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Metal buildings

clampman2's picture

Am considering putting up a metal building in New England for use as a shop. I'd appreciate any input/insights from those of you who have either put them up, and or worked in them.

Thank you much.


(post #57541, reply #1 of 23)

We did a Nucor building once.  It was kind of like a kit, pre-fabricated components.

Basically, you assemble the frame bolted together but not torqued down, plumb it with a few come-a-longs, then run around and tighten the nuts. Then drape some insulation blankets over it, and apply the outer panels to the purlins with self drilling, washered screws. Some trim, etc, etc,

Your going to need at least a genie lift, maybe a boom truck depending on how big this thing will be.

 Does this thing have to be metal?, like it's going right on the property line, or the fire marshal wants it metal because of it's use?, you might be able to take a hack of sticks and nail it together out of wood faster.



(post #57541, reply #3 of 23)

Yes. I'll be doing it myself with whatever equipment is easiest. I was basically thinking of cost, and speed. Want to move both machine shop and cabinet shop into it before November. Forty by eighty is all I need right away, and can expand the back later.

Panama, what size was yours and how many guys how long to complete? Can you remember.



(post #57541, reply #4 of 23)

hopefully somefolks here can give you some first hand advice (unless you count an 8x8 shed)

have you googled on metal buildings?

saw two that sold direct

what they look like is another consideration

one had pictures of three guys putting it together using scafolding, no equipment, but it looked like a modern quanset hut.

another site had pictures of building (small pictures) that may not look too bad.

didn't look for prices.

bobl          Volo Non Voleo


bobl          Volo, non valeo

Baloney detecter    WFR

"But when you're a kibbutzer and have no responsibility to decide the facts and apply the law, you can reach any conclusion you want because it doesn't matter." SHG

(post #57541, reply #5 of 23)

They a company up the road that make DIYer kits. I ordered mine from him but have not installed yet.

(post #57541, reply #7 of 23)

Where is down the road? The link doesn't work?

(post #57541, reply #9 of 23)

(post #57541, reply #6 of 23)

Have already done a search and been in contact with two manufacturers who are sending me quotes. What I would really like is other people's experiences with them, good and bad, and erection times.

As usual, I'm in the "time is of the essence" mode - but this time the situation is reversed.



(post #57541, reply #8 of 23)

No experience with metal building here, but had a thought.

You're apparently thinking about building a 40 X 80 shed. I'd suggest building something more square to make it easier to add onto.

Seems every building project is big enough when new, but is too small all too soon. You even mention "expanding the back" later.

Assuing you would make the building a bout 50% bigger in the future, that would make it 40 X 120 - Pretty long and narrow.

If you were to start out with a 50 X 60 shed, you'd have almost the same number of square feet to begin with. But it wouldn't be so long and narrow when you added on later.

I did this once with a 30 X 45 shed - Doubled the shed to 30 X 90. It's a major pain having something so long and narrow - Especially because in my case the main door is on the end, and open onto a busy street.

But hindsight is always better...........

If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library? [Lily Tomlin]

(post #57541, reply #10 of 23)


You've raised a real good point. But in my situation where we can have huge snow loads in 24 hours, I'm trying to keep the width down. Also, I have both cabinet and machine shops, which I have to keep separated. Lot size is not an issue either. It may, in the future, make more sense to just add another building rather than extend the existing one anyhow.

Thanks again,


(post #57541, reply #11 of 23)

I'm by no means an expert but imho metal buildings are hot in the summer, cold in the winter, erect faster than a stick frame building, and are a good way to get a lot of sf quickly and inexpensively. I'm not a big fan of exposed fasteners on a roof, having spent a few hot days on a roof trying to chase down some leaks. In New England, I'd want any overhead doors in the gable end .......... nothing like getting hit by a snow and ice slide. I think your new building would be a good canidate for radiant heat.

(post #57541, reply #14 of 23)

28x40.  That thing took forever to do, probably because it being on the back lot of a new car dealership, we had to   squueeeeeeezze  between new porchses.



(post #57541, reply #2 of 23)

diy or builder

someone might have information more on one then the other

bobl          Volo Non Voleo


bobl          Volo, non valeo

Baloney detecter    WFR

"But when you're a kibbutzer and have no responsibility to decide the facts and apply the law, you can reach any conclusion you want because it doesn't matter." SHG

(post #57541, reply #13 of 23)

I am a fan of Morton Buildings Inc. "pole barns" metal skin buildings.  I had a 30 x 45 in Knoxville and have a 48 x 60 here in western NC.  Morton builds these building for cold climates -- they are from central Illinois orginally.  They also build them fast -- my Knoxville one took them 3 1/2 days -- but this was without slab and without finishing out which I did myself.  The larger one here took about 2 weeks.  (again I did the slab  and finishing out -- but they will do this too if you need or want it.)  Really good company to work with.  I have no conection with Morton except as a customer.


(post #57541, reply #12 of 23)

I had a 40 x 40 x20 to eves with 4/12 galvalume roof/ siding and with insulation. Fully vented 12 inch soffits all around and ridge vent is  closable. Heated with large bullet heater to start off each cold morning, but wood stove kept it reasonable (above 50 degrees) for remainder of day.Had it set up and sided for me by a GC.

Took his crew of 4 -5 about 4 days on my slab. Doors (sliding 12 ft wide x 14 ft tall) and other trim took another man a week.

