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Your Guide to the Best Metal Building Types

Best Metal Building Types

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 benefits.


What’s in this guide?

Building types

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

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

Arch style

Quonset huts are 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 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, 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.

Popular uses for metal buildings

There are many uses for metal buildings, that vary from simple residential properties to more prominent commercial uses such as shops or warehouses.

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.

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.

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.

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

You can customise the outside of your building with a wide variety of paint colours to match your branding.

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.

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.

Plus, thanks to the frame these buildings will be incredibly durable and protect against harsh weather.


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

Such as 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.

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 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

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 neighbourhood.

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.


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 favourite 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.

Top 5 metal building companies

1. United Structures of America

United Structures of America

Type: Steel building supplier

Locations: Texas

United Structures of America supplies both steel structures as well as other metal products, with services which 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

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 colours and high-quality materials, made in America and every type and model to suit your specific needs.

4. American Buildings Co

American Buildings

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

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 colour and customisation 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.

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 guides here.