According to construction historians, metal buildings began to appear in England around 1796 as an alternative to timber. Whether the idea was borne of wanting to save lumber or metal gained popularity due to the material’s ability to resist fire, factory owners were the first to employ metal construction as a solution to the trauma associated with cotton mills that routinely caught fire, causing death and financial losses.
By the 19th century, architects and builders began to use metal to frame up all sorts of buildings, but this came at a steep price–until the advent of rolled iron beams revolutionized the use of metal as a construction material.
The Cooper Union Building in New York City was the first structure built using rolled iron beams in 1859, but a newer, better material replaced iron when Henry Bessemer invented steel.
By 1917, pre-engineered metal buildings had begun to pop up throughout the nation. For anyone eager to own one, a design could be picked from The Austin Company’s catalog and the abode was shipped directly to homeowners within weeks.
Innovators saw in steel an ideal material to construct buildings fast, which is how steel airplane hangars and Quonset Hut housing units became an American staple during World War II.
Today’s metal homes, barns and shops are trendy and affordable, which makes them very popular.
In this article we’ll examine how much a metal house costs along with other topics such as insurance, some pros and cons of metal homes etc so keep reading to find all details below:
Table Of Contents
Cost of building a regular family metal home
On average, The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) estimates that the average cost of building a metal home comes to around $360k, but don’t be alarmed.
This guestimate includes construction, land and finishing, which means that if you live in the right area and aren’t planning to build a mansion, you could build a 40- x 60-square foot metal home for between $5,000 and $30,000, according to NAHB (this price is for the house skeleton, that is walls, floor, roof etc).
But that spread doesn’t take into account the cost of building a more extravagant abode, say folks at GreenBuildingElements.com. In their expert opinion and based on the company’s construction records, you can expect to expend these amounts to get the metal home of your dreams:
- –Site work that includes permits; design; planning and inspections: $15,903
- -Foundation components: excavation; concrete foundation; retaining wall; backfill: $25,671
- -Framing costs that include beams; sheathing and trusses at $41,123
- -Exterior finishes encompassing walls; roofing; windows and doors: $33,066
- -Major systems that include HVAC; plumbing and electrical: $32,746
- -Interiors: drywall; insulation; flooring; painting; appliances; accessories: $67,939
- -Exterior costs: Landscaping; driveways and outbuildings: $16,591
- -Miscellaneous; material cost changes and unplanned extras: $4,722.
Cost of building a metal barn house
We’d like to introduce you to the name that is being given to these structures since their popularity has skyrocketed: Metal barn houses are now called barndominiums and since the term has been coined, it has attracted potential buyers in droves.
Why are people interested in building barndominiums? Because they solve so many living space dilemmas, they’re charming, affordable and can be used for myriad purposes (both as living space and also as an attached barn).
You call the shots when it comes to purpose: use these metal buildings to store vehicles, allocate space to farm machines or turn them into storage units that can be used to do everything from create a library or germinate seeds.
Because these buildings have a charming look, barndominiums have become stylish if not trendy places to live, but like other metal buildings described here, the cost to own one is all over the map.
According to the folks at BarndominiumLife.com, the average 2020 structure will cost you between $95 and $125 per square foot, but because they are becoming more popular, prices are expected to come down, say builders.
Barndominium homes have lots of extras you may not expect: granite countertops, glass doors and designer windows, at a projected building cost of $220,000.
Obviously, price is again impacted by the size of the structure, which tends to run between 900 square feet and an impressive 2600 square feet. Look for larger units as the barndominium continues to attract home shoppers.
Cost of building a metal shop house
What’s a metal shop house? According to industry professionals at the EPS Building Company, this style of housing pairs a home with a shop, and it matters not what function that shop serves.
The EPS folks call this multi-use building a “Shouse,” and the range of building styles that encompass this category is surprisingly expansive, as you can see by visiting the site.
Contemporary Quonset huts have been growing in popularity because there is nothing simpler than the arching shape of this basic building.
Some of these metal shop houses are made from a single sheet of steel that is molded to fit the size of the concrete foundation that is poured to maintain the structure and then an interior build-out apportions rooms so walls are straight.
Given the relative ease with which one of these can be erected, expect to spend between $13 and $15 per square foot to build one.
Rigid frame metal shop houses, on the other hand, are single span buildings that deliver what’s called “clear-span interior space,” so unless you add decorative beams or columns, this finished structure is free of architectural supports.
Engineering is the key to this type of building which is “pinned down and resistant to weight from at least one direction,” say metal building pros.
Extremely stable, versatile and a way to get the most amount of interior space, these structures run between $13 and $18 per square feet to build.
Home Insurance for metal residences
According to Metal Building Manufacturing Association (MBMA), it’s often assumed that insurance costs associated with metal buildings are inexpensive, but that assumption would be wrong because like other types of houses, cost of insurance is based on more than one factor.
For starters, there are 6 classes of metal structures that are recognized by the insurance industry:
- Frame (Class 1);
- Joisted masonry (Class 2);
- Noncombustible (Class 3);
- Masonry Noncombustible (Class 4);
- Modified fire-restrictive (Class 5) and
- Fire-restrictive (Class 8).
These classifications were determined by the ISO and “insurance pricing is typically based on building class rates,” according to MBMB.
On average, buildings larger than 1,500 square feet receive general ratings from insurers who apply credits and charges based on occupancy characteristics.
“Costs are the calculated loss per $100 of insured building value and are generated by ISO from their database of premiums and losses.” State and regional factors plus historic losses also impact the amount of coverage and premium paid by home occupants.
Which class costs the least to insure? Class 8; the home that is classified as “fire-restrictive.” will have the cheapest insurance cost.
How versatile are metal homes?
One glance at the slide show depicting myriad styles of metal houses, barndominiums and metal shop houses on Pinterest gives you a fascinating look at just how far your imagination can take you when you’re ready to turn your dream of a metal residence into reality.
But with so much variety out there, which style is right for you? Bridger Steel makes it easy for clients to consider design options when deciding to build a metal house, be that structure made entirely of metal or just partially. Here are their options:
- -Consider a charming rustic home that blends in to the landscape and environment
- -Go modern by incorporating metals with glass to open space and bring the outdoors in
- -Achieve a mountain vibe reminiscent of alpine vistas and cozy cabins
- -Stipulate a metal house that emulates the look of homes found on farms and ranches
- -Easily create an industrial look by using metal for walls, doors and everything else.
- -Opt for a log cabin constructed of metal, stone and logs, if that’s your dream.
- -In other words, there is no limit to the number of styles from which you can choose when you build with metal these days.
Pros and Cons of Building Metal Homes
Pros of Metal Houses
- -Metal homes are infinitely customizable
- -Get the house you like at a price you can afford
- -Metal structures are easy to upgrade
- -This material is sturdy and strong
- -Construct your home to meet class 8 standards and insurance won’t be expensive
- -Metal home builders offer minimum 20-year warranties on new homes
- -Many builders offer environmentally-friendly steel
- -Steel houses tend to stay well insulated during weather extremes.
Cons of Metal Houses
- -You could have trouble finding a contractor skilled at building this type of home
- -It may take extra time to plan and build, say folks who have been there and done that
- -You might need to put down more money upfront to launch your building project
- -If you build in humid climates, the steel could corrode or rust
- -You’ll spend more money to periodically rust- and corrode-proof your exterior
- -Some metals may cost more than traditional building materials
- -Not necessarily the best material for multi-story structures.
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