 After 15 years it is still a good building, but it is in Ohio and I am now in central FL. Getting ready to do another as soon as I get the chance. This one 30 ft x 60ft with 14 ft  to the eves. Galvalume is a great building material and termite free. As a plain gable roof, it reflects the sun ande can be cooler than a regular shingle roof.


All I ever Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten- Robt. Fulghum

(post #57541, reply #15 of 23)

Thanks to all of you above. I just got through talking to a buddy of mine who just got back to town. He's got a huge Morton Building a few years old that I really liked too. Didn't know what kind it was until tonight. He said the crew was great, and fast.

Another friend in Maine swears by Butler Buildings, which he's had for over 30 years with no problems. Seems that they all go up pretty fast. Galvalume seems to be worth the extra money from what I gather.

Thanks to all.


(post #57541, reply #16 of 23)

pretty simple... most manufactures include the engineering...  screw the screws in stright and don't over tighten em  and you won't have leaks...  most are set up on 25ft bays (some 20')  at forty ft wide and eighty ft long ... you can about go to 100' as cheap or save some money keeping it to 75'  ie... 2 end walls and 2 main main bays... if you plan to expand it  better put a main bay beam at the end... or since you are basicly use'n it for 2 shops  the parting wall could land where a main beam would go and you could end up with 2 40 x 50 ft shops  with just 2 main beam bays and 3 end walls... with a metal wall between....

tips... the slab needs to be dead on...  sometimes we do just footings and piers and pour the slab after.... works well for spec build where we don't know tenant needs... if you think you need a 12' eve  get a 14'...  higher is better... i prefer 16... you can get a ton of storage space and lofts work well... you can order a building from about anyone... and i haven't seen a dimes worth of difference if it's spec'd out the same... i have a problem with the factory gutters the outside lip is usually higher than the inside... in downpours it makes it overflow into the building... go figure... we use a metal stud conduit punch and add a few holes at the proper ht  on the outside of the gutter to prevent this "backward overflow"... usually a good scissor lift is all you need to put one up.... but a forklift helps... and a crain is good for about 4 hrs...  there are crews around that will put one up for about  a buck a SF... it's not rocket science

(post #57541, reply #18 of 23)

Thanks again.

Have already requested a re-quote with 14 as opposed to 11' walls and the price difference is not that significant. One guy said 14' was good enough for tractor trailers to back through, another guy said 16'. Think I will once again check the difference between 14 and 16.

When you speak of bay lengths, that's exactly the information I'm trying to get out of the salesmen - what the most cost effective length and width ratio's, and bay lengths are for my required snow loading.

Too bad I don't have access to their software to play with the numbers myself.


(post #57541, reply #17 of 23)

Morton & Butler are both excellent choices. Last time I went with Butler, but it was priced within $10 of Morton, but the local Butler dealer could be there 2 weeks quicker at that time.

All I ever Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten- Robt. Fulghum

(post #57541, reply #19 of 23)

There's a company called General Steel that advertises on nationwide radio.  IIRC, they have a 60' x 200' for under $100k, plus many smaller sizes.


-- J.S.




-- J.S.


(post #57541, reply #20 of 23)

Web Steel seems fairly popular out here in Oregon, however, they are only a local company.  I just bought a 30'x40'x12'(walls) steel building from them for $10,000.  There have three styles of framework for their building.  The cheapest is something called Delta Frame which uses columns of welded angle and flat iron with a similarly constructed truss.  The bottom of the truss cuts straight across from the top of the columns and greatly limit overheat clearances.  The Vaulted style has similar uprights but the truss arches up and gives much more clearance.  The Rigid style uses large I-beams for both the columns and roof supports. 

They no longer have their prices on the Internet, but I think a bottom of the line 30'x42'x10' building with no doors or windows was around $5500.  These have either 14' bays with 16' bays available for heavier snow load.  These, however, have wood purlins and girts.  The price I paid was for all steel purlins and girts, and included one 10'x16' insulated roll up door, a single man door, and R19 fiberglas ceiling insulation.  (On these, they lay the fiberglass bats over the girts and then lay the metal roofing on top of that and fasten it down.)   The price also included engineer stamped drawings for the slab. 

I went with the more expensive "Rigid Frame" design because I am in a scenic area with severe height restriction and I was able to get enough height with this design that I hope to eventually install an overhead gantry crane. 

I also priced all steel buildings from which has a "design it yourself and get a price" feature on their website.  The price on that website was a couple of thousand cheaper than what I got from Web Steel, but they wouldn't customize their building beyond the options on the website and it didn't include foundation drawings or shipping, so when those were added in, there wasn't that much difference - and being local, I can drop by there and bug them regarding construction details. 

Just saw this thread. Arch (post #57541, reply #21 of 23)

Just saw this thread. Arch buildings are more solid than the prefabricated style with straight walls.

And ugly, have much less (post #57541, reply #23 of 23)

And ugly, have much less headroom. and you can't effectively use the space near the walls. They are cheap though.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

Did you find anyone? I am (post #57541, reply #22 of 23)

Did you find anyone? I am looking to build an arch style metal garage and am looking into several companies. Who did you use? And what was the gauge steel you used? I am leaning towards this company. Has anyone used them? I see some links others have posted in this thread and I have checked most of them out too. Let me know what you did and any advice is appreciated.