Metal Building vs. Wood: Which Is the Best Choice?

An image of wood and metal beams used in constructing buildings.

There are several considerations when deciding the best building materials for your construction needs, whether you are building a barn, RV storage, workshop, or garage. Steel and wood are the go-to options for most, but how do they play out against each other?

Both metal and wood have their fair share of ups and downsides, making them suitable for various projects. While wood can be more aesthetically appealing to many, steel is cheaper, more durable, resistant to the elements, and easier to maintain. Therefore, the ultimate decision relies on your personal preferences and your project’s specific needs.

We have compiled a list of metal building vs. wood features to help you choose a favorite, but if you are still undecided, we at Newmart Builders have you covered.

Metal Building vs. Wood Building Strength and Durability

Steel and wood are quality and long-lasting construction materials, but steel is more durable. Wood structures can last centuries with proper maintenance, but steel tops as an option that withstands the most punishing elements without as much maintenance.

Unlike wood, metal is fire-resistant and can brave insect damage and seismic activities. In contrast, wood is vulnerable to rotting, dampness, and insect infestation, regardless of being a sturdy material.

Metal vs. Wood: Which Has Better Aesthetics?

One of the impressive features of wood buildings is their visually appealing appearance. Thanks to the rustic look, they have a nostalgic feel that works perfectly for home landscaping. The traditional aesthetic also feels safe and more like home for most owners.

Steel also has a great look but offers a more modern appeal and can take various designs to appear more like wood construction. You can customize it by choosing several options to create the perfect structure. Since both have distinct appeals, the choice narrows down to your preferred design.

Steel vs. Wood Buildings Cost

Metal building vs. wood frame cost is a crucial factor to consider when picking the ideal material because you want to work within your budget. Builders conventionally don’t choose a wood frame building since it is more expensive than steel. Buying the material is more costly upfront, which isn’t ideal if you are on a budget. Therefore, wood may not be your go-to if you want an affordable alternative.

When choosing metal for your building material, you will have a less expensive upfront investment. Buying the material is less costly, which is ideal if you are on a tight budget. The costs over time will be even lower because you will likely experience less need for significant maintenance on a metal building.

Steel vs. Wood Maintenance

Every building needs proper care and maintenance to retain its fantastic look over the years. While wood is cheaper to acquire, it is more tasking to care for than metal building systems because it is less resistant to the elements and more prone to wear and tear.

Wood is vulnerable to insect infestation, dampness, and rotting; hence, it needs re-staining and painting or replacement in severe cases. These tasks are costly and require skilled workers to handle the job perfectly. Also, wood can undergo warping or cracking, lowering the construction’s appeal. On the other hand, a steel frame doesn’t need regular upkeep or replacement panels as often because it is more durable and weather resistant.

Steel vs. Wood Installation

Wood and metal go through distinct processing stages before they are ready to install. For wood structures, you first harvest the raw product, mill it, and then transport it to your project site, where the professionals will cut and design it to your preference.

Creating a pre-engineered steel building also occurs in a different area before they take it to its final destination. The main difference between the installation of the two materials is that a steel frame structure doesn’t need the same amount of skilled workers to install. Many highly skilled laborers and framers are needed to set up a wooden project.

Steel vs. Wood Environmental Impact

It can be challenging to determine the winner in environmental impact since both have positive and negative effects. For instance, wood causes deforestation, adversely affecting the ecosystem, but it is still renewable under sustainable harvest methods.

Besides, wood traps carbon, and the more trees people plant for their timber needs, the better it is for the environment. Steel creation may also negatively impact the environment, but it is eco-friendly since it is reusable. Therefore, a steel structure is energy efficient since you can reuse it for generations.

Which Is the Better Material? Metal or Wood?

Steel and wood are excellent building materials for all your projects, and if you are torn between the two, you can weigh their pros and cons to select your favorite. While wood is known for its rustic, traditional look, steel is a durable, affordable, and a low-maintenance option.

The decision is ultimately your preference and what you want in a construction material. If you want to build your own structure but need help figuring out where to start, you can contact us to help get started. At Newmart Builders, we have the experience and the knowledge to help you get the structure of your dreams!