat. The rafters and columns in large steel buildings are extremely heavy and will require some special lifting equipment to put into place. This should only be handled by someone with experience operating heavy machinery.

  • Once the rafters are in place and secured to the rest of the frame, completing your steel building is simply a matter of fastening roofing and wall panels to the frame with a screw gun. Panels come in many colors, and there are even "skylight" panels made of fiberglass that will fit together with the steel panels and allow natural light into the structure.

  • A well designed steel building will have few gaps, and the exteriors will fit together nicely. One place where steel falls a bit short as a building material is in heat transfer. For certain applications, a steel building will require the addition of insulation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Though some might be wary of being in or near a steel building during a lightning storm, a steel building will draw no more lightning than any other building of similar dimensions and location. In fact, you might actually be safer in a steel building, as (much like a lightning rod) the metal walls will provide a path for the lightning to go directly to the ground without causing damage along the way.
  • Larger steel buildings require a lot of work to put together. Just because a homeowner has successfully constructed a steel work shed doesn't mean that building a steel home will be a piece of cake!

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