Metal Buildings vs Wooden Outbuildings Guide

Metal Buildings vs Wooden Outbuildings


When it comes to choosing the material for your outbuilding, there are a vast amount of different choices available like steel or wooden materials.

For instance, should you go with a rustic wooden outbuilding, or would a steel building be more useful for your needs?

Did you know that while wooden buildings usually win in the visual category, steel buildings can often be clad with faux wood?

This can mean you could get the effect of a wooden building, without the risk of rot.

That’s right.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything that you need to know about metal buildings versus wooden buildings.


Let’s go!

What’s in this guide?

What is a metal building?

Metal buildings are traditionally made from either aluminum or steel, and can be used for a variety of reasons including the following:

  • Garages
  • Aircraft hangers
  • Workshops
  • Shops
  • Stables
  • Barns
  • Gymnasiums

But not only that, they are sometimes used for residential homes as well, as long as they have been efficiently insulated and finished with things like drywall.

Thanks to the wide variety of frames that are on offer, your building can range from looking like a vintage looking military hut, to a barndominium suitable for living, or even a home that looks like a shipping container.

The possibilities are almost limitless, as long as you work with experts in this industry.

Here are some of the benefits of having a steel building:

  • Flexible material
  • Customizable
  • Strong and resistant
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Weather resistant

What is a wooden outbuilding?

A wooden outbuilding is a structure that is made entirely from wood, and you will be far more likely to see these types of buildings in both rural and urban areas.

This is because sheds have traditionally been made out of wood, as they are warm, inviting, they are often warm and can store all of your extra bits and pieces.

Wood is also sometimes used in building homes, especially in areas such as the US and Canada, because they are perfect for a cabin look.

  • Naturally insulated
  • Looks warm
  • Attractive exteriors
  • No need for interior finishes

What are the main differences?

So, now that you know what a metal building is as well as what a wooden outbuilding is, what are the main differences between the two?

Let’s take a look and find out more.


Both metal and wooden sheds have their advantages and disadvantages, including the following.


Wood is known to be strong and stable, which is why it was initially used to build houses and other buildings such as shops or bars. It can even be used for these purposes today.

Depending on the size and thickness of the wood, it is often a reliable material which won’t fall due to harsh wind or weather.


Metal buildings, on the other hand, are durable for different reasons.

For instance, metal buildings are least likely to rot away or be home to insects; however, depending on the thickness of the material, it can be victim to extreme weather.

Often, metal buildings will require an extra amount of reinforcements to keep them stable.


When it comes to durability, both of these materials have their benefits. However, a metal building with reinforcements also has the added bonus of being resistant to rot.


Now, let’s move on to pricing for your metal and wooden buildings.


Wooden structures often win when it comes to the pricing differences between wood buildings and metal buildings, as generally, they are cheaper.

However, other costs come into factor when you purchase a wooden building.

For instance, you might need to purchase finishes to keep your wood safe, or you might have to pay for regular maintenance.


Although steel buildings might be more expensive than their wooden counterparts, there are some significant financial benefits to going with steel.

For example, steel structures require less maintenance, and they are often prefabricated.

Prefab buildings have their parts manufactured off-site in a factory; they are then transported to your location and assembled.

Sometimes you won’t even need professional builders to put your building together, which again can save on costs.


While wooden buildings might initially be less expensive than steel to purchase, there are far more costs in regards to construction and maintenance.

This means that generally speaking, a metal building could be overall more cost-effective than wooden structures.


Another essential part of choosing a building that is right for you depends on how much customization you need.

As well as things like how easy it is for you to customize your building too.


Wooden buildings are easy to customize. They can either come ready painted in your chosen colors, or you can opt to do them yourself, depending on your skill level.

You can also choose to varnish your wood to give them a classic, shiny surface, or you can stain them different colors as well.


Traditionally, metal buildings have not had as much choice regarding customization.

However, this has changed in recent years.

Metal buildings can now have a wide variety of both exterior and interior finishes, including rock, stone, wood, faux materials as well as drywall.

This can mean even customizing your metal building to look like wood, but without the harmful elements associated with wood.


Although wooden buildings are often chosen for their rustic, warm appearance and customization, you should keep in mind that now metal buildings can look almost the same.

However, they will likely be cheaper in the long run, and be more resistant and durable than wooden buildings.


One of the most critical aspects to buyers is how much time, and potentially money, will have to be put into making sure your building remains in top shape?Let’s take a look.


Like many wooden products, wood buildings require a lot of maintenance and upkeep, especially in the case of rot and insect infestations.

Sometimes, getting parts of your wooden building replaced can be expensive to replace as well.

To prevent your wooden building from becoming too run down, you may need to repaint it frequently or treat it for any issues.


Metal buildings usually don’t require much maintenance or even any at all in some cases.

Usually, the only problems that you might encounter with a metal building are rust or corrosion, but that would not take a long time or energy to fix.


Metal buildings require less money, time and effort to keep in excellent condition, which is why they are often preferable to wooden outbuildings.

Which option is right for me?

The right option for you depends on many different factors, which might include the following:

  • Your budget
  • Whether you want to assemble it yourself
  • Should you want an authentic wooden appearance
  • If you are happy to do regular maintenance
  • How durable you want your building to be

How much do metal buildings cost?

You might want to use your metal building as a garage, so here is how much a steel garage could cost you.

