Building any structure, commercial or residential, calls for a lot of careful consideration. You want to make sure that you get it right the first time. One of the first and most important decisions you have to make is on which material to use for the project. Typically, wood and steel are the two most popular options. While this can be a real dilemma, it really shouldn’t be given all the benefits that arise from building with steel. If you are still wondering why you should use steel over wood, our experts have put together a detailed comparison between wood and steel to help you make the right decision for your project.
Steel vs. Wood – Choosing the Best Material
When only considering the initial price tag, wood structures seem like a cheaper alternative to steel buildings. However, one key thing about construction is that you get what you pay for. As such, “cheaper” should not be the main deciding factor, particularly if you consider the value of your investment over time. Wood is a material that naturally deteriorates and wears down with time. Consequently, the amount of time and resources you will have to invest in repairs and maintenance to keep a wooden structure in good condition will far outweigh the cost of building and owning a metal building. Unlike wood buildings, steel buildings require very minimal maintenance. If you have long-term plans for your project, it makes more sense financially to build with steel.
Durability & Structural Strength
Although steel is known to have impressive structural strength, wood is also incredibly tough. That said, the two materials have a significant variance when it comes to durability against various elements. Wood is naturally prone to warping, cracking, rotting, and bending due to moisture, pests, ageing etc. Additionally, there are considerable inconsistencies in the quality of wood, which can lead to up to 20% of the lumber wasted and weak points in the structure. This is not the case with steel buildings, which are built to weather strong winds, heavy snows, and more. Unlike wood, steel is fire-resistant and is not prone to termites and other pests.
When building with wood, the materials will sometimes arrive at your construction site as raw lumber. This then requires you to spend a lot of time and money cutting and fabricating the lumber into the building’s framework. With steel buildings, the materials arrive on the job site prefabricated into the exact measurements needed with all holes pre-drilled. This allows you to cut down on construction time and labour costs. This is an essential aspect for commercial metal buildings as you can start reaping your return on investment much sooner.
Customizable Design Options
Wood structures have a unique traditional aesthetic and appeal that most people are drawn to. They can also be customized to meet the requirements of each owner. However, the biggest downside is that they require a high level of care and constant maintenance since they can deteriorate quickly. On the other hand, steel buildings require minimal maintenance and offer a wide range of customizable colour options. Additionally, you have the ability to construct your front and back walls using whatever material you prefer, including brick, wood, vinyl, and more. These end walls can be customized to ensure the size and layout perfectly match your intended usage.
Although wood has traditionally been the number one building material of choice, there is no running from the fact that it is prone to warping, cracking, rotting and more, resulting in expensive repairs and possible replacements. In contrast, steel buildings require little to no maintenance over time. A steel frame is also significantly lighter than wood, which means that the building’s foundation is prone to fewer damages. The fact that steel is remarkably durable and resistant to many destructive elements also means that owners of steel buildings enjoy lifetime savings in the form of a discount on their insurance.
Energy Efficiency & Recyclability
At the end of their useful lives, wood buildings are often demolished and taken to landfills. Steel buildings, however, can be recycled indefinitely without losing strength. You can also easily add solar energy systems, heat pumps and wind turbines if you wish. This can increase your building’s energy efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and save you money on energy bills. The reflectivity of steel also improves your energy efficiency, as it reflects heat in the hotter weather and attracts and holds it for longer in the cooler months.
Are Steel Buildings Eco-Friendly?
Steel buildings are gaining popularity in both residential and commercial projects for many reasons. One of the key reasons is that they are incredibly energy efficient. Below are some ways that make steel and metal buildings an environmentally friendly option.
They Produce Lower Construction Waste
Steel buildings are designed and pre-engineered to the exact measurements needed in order to reduce construction time and wastage (roughly 2%). Consequently, this also reduces energy consumption as you do not need heavy machinery on site to construct smaller, more basic steel buildings. In comparison, wood leaves up to 20% of waste during construction and more when demolished. 98% of buildings made from steel can be recycled repeatedly, making it one of the most environmentally friendly materials.
Easy Solar Power Add-On Options
With steel being a light material, you can add more weight in solar panels, which can significantly lower your energy bills and carbon footprint. The metal roof makes it easy to install geothermal heat pumps, solar energy systems, wind turbines and other eco-friendly elements.
Meet “Green Building” Codes & Standards
As cities continue requiring developers to meet green standards for new construction projects, steel buildings have emerged as the leading alternative to wood structures. In addition to being durable and long-lasting, they are also easier to maintain and more energy efficient.
Eco-Friendly Production Process
As steel grows in popularity, steel companies globally are improving their plants to be more energy-efficient and to produce fewer emissions. Currently, there are many steel plants with zero carbon emissions and completely recyclable water, thereby significantly boosting steel as a more eco-friendly alternative than wood.
Get a Durable, Reliable, Green Steel Building from Toro Steel
It is no secret that steel is a better building material than wood and is the material of choice for the future. Steel also unlocks endless possibilities in the applications it can be used for in the commercial and residential sectors. At Toro Steel Buildings, our talented team of designers and engineers can create custom designs to meet your exact needs and requirements. Backed by decades of combined experience and expertise, we will help you build the strong, durable, and energy-efficient building you require from your needs. Contact us today to get started!
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