How to Use a Steel Building as a Home

Emily Beach

If you're looking for a house that will last for many years, it's hard to beat the strength and durability of a steel building. While metal buildings made from steel, aluminum or tin have been used for many years in storage or manufacturing situations, they are only recently popping up in the residential market.

Metal Buildings Are Available in Many Different Models

While some modifications must be made to the structure so it can be a comfortable home, these changes are relatively simple and affordable. Begin your home construction by finding an architect with experience turning metal buildings into residences.

  1. Consult an architect or designer that specializes in metal buildings. These structures are commonly used for storage or industrial uses, so it's important to find an architect with the experience in creating a residential living space out of steel.

  2. Design your home. The layout of a steel building can be altered in the same ways as a traditional wood-framed house. Decide upfront what kind of layout you'd like so the architect can make proper structural additions to accomodate the walls and floor plan you desire, as well as any additional features.

  3. Focus on insulation. Traditional steel buildings are often uninsulated, leading to major temperature swings inside the space. During construction, you'll need to add batt or foam board insulation to keep your home feeling comfortable.

  4. Choose smooth, reflective metal panels for the roof and walls. While you may be tempted to choose patterned or detailed steep panels, these pieces will not reflect sunlight as well as smoother ones, and they will keep the house too hot in the summer, with high energy bills to match. Instead, turn to smooth metal panels coated to reflect the sun's rays.

  5. Work with the look of the steel building when decorating and furnishing your home. The most appropriate decor for a steel home is modern, clean and sparse. You can even leave steel support beams or ductwork uncovered to lend itself to the industrial or modern feel of the house.

  6. Tip

    Steel buildings are generally much cheaper than traditional wood-framed houses and can be built much faster.