One Stall Garage

Size Price
12’x20′ $9,600
14’x20′ $10,405
14’x22′ $11,710
16’x24′ $12,688

Two Stall Garage

Size Price
20’x20′ $12,365
20’x22′ $12,895
22’x22′ $14,170
22’x24′ $15,060
22’x26′ $15,705
24’x24′ $15,985
24’x26′ $17,360
24’x28′ $18,170
24’x30′ $18,900

Three Stall Garage

Size Price
24’x32′ $21,100
24’x36′ $23,300
24’x40′ $25,410

How much do wooden outbuildings cost?

On the other hand, here are the costs of traditional wooden outbuildings.


Size Price
24’x24′ $4,550
24’x36′ $5,950
30’x36′ $6,950
30’x48′ $9,150
36’x48′ $10,700


36’x36′ $9,350
36’x48′ $11,450
40’x40′ $10,700
40’x48′ $11,950
40’x60′ $14,150
40’x72′ $16,450
40’x80′ $20,000


Size Price
40’x60′ $16,800
40’x72′ $19,500
40’x84′ $24,900
60’x96′ $37,300

Top 5 metal building suppliers

1. Inland Buildings

Inland Buildings

Type: Metal Building Supplier

Locations: Alabama

Inland Buildings is a highly rated metal building supplier who creates custom engineered metal buildings, which are made to match your specifications.

Unlike other metal building suppliers, they don’t offer standard kits but completely functional structures that are catered to your needs.

On offer are structural frames, wall panels, components and accessories which have between 20 and 30-year warranties.

2. Factory Steel Overstock

Factory Steel Overstock

Type: Metal Building Supplier

Locations: Colorado

Factory Steel Overstock is a metal building supplier which is based in Colorado, with many different options available including choosing from standard kits or entirely bespoke design.

Their low-cost solutions don’t sacrifice on quality, with many customers stating that they found the service to be excellent and they have gone back to FSO whenever they need another metal structure.

You can choose from three options; one is a default kit, second is a customized kit, and the third is a unique building made from scratch.

3. American Buildings Company

American Buildings

Type: Metal Building Supplier

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

American Buildings Company has over 70 years of experience in the metal building industry, with a network that spans over 1,000 independent contractors and building specialists.

Their projects range from sports centers to retail spaces, aircraft hangars and office buildings, so regardless of your needs American Buildings will have a bespoke solution for you.

They have an excellent 5-star rating on Google, with customers claiming that the staff are friendly and helpful.

4. Steel Structures America

Steel Structures America

Type: Metal Building Supplier

Locations: Washington, Idaho, Colorado

Steel Structures America is a chain of metal building companies who can offer their customers a wide range of solutions including agricultural, commercial and residential buildings.

Their customers have given Steel Structures America a 4.3/5 star rating on Google, with reviews saying that the services are useful, friendly and provide high-quality structures.

5. All Steel Buildings and Components

All Steel Buildings and Components

Type: Metal Building Supplier

Locations: Florida

All Steel Buildings and Components are a Florida-based company who both design, engineer and manufacture metal buildings in the United States.

Some of the products on offer are a wide range of panels, structural steel frames, vents, insulation and clips, as well as a selection of colours on offer so you can customise your metal building.

Top 5 wooden outbuilding suppliers

1. Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply

Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply

Type: Hardware Supplies

Locations: Missouri

Wood Shed Lumber & Hardware Supply are a Missouri-based company which is family owned and run, but with the benefits of being a larger company that has over 67,000 products in their warehouse which can be shipped to your location.

On their website, you can find a wide range of products both for your interior and your exterior, with transparent pricing information for your wooden sheds and outbuildings.

You can take advantage of the selection on offer, ranging from lower prices of $219.99 to higher end sheds at $1,199.99.

2. A-Shed USA

A-Shed USA

Type: Shed Supplier

Locations: Utah

A-Shed USA has an excellent 4.4/5 rating on trusted review sites such as Google, out of 42 different reviews, many of which state that the team is helpful and can help you find the best solution for your needs.

They offer a range of sheds and outbuildings which include many styles such as classic ranch storage sheds, barn-styles, and traditional A-frame sheds.

With 20 years of experience in this industry, A-Shed USA is a leader in their field.

3. Chapin Sheds

Chapin Sheds

Type: Shed Supplier

Locations: Massachusetts

Chapin Sheds have been around for 40 years, producing high quality wooden sheds and outbuildings which have given them a high 4.9/5 rating on Google.

They can offer their customers a range of sheds in different styles such as their classic shed series which features a colonial design or custom made sheds too.

Chapin Sheds can also provide you with other outdoor structures such as gazebos, pool houses and pavilions.

4. Superior Sheds

Superior Sheds

Type: Shed Supplier

Locations: Florida

Superior Sheds is a Florida-based company which provides its customers with great sheds, but also superior service, according to their reviews on Google.

With multiple locations throughout Florida, customers can choose from a variety of storage sheds which come in various styles and designs such as bungalows, country inns, cabanas and double shed options.

One of the main benefits to choosing Superior Sheds for your wooden outbuilding is that they are rated to be able to withstand wind loads of up to 180 mph.

5. Shed Happens

Shed Happens

Type: Shed Supplier

Locations: Maine

Shed Happens is a company which has been around since the mid-1970s, which is family run and offers many different outdoor products such as sheds, gazebos, play structures and furniture too.

They have a 4.8/5 rating on Google, with customers stating that the service went above and beyond expectations and the products are of high quality.


In conclusion, while there are many advantages to having a wooden outbuilding, a metal building gives you far more durability and customisation options.

Have you learnt everything you need to know about the differences?

Do you want to know more about building with steel?

Take a look at the Green Building Elements guides on steel buildings or compare quotes below.