Your Guide to the Best Metal Building Types

Best Metal Building Types

It goes without saying that metal remains an extremely popular building material. So in this article, we are focusing specifically on buildings made from metal.

Metal buildings are quite popular for their durability, relative ease of construction, and more. We are going to run you through the top varieties of metal building system that you should consider, and help you make the decision as to which is the best type for you.

Are you looking for a metal building, but you aren’t sure which type might be best for you and your company or home?

Or, do you want to find out about each of the best building types, such as what they are used for and advantages?

Then you’re in the right place.In this guide, you’ll find out what you need to know about the best metal building types, including what they are and the benefits. We will start by outlining the many different varieties of metal structure that you can build, and then jump into an outline which shows you how to pick the best one for you. We will conclude it all by running you through the best manufacturers for you to consider.


What’s in this guide?

Building types

Simply focusing on metal as a building material won’t get you far. You need to understand the types of structures that are actually attainable with metal as your primary tool. It is quite a versatile building material, and you might actually be surprised at the type of options available to you.

There are many different options available to you, especially if you want to keep steel as the primary material involved.

In this section, we will cover the building methods of metal structure that you can expect. After that we will go into the most popular usages of metal buildings (such as a metal garage, a metal barn, metal residential buildings, and more).

They can also be used for individual purposes as well, but you can find out more about that below.

Arch style

A quonset hut is traditionally the most popular form of arch style buildings, which were often used in WWII and the Vietnam war as shelters or as a place to store military supplies and weapons.

They are an affordable option because they don’t require as many materials as other buildings. And, you won’t necessarily have to worry about a build up of snow.

On the negative side of things, they offer less interior space because they have a sloped roof.

And, you’ll need a concrete slab to build your arch style building.

Open web

Web truss buildings closely resemble traditional i-beam structures, but instead of using thick steel beams they often use v cross sections, which means using less steel and making the buildings more affordable.

On the other hand, this does make them less reliable than some of the alternatives available.

This means that if you want to expand your building, or you need a large one to begin with, you’ll need to use additional columns to keep the structure upright and safe.

Because of the intricacy of the building, you’ll usually need professional builders and construction might be more expensive, but materials will be lower.

Hybrid open web truss

With a hybrid open web truss building, there is a combination of the V-shaped cross-sections as well as solid steel columns, which can help to keep your structure safe and stable.

It is important to remember that these types of buildings are as yet unproven, so they should be considered potentially with a specialist before you make any decisions.

One of the main benefits is that you can run electrical wiring through the rafters.

But, on the negative side, they might need some welding on your site.

Tube steel

Tube steel buildings are typically for use in carports because they are simple structures that feature a roof, columns to keep the roof up, and generally there won’t be any sides.

This keeps the building open and not enclosed, which makes it perfect for storing cars or other vehicles.

Anything that might need protection from harsh weather but not necessarily security.

Tube steel buildings are typically the easiest to put together yourself thanks to the simplicity of the structure, and light because they are hollow tubes of steel.


C-channel buildings, as the name suggests, feature a C shaped steel frame which comes with a one-person door opening, and frames opening, which can be applications with rolled or sectional doors.

Although this option provides you with a full steel structure for less money, your geographical location or size might limit you.

You should speak to an engineering specialist to ensure that your location won’t be an issue regarding constructing a C-channel building.

Rigid Frame

Rigid frame buildings are some of the most popular steel solutions, as they feature a strong structure which is made from beams and joints.

This allows your building to be able to take a significant amount of weight from at least one direction.

These types of buildings are an excellent match for warehouses and equipment shelters, thanks to the benefits which include the fact that they are cost-effective. They are also resistant to seismic activities and vibrations.

While the initial cost of the frame might be more expensive, it will likely last much longer than other alternatives.

There are many uses for metal buildings, that vary from simple residential properties to more prominent commercial uses such as a shop, a carport, or a steel warehouse.

As you read through these uses, keep in mind your specific needs. After all, it is only a good idea to get a metal building if it is actually what you require. There are many uses for metal architecture, but they have to be in line with what you want.

