You can’t drive far these days without passing a steel self-storage facility or two. They look quite different from the creepy Silence of the Lambs storage building Clarice Starling had to visit. They appear neat, clean, and well lighted. Many sport branded color schemes.
The reason you see so many is that:
- We have a lot of stuff.
- We don’t have room in our houses for all our stuff even though…
- The average home is 2,400 square feet; it was half that in 1950.
The need for more storage is a profit-making machine for those who invest in self-storage facilities.Revenue in the U.S. from self-storage has been estimated at $32.7 billion for 2016 and fewer loan defaults than other commercial industries. Of the thousands of facilities in the U.S., a majority are owned by small operators rather than big corporations.
By the way, most self-storage units appear to be made of metal.
Why is steel the building material of choice for modern self-storage units?
It’s easy being green
With the public outcry for energy efficiency and the federal government providing incentives, green construction is the trend of the new century.
Self-storage facilities constructed from steel don't come any greener.
- Steel is 100% recyclable
- Most steel contains a high percentage of recycled material
- Properly coated steel roof panels reflect sunlight and heat away from the building to keep it cool
- Steel buildings are easily insulated to maintain the inside environment while using less energy
Even though a majority of mini warehouses are not climate controlled, the ability to deflect some of the summer heat is easier on the contents, no matter what they are. Also, cool roofs mitigate the heat island effect and allowing more cooling at night.
Steel is durable
Steel is a tough material that resists pests, leaks, and rot. So far as we know, nobody has discovered a critter that eats steel. Properly coated and maintained, steel will resist rust and corrosion as well as mold and mildew.
- When properly installed, a steel roof can withstand hurricane force winds, hail, heavy snow, and other harsh weather.
- Steel is resistant to fire and keeps it from spreading.
- Steel buildings are often the only thing left standing after an earthquake. If they are damaged, they are less likely to collapse completely, providing time for people to escape and protecting contents safely.
A steel roof can last 30 to 50 years, more than a decade longer than a traditional asphalt roof. If you install a steel roof with a white or light colored coating, it reflects heat from the sun and undergoes less stress with temperature changes during the day and in changing seasons.
Steel is protected from rust and corrosion when it arrives at the building manufacturer from the mill, and additional coatings provide longevity to the corrosion proof surface.
Metal self-storage design is flexible
If you have noticed, those self-storage buildings you drive by look nothing like the corrugated tin buildings of the past. Today’s steel panels and accessories can be designed into any shape or form you want or need.
- Is your facility located in an area with predominantly red tile roofs? A steel roof can be fabricated to look just like the neighboring building.
- Are your brand colors green and yellow? Steel can be coated and finished in the exact shade you need.
Exterior panels can be fabricated to look like brick, stone, wood, or left as a metal panel of any color you like.
This flexibility carries over into the ability to expand the number of units and change the size and types of units you have available quite easily.
- If you started small but have additional property upon which to build, you can add onto the length of a steel building quickly and easily by placing new units at the endwall of the existing units.
- If you find you need a higher ratio of smaller units, you can subdivide a larger one with a few panels, or you can remove panels to create a larger unit from two or more small ones.
Steel is low maintenance
Perhaps one of the most desirable features of metal self-storage buildings is their low-maintenance requirements. When built to code, and as per manufacturer's recommendations for your location, your metal buildings will require very little maintenance throughout their lifetime. Consider the following:
- Roofs - The average lifespan of a traditional roof is about 10 to 15 years. Metal roofs are designed to last at least 30 years or more and high-quality metal roof manufacturer's offer warranties for as long as 40 years. That is thousands of dollars in savings over the course of your buildings' lifespan.
- Interior coatings - There are several anti-corrosive coatings available depending on your needs. These include aluminum, zinc, and aluminum-zinc hybrids. Each has its own advantages but consider that an aluminum-zinc finish can last as long as 30-years with minimal maintenance before it needs to be replaced.
- Fire-resistance - Fire is always a threat to storage unit owners because a fire that bleeds from unit to unit can quickly do millions of dollars-worth of damage. When properly insulated and fire-proofed, metal buildings can withstand incredibly high temperatures, upwards of 1000° F or more, before their structural integrity is compromised. Using proper firewalls, insulation and other precautionary measures, you will prevent fires from spreading from unit to unit and may be able to keep a fire from getting started altogether.
Steel is affordable
A metal self-storage building may have a higher initial cost than building with a wood frame, but in the long run, it is a better buy. Most of the savings come from its durability and low maintenance requirements as you see above. You spend less on repairs and upkeep, plus the structures themselves will not require replacement for many years. Since it is fire resistant material, you will see savings on insurance premiums as well.
The expanding use of "cool roofs" with white or light-colored coatings ease the burden on the facilities HVAC systems, welcome saving for self-storage with environmentally controlled units. The ability to reflect heat also protects the contents of non-climate controlled units as well. Owners and operators can save up to 40% or more on heating and cooling costs.
Choosing steel for your sTORAGE uNITS
There you have it. Steel is environmetally-friendly, durable, flexible, affordable, and safe.
Self-storage facilities are built with steel because steel lasts and provides the best protection for the money. It is easily fabricated any way you want or need, and it can be constructed quickly, putting you in business and ready to make a profit in short order.