No doubt about it, metal buildings are the most durable structures you can own. They require minimal maintenance and can last for decades. But metal buildings still have vulnerabilities, most notably to moisture. Maintaining your metal building can also mean ensuring the contents are safe from the environment. Finally, a building may only be as strong as its anchor to the foundation, while roofs need special consideration regarding load conditions.
Below are some tips to help you keep your metal building or home in tip-top shape for the lifetime of the structure.
Metal sheeting itself is generally coated by the manufacturer to mitigate surface rust. However, the building will be vulnerable where there is an interruption in the sheeting. Windows, doors, ventilation shafts, the foundation, and the roof are all potential areas for moisture to infiltrate and damage the building or its contents.
The addition of accessories designed to direct water away from these areas provides added protection against the elements. They include:
These all work to direct rainwater away from the walls and foundation of a building.
Manufacturers usually coat sheet metal in Galvalume for added protection during shipping and construction. For additional protection, painted panels are an option.
Insulation does double duty; it can keep the heat out and it can keep the heat in. Do your research to determine the type of insulation that best suits your needs and consult with the construction professionals responsible for erecting your building.
If heavy rainfall is typical, make sure the insulation comes with a vapor lock. In hot regions radiant diversion is a high priority. In all cases, check the warranty period of the insulation you install; it will differ according the material the insulation is made of.
A metal building is strong but still has its limits. In snow country roof pitch is extremely important. Wet snow is heavy and can collapse a flat or minimal pitch roof. These roofs can also collect ice that can then fall during a melt and cause damage or injury. The new Dallas Cowboys football stadium is an excellent example of the problems ice can cause; a stage hand was injured when sheets of ice fell from the roof of the stadium and fractured his skull.
Make sure the roof pitch is steep enough to keep snow, ice, and water from accumulating.
This takes care of the top of your building; now consider the bottom. No matter how strong a building is if the foundation anchors are not stable the entire building is in jeopardy. During the construction of the foundation make absolutely certain the anchors are installed correctly and according to the foundation engineering plan before proceeding with building erection.
Windows and doors should be secured for the weather also. Aim doors and windows away from prevailing winds if at all possible. Splurge for heavy, insulated glass or polycarbonate in regions of extreme heat, wind, and rain. And use weather stripping to keep moisture out.
Metal buildings are cost effective and less expensive to construct than wood. But you still want to protect your investment. Providing for the comfort of those living or working in the building and keeping the contents safe means taking these extra steps to maintain the building so it will last for years to come.