Let’s take a look at some of the options.


If you’re looking to add a garage to your property to keep your cars and your tools safe, purchasing a garage kit might be an excellent match for you.

Typically, garage building kits will be prefabricated steel constructs.

Prefabricated structures mean that the parts are manufactured off-site, then they are assembled at your location with the help of builders or other professionals. This steel garage is quite simple to assemble when compared to constructing the garage yourself from scratch.

They will usually be made with I-beam framing for structural integrity, and the sides and roof of the garage will be made from 26 gauge steel.

This means that the walls will be made from thin metal, but this results in it being much more flexible and more accessible to put together.

Of course, the main benefit with these prefab metal building kits is convenience and expense, but they actually end up quite sturdy and reliable. Metal is a very durable material. So in a sense you are having the best of both worlds, quality construction with ease, at an affordable price.

Commercial steel buildings

Commercial buildings potentially need to be able to offer ample space for you and your company. Which might include things like commercial kitchens, warehouse storage or clear area for office cubicles. These are large, open spaces, so they can really be used however you want.

They are made with I-beam framing, leaving a vast open space, and they are made out of 26 gauge steel.

You can customize the outside of your building with a wide variety of paint colors to match your branding. You would be surprised how professional and modern these spaces can actually look.

Agricultural steel buildings

A steel agricultural building doesn’t require interior beams, so it can offer you a large space inside which can house all of your farm equipment and products.

You can use it for any sort of agricultural storage or activities. Often it is essentially a metal barn, but its usage doesn’t have to be limited to that.

These larger structures feature both I-beam and C-channel framing, with 26 gauge sheeting that can be cut and manufactured to precise measurements offsite.

This can help with assembly, as the metal building kit is essentially ready to construct. If you are experienced, you should be able to do this with little help.

Plus, thanks to the frame these buildings will be incredibly durable and protect against harsh weather, which is probably your top priority if you are in agriculture.


For residential properties, steel buildings can provide a surprisingly effective solution to many problems that buyers have experienced.

These problems can include the cost of existing homes, the trouble with not having a house that has the layout you want. As well as the potential future costs of building a garage.

For many, a metal building can have the stigma of not being very home-like or modern. Fear not, it is actually quite a progressive area of architecture. There are many options you can take to have your metal residential building rival that of traditional design. Look online for tips and tricks in designing and outfitting a metal home.

These homes can typically range from a size of 20×35 to large properties that are 80×90.

Aviation steel buildings

Planes require a large amount of space, as well as protection from the weather and safety too, to keep your vehicles safe.

Having a clear-span building means that you won’t have to deal with any intrusive interior beams. And, steel constructs will give you stability and durability.

Many military aircraft hangers are made from steel because the material is affordable, flexible, and because of the strength of the metal.

Choosing the right building type

Selecting the proper building type for you and your business, or your home, might depend on many different factors which include the following:

  • Project budget
  • Your location
  • Use of the structure
  • The building team
  • Style/Design

Let’s take a look at each one and see how you can make some decisions about your new building.


Your budget doesn’t just include the price of the building regarding materials and manufacturing; it also has to take into consideration the amount of assembly too.

That is because the price for your builders to construct your building depends mainly on the company. However, there are some guides you can depend on regarding the cost of steel.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of building costs when it comes to construction.

First, there are your soft costs or ‘indirect costs’, which are typically things that you might not ever physically see at the end of your project.

This includes everything from the area and building permits, fees for 3D renders of your design, traffic studies and legal costs.

Essentially, the administrative factors that go into your construction project.

The second is hard costs or direct costs, which will be the elements that you can visibly see once your project is completed.

So, this will include the cost of steel, the labour, equipment and the price of your land, the physical part of the construction.

The types of costs that will be associated with your building will depend on several variables such as whether your project is residential or commercial, as well as the size of your new structure.

For instance, the bigger the building is and the more complicated the design, the more it will cost in the end.


Depending on your geographic location, you might be potentially restricted in the size of your building, as well as what you can build.

