Farmers typically opt for the standard wood-frame buildings because at the outset, the initial costs of wood buildings seem lower than their steel counterparts. But more and more, farmers are realizing that over time, the cost of maintaining a wood building far exceeds the up-front cost of low-maintenance, durable and long-lasting steel buildings. Over the past decade, steel buildings have become the new standard for farmers storing equipment, livestock and other materials, because settling for wood buildings will leave you to deal with ongoing, expensive and time-consuming maintenance to repair damage caused by pests, deteriorating and rotting wood from water damage and moisture, and damage from fires and bad weather. So let’s take a look at these issues one by one and show you why steel is the best option for your next structure.
here are various types of insects that can damage wood, and sometimes that damage can go unnoticed until it is too late. For example, termites bore tunnels through wood by chewing and digesting it, but the damage is not immediately evident on the surface of the wood. A bit of prodding with a screwdriver will unearth large, hidden sections of destroyed wood. But termites aren’t the only issue. Carpenter ants are attracted to rotting wood, and powderpost beetles will lay their eggs on top of wood surfaces, where their larvae are left to hatch and will proceed to devour the wood panels that are the walls and ceilings of your wooden structures. Preventing these infestations is difficult, and repairing the damage can be costly.
Dry rot occurs when certain fungi, which only require a minimal amount of moisture, oxygen and warmth to thrive, land on your structure and begin to digest wood. This causes the wood to lose strength and stiffness, ultimately requiring you to replace entire sections of paneling, and in some cases, even requiring you to replace entire structures in the event of rot-caused collapse. An outbreak of dry-rot can be incredibly difficult to eliminate.
Fire and Weather
The most obvious concern with wood buildings is fire, and it is a concern that simply does not exist with a steel building. So if you think wood structures save money, ask yourself what the cost of losing a structure and everything you keep inside of it would be. Chances are that with a wood building, a fire will leave you with nothing.
Wood structures are also vulnerable to damage from high winds and heavy rains, which often create leaks that gradually deteriorate wood walls and roofs. Again, this is another issue you can avoid by investing in steel.
It is also worth noting that steel buildings lower insurance costs when compared with wood for all of the reasons discussed above. Plus, steel buildings maximize available space due to their lack of poles and columns, which in wood buildings are necessary to support the frame. Steel buildings can also be easily expanded when space runs low, adding a layer of flexibility that can save money in the future.