The Advantages of Wood Frame Buildings vs. Steel Buildings

1. Cost

Contrary to popular belief, steel buildings are more expensive than a wood frame building of the same size. A steel building may appear to be more cost effective. Yet most steel building manufactures sell the kit only. Some suppliers don’t even include engineered drawings for the foundation. The requirements for the foundation of a steel building are much more complicated than a comparable wood frame building.

Our engineered wood frame buildings are not just a kit. When you buy our building package you are covered from the ground up. Our team of professionals work with you from design all the way to finished product. Our crews do everything from excavation to installing cladding. Refer to our blog post “FAQ: What does a shop package include?” for more information on what we include.

2. Insulation

Steel buildings often use roll out insulation which is installed between the purlins and the exterior sheeting. The disadvantage is that when the exterior sheeting is screwed on it compresses the insulation. This causes a cold spot at every purlin where the insulation is not working to its full capacity. Another issue with this method of installation is leaks. Over time as the insulation compresses the screws will become loose and begin to leak. If you have an insulated steel building, we recommend re-tightening all the screws every 3-5 years. This will help to prevent permanent damage from occurring. If you are planning on building an insulated steel building, we recommend using spray foam to avoid these issues..

Wood frame buildings are much simpler to insulate. Batt insulation is installed between the studs where it can preform to its max rating. The exterior cladding is then attached directly to the wood. This results in a much better seal with no leaks. Spray foam insulation is also an option for the wood frame buildings.

3. Interior Finish

Finishing the interior of a steel building is not cost effective. The white backer on the insulation is your interior finish. If you need a different finish, wood or steel studs will be installed between the purlins. While this can give you an amazing finish, it will drive prices up.

The interior of engineered wood frame buildings are very simple to finish. Metal cladding, plywood, or drywall can be installed directly to the framing. We recommend bright white metal cladding for an easy to clean and maintain finish. Shelving, cabinets, and workbenches are also easy to attach.

4. Fire

One reason many people go with a steel building is because they believe it to be more fire resistant. Actually, steel loses 80% of its structural integrity at 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. When a steel building reaches this temperature during a fire it will instantly collapse.

Wood will retain full structural integrity over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the charcoal that builds up as it burns insulates the inside of the wood from burning too quickly. During a fire a wood building will slowly collapse. Ask most firefighters which building they would rather go into during a fire. You will find the common answer to be a wood building.

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