For instance, you might not have space for an aircraft hanger, or the land might not be stable enough to construct a big building.

When it comes to residential buildings, you can also be restricted based on the rules of your neighborhood.

Sometimes, you won’t be able to build a metal structure for any reason, or in other cases, you might be able to as long as the exterior is clad in either wood or rock.

For all these reasons, you must first consider your individual circumstances before you begin construction. Costs are variable, but they depend heavily on what you need to get done, how you plan to do it, and where you plan to build.


The right type of building for you should match the use of your building. So, while you might have an arched structure for simple storage, that type of construction wouldn’t be suitable for a residence.

This is because of the sloped roof and lack of full interior space.

On the other hand, because it is one of the cheaper structures, it might be useful if you want a building which is cost-effective and quick to build.

Take a look above to check out some of the favorite uses of types of buildings.


In some instances, the type of building you choose might not require professional builders so you can take on that task yourself.

This can be useful if you want to keep your costs low and you have some experience in this area.

Although, it is advised that you should always consult a specialist first.

Builders can help you to ensure that you have the right permissions, that you won’t be restricted in size and that your building will be suitable for your needs.


Of course, a building is not all about utility and efficiency. Sometimes you have to like the look of it as well! With a building that you might have sitting on your property for years, you might be understandably concerned with the style and design.

Often, metal can be quite limiting in this regard. This is because it is often prefabricated, so you don’t get as much of a say in the design.

Once you leave the prefabricated area, you can have quite a bit more say into the design and architecture of your metal buildings, but it will definitely cost you more as well.

This is a tradeoff you will have to make, and some may simply prefer a different style of building than metal. That’s fine, as style is subjective, and it is your choice at the end of the day.

Top 5 metal building companies

1. United Structures of America

Type: Steel building supplier

Locations: Texas

United Structures of America supplies both steel structures as well as other metal products. Services range from engineering to BIM and construction too.

They can find solutions for both architects and builders, with a five-star rating on Google which features reviews stating that they have excellent craftsmanship and project management.

This means that they can take you right from the beginning of your project, all the way to when you see your completed structure.

2. Steel Structures America

Type: Steel building supplier

Locations: Idaho, Washington, Colorado

Steel Structures America is a multi-state company who can offer their customers a wide range of steel buildings, such as those for residential, commercial and agricultural purposes.

Not only do they have a wealth of experience for the last twenty plus years with bespoke steel buildings, but they also offer prefabricated options.

They have a high 4.3/5-star rating on Google, with customers stating that they had a pleasant experience working with this company, and their structures are of high quality.

3. All American Metal Buildings

Type: Metal building supplier

Locations: Alabama

All American Metal Buildings are a metal building supplier in Alabama, who can offer their customers metal buildings, roll up doors, roofing, building components and installation services too.

Their products come in a range of bright colors and high-quality materials, made in America and every type and model to suit your specific needs.

4. American Buildings Co

Type: Steel building supplier

Locations: California, Nevada, Illinois, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan

American Buildings Co is a multi-state company who has locations across the United States, who provide a range of steel buildings to their customers.

The products and services that they have on offer include steel structures, wall systems, insulation and installation options.

They have worked on a variety of projects from government buildings to sacred spaces, retail structures and strip malls.

5. CBC Steel Buildings

Type: Steel building supplier

Locations: California

CBC Steel Buildings are a company which is based in California, and it is part of the Nucor group, which owns most of the steel building companies in the United States.

They have been around since the mid-1980s, and provide a wide range of steel products and services such as framing, walls, insulated panels and accessories.

Each of these products come in a variety of color and customization options.


In conclusion, many metal building types are suitable for many different purposes. Such as your home, garage, agricultural storage, as well as things like military aircraft hangers.

It really comes down to your personal preference and design needs. First outline what it is you need, and then use this guide to match it to your preferred building type. We are confident you can find a metal structure that will suit your needs. Thanks very much for reading!

Have you found out everything that you need to know about metal building types?

Do you want to learn more about building elements?

Take a look at the Green Building Elements metal building guides here.