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MMS Northeast Blog

4 Ways to Protect Your Steel Building against Corrosion

In our last blog we talked about the advantages of steel-frame construction over wood-frame construction. These include faster construction time, no wood-warping worries, lower maintenance and insurance costs, and resistance to pests like termites. But in order to get the most benefit from your steel-frame building you must protect it against corrosion. Following are 4 important ways to ensure that protection.

1. Careful Inspection
When considering the possibility of corrosion in your steel building, the interior and exterior environment is key. When steel is in a dry, heated, interior environment the risk of corrosion is irrelevant and a protective coating may not be needed. But the exterior of a steel frame construction in a New England environment, for example, needs protection. The same goes for the building's interior if the activity inside involves moisture that can cause rust.

We recommend a professional experienced with steel buildings and corrosion to inspect your steel building. There are chloride test kits to test your steel structure for chloride, as it is the most corrosive to steel and the primary cause of premature deterioration of a steel building's coating. However, we do not recommend doing this yourself, as some chemicals used in chloride testing can be hazardous if not handled properly.

2. Removal of Contaminants
Before any protective coating can be applied, all contaminants must be removed--surface contaminants like grease and dirt, as well as rust, mildew, and paint. Grease and dirt can easily be removed with power washing. Rust, mildew, and paint can be removed using a steel brush and abrasives. You can do this yourself or hire a professional service.

3. Application of Protective Layer
Once you've removed the contaminants and let the building dry, you can apply a rust-inhibitive primer or finish and then a base coat or acrylic primer. Using a brush, roller, or paint sprayer, the process may involve several layers of coating to ensure protection. Again, you can do this yourself or hire a professional service.

4. Regular Maintenance
Steel buildings are far easier to maintain than wood-frame buildings, but still must be properly maintained to offer long-lasting performance and avoid corrosion. Periodic cleanings and inspections are needed. Monitoring of the roof sheets, gutters, and under-eave areas is advised as these areas are more susceptible to corrosion.

We hope these 4 points help you to make sure your steel frame building is safe from corrosion. If you have any questions or are interested in a new steel frame construction please feel free to contact us. Email us or give us a call at 603.926.4966.

5 Reasons to Choose Steel over Traditional Wood Frame Construction

Steel or wood, that is the question! When a company needs additional space to house employees or provide storage, the decision maker will wonder whether to go with a traditional wood frame or steel building contractor. Both are experienced. Both provide high-quality work. Following are 5 good reasons why steel wins out over wood.

1. Faster Construction Time
Steel frame buildings save between 30 and 50 percent of construction time compared to traditional wood frame construction. Because it is pre-engineered, a metal building can be manufactured and delivered to a job site very quickly. Steel buildings require less labor overall, which means lower costs than the labor required for traditional construction.

2. No Warping Like Wood
Wood warping costs the U.S. wood industry millions each year. Wood becomes warped when too much moisture enters the wood. In order to keep wood from warping, it must be kept in a low-humidity environment (55%) with good ventilation--not always easy to do.

Sometimes warped wood can be fixed, but it adds work--and costs--to the project. There is no warping issue with steel, which saves worry, time, and money.

3. Much Lower Maintenance Costs
Steel construction eliminates rot, mold, and structural deterioration due to aging, unlike wood. Steel does not shrink, split, or warp like wood and there are never any nail pops or drywall cracks to fix with steel. Steel framing performs better in high wind, rain, snow, and seismic activity--reducing potential costs for repairs or reconstruction.

4. Low Fire Hazard/Lower Insurance Costs
In a word, steel buildings are non-flammable. This means insurance costs will be much lower. The above-mentioned high performance of steel buildings in all types of weather and natural occurrences also serves to lower insurance costs with regard to the reduction in potential claims for injuries and for added costs of labor and materials for repair/reconstruction.

5. Resistance to Pests
According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Entomology, there are 17 wood-attacking insects. The best known of these are termites, carpenter ants, and powderpost beetles, all of which are difficult and costly to eradicate if they decide to invade your wood building. Steel buildings eliminate this concern entirely.

