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Metal Buildings vs. Traditional Construction: A Comparative Analysis

Metal Buildings vs. Traditional Construction: A Comparative Analysis

Are you torn between a traditional construction and a metal building? Whether for business or personal use, both options have pros and cons worth examining to understand how each can benefit you in terms of cost, longevity, long-term value, aesthetics, durability, and future expansions.

In this blog, we have put together this comparative analysis to help you weigh the unique benefits and disadvantages of each option and how they can impact the outcome of your project.


We understand that you want to keep the costs within your budget. Here’s what you can expect from a metal building versus traditional construction with wood, concrete, and other conventional materials:

  • Metal buildings: Metal buildings are more cost-effective and can reduce labor costs because we pre-fabricate and engineer them in-house. When you receive your steel building kit, it’s ready to assemble and erect. Plus, we use innovative, budget-friendly, and proven durable materials like steel.
  • Traditional construction: Building with traditional materials involves on-site assembly. This can get expensive due to the higher material and labor costs. Moreover, it makes the construction process more complex, which could lead to longer project timelines.

Building speed

Time is of the essence in every construction project, and you want to ensure your building is completed promptly. Here’s how a traditional building and a metal building stack up against each other in terms of construction speed:

  • Metal buildings: All components are prefabricated and pre-engineered for a smoother assembly process. This also shortens the construction timeline, so you can use your new building sooner.
  • Traditional buildings: On-site assembly and construction take time, with possible delays and safety risks because of bad weather and unforeseen circumstances.

Longevity and maintenance

As the owner, you want to ensure the building is long-lasting, safe, and easy to maintain. A metal building can resist many environmental factors, fire, and pests, making it more durable and low maintenance. At Armstrong Steel, we primarily use steel for our metal structures for optimum durability that makes you worry less about insect infestations, mold, and rot. Plus, we stand behind our work by providing a 50-year structural warranty, 35-year paint warranty, and 40-year roof warranty.

In contrast, traditional construction is high-maintenance, especially when made of wood, as this material is at risk of decay, insect damage, and rot. Moreover, take the time for structural repairs, repainting, and regular upkeep to keep the structure in good condition.


Let’s compare metal and traditional buildings in terms of customization:

  • Metal buildings: You get more options to customize the design, layout, and size of your metal building. It can be designed with few to no columns if you want an open floor plan. These buildings also come in clear-span or modular designs. Plus, the structure can accommodate all interior and exterior finishes and wall and roof materials. This means you won’t have to worry about the building looking too industrial.
  • Traditional buildings: Traditional construction also offers design flexibility that enables more customized layouts, unique finishes, and architectural features. However, this creative freedom comes with a hefty price.

Energy efficiency

Energy-efficient buildings can help you save money in the long run. Assuming your structure has the right insulation and energy-saving appliances and lights, it could help reduce your electricity bill by 50%. Plus, it ensures comfortable temperatures every season.

A metal building takes the guesswork out of insulation and other ways to reduce energy consumption. It insulates more effectively and is easy to configure with reflective roofing. And because it’s not prone to air leaks, they help maintain consistent indoor temperatures.

Traditional buildings can be made energy-efficient, but they require significant upgrades. Plus, adding insulation, upgrading electrical appliances, and applying weather-stripping on frames can be costly.

Fire resistance

Fire is among the biggest threats to any building, and you want to ensure your property can stand up to it. Thankfully, steel is non-combustible and inherently fire-resistant, ensuring your metal building won’t be susceptible to fire damage. This is also why insurance premiums for steel structures are much lower.

It’s a different scenario with traditional wood and concrete buildings because they are vulnerable to fire damage. This results in more safety concerns and higher insurance costs. You can add pressure treatment and other fire-resistant solutions, but this can be expensive.

Flexibility for future modifications and expansions

When comparing metal buildings to traditional construction, consider how easy it will be to expand and modify your property in the future. Metal structures have modular, clear-span layouts that make them more adaptable and flexible to allow vertical or horizontal extensions. Plus, you can do these expansions quickly and cost-effectively.

On the other hand, traditional buildings are more expensive and complex, typically involving redesigns and structural modifications. Plus, these renovations require additional permits.


Deciding between a traditional construction and a metal building is a big decision. However, we recommend the latter if you want a low-maintenance, cost-effective, fast, and budget-friendly option.

Talk to our building consultants here at Armstrong Steel to learn how you can benefit from our steel buildings. Call 1-800-345-4610 for a quote or to discuss your requirements with our experts. We will work with you to achieve the unique aesthetics and features you expect in your structure. Plus, discussing these needs with us can help you understand your budget and project so that you can make informed choices moving forward.