They’re all alike, right? All the wood and steel hybrid building companies offer pretty much the same thing, but with different branding.
Are we about to diss our competitors? Absolutely not. What we will do here is point out some very important considerations you should keep in mind as you shop for a wood and steel hybrid building. We’d challenge you to hold us to those same considerations.
An Unbeatable Combination
We’ve talked about the benefits of wood and steel hybrid buildings before (The Dynamic Duo: Why Wood And Steel Hybrid Buildings Are The Way To Go). In a nutshell, building with a combination of wood and steel gives you the best of both materials. You get both strength from steel trusses and flexibility from edge mounted wood studs. The materials can cost less than traditional construction, and you can do most of it yourself. Here’s what to look for as you shop for a hybrid building kit.
- Wood where it counts. Using wood where possible is a potent energy saver. Wood doesn’t conduct heat or cold the way that steel does. You’ll realize a savings there.
- Where wood and steel meet. Look for kits that offer attachment clips that are either easy to assemble, or are already integrated into the prefabricated truss leg and roof pieces.
- You want a window…where? Pay attention to how the manufacturer approaches openings for doors and windows. If you want a window where it wasn’t planned, you might not be getting that window after all.
- You’re not reinventing the wheel. Look for designs that put purlins and girts at 12” centers. It’ll help you finish the interior of your hybrid metal building without having to retrofit support for elements that have been designed to fit traditional construction – such as insulation, doors, and even windows.
- A screw loose. Pay attention to how the company attaches their steel sheeting. How will that work with expansion and contraction of steel sheets? It’ll only be a matter of time before you’ll find leaks if the fasteners have poor washers as seals or aren’t design to hold properly.
- Hybrid masquerade. Other companies will tout a wood and steel hybrid building, but often the wood is an afterthought that’s inserted wherever it’ll work within an existing all-steel plan. Wood is your friend. It’s easier to find carpenters to help you work with the wood elements than it’ll be to find professionals who can work with steel.
- Room for wiggle. The beauty of most wood and steel hybrid building kits is they’re pre-engineered so you actually can do most of the construction yourself. Beware, though of kits that don’t offer the option of modification when you order it. The manufacturer should be capable of incorporating your reasonable modification requests into the kit as it’s prepared for delivery. It’s the pre-engineering that dramatically reduces the price, but you shouldn’t have to settle with a building kit that offers no design flexibility.
- Pass or fail? Building codes are being revised to accommodate for higher load tables because of stronger wind and heaver snowfalls. Your sales representative should offer assistance, but the responsibility of making sure your building kit meets or exceeds local building codes falls directly on you. Go directly to your local source for these codes and have the most recent issue in your possession before you even start shopping. There’s a possibility that some manufacturers aren’t even going to be able to meet the codes in force for your geographical area. You want to know that upfront. The time to find out is not when the local inspector tells you that your brand new building isn’t up to code.
- Concrete not included. Huh? What part of a wood and steel hybrid building is concrete? Your DIY building has steel clear span trusses designed to sit on and be attached to a concrete floor. In most cases, you’ll need anchor bolts encased in the cement floor (or they can be drilled after the fact in a lot of areas). This often is not part of the package from the steel building manufacturer as it makes sense to included them in your foundation budget. Make sure you budget for the expense either way. While concrete should be designed based on local code requirements and are generally not recommended by the steel truss supplier, you’ll still want to look for a company that’s sold enough of the building packages to talk comfortably and openly about putting their product on an appropriately locally prepared concrete floor.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you continue your search for the perfect hybrid building and be sure to ask us at Miracle Truss® Buildings should you need any clarifications or assistance with planning your build. Our quotes and building information – just like the advice you’ve just read – is free.