We hope these 5 points help you in making your steel vs. wood decision, but if you have any questions please feel free to email us or give us a call at 603.926.4966.

5 Things to Look For in Your Steel Building Quotation

The devil can be in the details of your steel building quote. To be sure nothing has been overlooked, look for these potentially hidden costs to be spelled out.

1. Does the quote include freight to your jobsite?

2. Does the quote include any applicable sales or usage tax?

3. Does the quote include all accessories such as preassembled pass doors with hardware, windows, framed openings for overhead doors and building insulation?
Energy codes have changed dramatically over the past few years; make sure the insulation meets current building codes.

4. Who is responsible for unloading the building upon delivery?
Often overlooked are things like equipment required and preparation to handle long sheets of roofing and wall panels.

5. Does the quote include all trims for the building?
Check for formed base trims, gutters and downspouts, eave and gable trims and snow protection.

These extra questions should give you peace of mind, but if you have any other questions about your quote, please feel free to email us or give us a call at 603.926.4966.

7 Things to Ask Your Steel Building Contractor

It's unfortunate, but people do get stung from time to time from shoddy, fly-by-night steel building contractors who may not be specialists in metal construction methods. These 7 questions will ensure you're covered.

1. Ask how long they have been in business and get the name of the Owner/President.

2. Request a minimum of 3 local references.

3. Look up the company online with your local Better Business Bureau.

4. Ask if the company performs the building erection themselves or do they subcontract the erection.

5. If they sub-out, ask if they will be able provide you the subcontractors certificate of insurance with you listed as the certificate holder.

6. Ask if they are licensed by the building manufacturer to ensure your warranty will be intact.

7. Inquire about their relationships with local building authorities, code administrators, concrete companies, electricians, plumbers, architects and engineers? This is very helpful during the building process.

These extra questions should give you peace of mind, but if you have any other questions about your contractor decision, please feel free to email us or give us a call at 603.926.4966.

8 Things to Ask When Designing a Steel Building

You've done your research and chosen a steel building contractor, but the bid needs refinement once your building is designed. Be sure you've got your bases covered by considering these key design questions.

  1. Is the building all steel?
    Steel is maintenance free, no wood rot, no termites, no nails backing out, no cracking or splitting and no fire hazard. For those reasons, most insurance rates are less for an all steel building vs. wood frame.
  2. Is the building designed with wooden truss or I-beam construction?
    I-beam construction means solid steel painted iron frame with solid steel columns, beams, roof purlins and wall girts. This means columns are generally spaced 25' - 30' apart, so you get more usable space and more flexibility to add windows and doors. Many truss buildings, on the other hand, come with wood purlins and wall girts. They may be a little cheaper, but don't offer the design flexibility and structural soundness of steel.
  3. What gauge is the wall and roof system?
    Buildings should have standard 24 gauge mechanically seamed roof systems with no exposed fasteners to elongate and leak. The best wall panels for most applications are 26 gauge Kynar 500 with fasters and self-sealing washers.
  4. Is the foundation design included?
    It may seem obvious, but this detail is often overlooked and becomes an added cost.
  5. Is the building certified?
    Buildings should be AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) or MBMA (Metal Building Manufacturing Association) Certified. It is often a requirement on many commercial and industrial projects.
  6. Does the building come with stamped engineered drawings?
    Buildings should come with a complete set of stamped engineered drawings and an anchor bolt layout plan. Anything less may be rejected by the building inspector and/or local zoning boards.
  7. Do the roof and wall panels have a warranty, too?
    In addition to the basic structure, be sure roof and wall panels also come with a minimum 25 year finish warranty backed by the building manufacturer.
  8. Does it meet the local building code?
    Live loads, snow loads, wind loads, and wind exposure ratings typically fall under local jurisdiction. Be sure your contractor has checked with your local city or town Building Inspector to verify that the code and loads will be acceptable to obtain a building permit and in some cases pass a building inspection.

These extra questions should give you peace of mind, but if you have any other questions about your design, please feel free to email us or give us a call at 603.926.4966.