Types of Steel Structures used in construction

By now, you probably have a pretty good feel for whether or not a metal home would be right for you. So let’s talk about the different types of structures used in metal house construction.


Rigid Frame Building

This is the more traditional option for building a steel framed home.

A rigid frame house is recognizable by its framework of steel columns and horizontal beams. The load on the building is sent to the walls and from there down to the ground, providing strength and stability.

Because this framework is so effective, it is unnecessary to have vertical columns interrupting the space. The walls do their job, allowing for unobstructed living space.

This type of metal building is versatile and supports modular design. Its top benefits are the unobstructed space it offers even for larger domiciles as well as the ability to make the fullest possible use of vertical space.


Pole Barn (Post-Frame Construction)

pole barn construction

A style of metal building which looks similar to a rigid frame house is pole barn. Described well by its name, a pole barn is built with a series of vertical poles to support the roof and walls. Most commonly, the poles themselves are made of wood, not metal, and a “metal pole barn” is simply finished with steel.

The advantage of a pole barn over a rigid frame house is that it costs less to construct.

Its longevity and strength are compromised, however, by the use of wood rather than steel as the main supports. These supports are susceptible to damage from pests, fire, and so forth, and break down faster than a steel frame.  If you want to go the post-frame route and future proof your build, choose steel for your support posts.


Quonset Huts (Arched Metal Buildings)

quonset huts

Finally, another common style of steel building construction to consider is a type of arched building known as a Quonset hut.

You can recognize this type of structure from its arched roof. The name “Quonset” comes from Quonset Point, the Rhode Island location where these buildings were originally constructed in the days of WWII.

Quonset homes have become very popular over recent years for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most prominent is price. There is no cheaper type of steel home you can build. The cost can be as little as $5 per square foot. They also do not require considerable technical expertise to build. This makes them a viable option for many DIYers who want to handle construction on their own.

The shape of the Quonset hut provides it with stability and also does well shedding rain and snowfall. Like other types of steel buildings, it can be customized with any finish. Like a rigid frame house, it can even be used to build a barndominium.

There is only one notable drawback to this type of steel building. Because of the arched roof, there is less usable vertical space in a Quonset hut than there is in a rigid frame house. For this reason, those looking to maximize storage space may choose to go with a rigid frame house instead.

Summary of Metal Home Types

  • Rigid frame house: Consider this type of metal home if you want to maximize unobstructed interior space.
  • Post frame / pole barn: If you like the shape of a rigid frame house, but need to cut back on initial construction costs, think about choosing this type of metal home.
  • Quonset hut: If you do not need to maximize vertical storage space, a Quonset hut is the simplest and most affordable type of metal home you can build. It is every bit as versatile as a rigid frame house or metal pole barn.


Steel is an Affordable, Durable Choice for Building a Home

Whatever your budget and no matter how you want your completed home to look, steel is a logical choice. It is eco-friendly, affordable, convenient, versatile, and will stand up to pests, fire, water and time.