Steel Purlins: What You Should Know

Have you ever looked up at the interior of a steel structure and wondered: “what are those bars supporting the roof called?” Well, if you have, then you’ve come to the right article to find your answer.

The answer to this question, of course, is the title of this blog: purlins. A crucial component of most building structures, purlins are what – literally – keep the roof over your head. They are an important part of most building structures and are a mark of quality when it comes to steel building structures.

This article will help you understand the role purlins play in the integrity of your steel building structure, so you can make a more informed purchasing decision for your next building. Proper structural integrity and load support is key to the longevity of a building, and to the safety of a building’s occupants. Understanding whether your building requires purlins, what material they should be made of, and what shape they should take, are all questions you should have the answer to before building a new structure – so let’s dive in!

What are Purlins?

Found in most large structures, purlins are the horizontal beams that provide structural support to a building by helping to pass roof loads to other major structural elements. In other words, they support the weight of the metal sheeting, plyboard, wooden panels, and other materials that comprise the surface of a roof, and anything else that might be built up on top of a roof (e.g., snow, water, building accessories, etc.).

While it can vary from structure to structure, purlins typically help spread the load of a roof to other structural elements like building walls, rafters, or metal support beams. This helps to diffuse the weight of a building’s roof across the entire surface and to multiple components of the building, rather than having the majority of the roof’s load be concentrated on just the walls, just the rafters, etc. Purlins are essentially necessary components for a quality building; regardless of whether your structure is made from wood, steel, or some other material, purlins are a critical part of any structure’s roof. How many purlins a roof has, and the thickness or depth varies depending on the loadings for that building.

Purlins take on a number of forms and are typically classified according to their shape, the material they are made of, and their intended use.

We’ll discuss the different purlin shapes in a moment, but when it comes to material there’s no question that steel purlins are the preferred choice by the construction industry. Unlike wood, steel purlins will not rot, they are not affected by water and moisture, and their expansion and contraction in different climates is minimal. These are all weaknesses of wooden purlins, and ones which can seriously hinder the structural integrity of the roof and, indeed, of the structure itself.

Steel purlins are typically made from cold-formed steel. As opposed to working with hot metal, cold-formed steel is made by rolling and pressing thin sheets of steel into the desired shape. Cold-formed steel is stronger than hot-formed steel and easier to work with. After the forming of the steel it is then dipped in molten zinc in a process known as galvanizing. Galvanizing coats the steel in zinc which protects the steel from harsh environments and corrosion. Galvanized steel can often be identified by its ‘spangle’, a crystalized pattern on its surface.

Purlins make up the secondary support system in the framing along with their horizontal counter parts, girts. Girts and purlins run in between the primary framing much like cross beams in a wooden structure. The purpose of the secondary structural supports is to distribute loads onto the primary framing and foundation. The secondary framing is also used to attach wall cladding and the roof.

Why Purlins Are Used in Metal Buildings

While we now understand what purlins are, we want to reinforce the reasons why they are used. Purlins add to the structural integrity of a building’s roof by running perpendicular to the rafter beams (see adjacent image).
Building schematic showing the placement of rafters vs purlins

So why are purlins used in metal buildings? There are 3 structural functions provided by purlins for metal roofing.

  • Purlins tie the rafters together, which stabilizes and reinforces the frame.
  • Purlins provide additional support between the spans of the separate framing bays,
  • Purlins improve the roof’s resistance to excessive rain, snowfall, and any other temporary loads that might be exerted on the roof.

Spacing, Spans and Laps

Before installing purlins, there are three terms you should familiarize yourself with: purlin spacing, purlin span, and purlin laps. Let’s define and examine each of these below:

Diagram showing the location of purlin spans, spacing, and slope

Purlin spacing: this refers to the amount of space between each purlin as you move down the side of the roof. Purlin sections assume the slope of the roof they are supporting, but the number of purlins and space between each one will be determined by the size, weight, and other factors of your specific building.

Purlin span: the span is the distance between the centre of the bolts on each end of each individual purlin. Importantly, the span does not refer to the length from one end of the roof to the other, but the length between ends of a single purlin. Almost certainly, the width of your roof will require multiple purlins (and multiple spans) to fully support, which is where laps come in.

Purlin laps: this refers to the overlap between individual purlins. When a structure is very wide, it may be necessary for multiple purlins  to overlap one another. The general recommendation for purlin laps is that they should make up 15% of the span. At the midway point between each lap (i.e., 7.5% of the span) the two purlins should be bolted to the primary structure.

Understanding these three terms can help you to better understand how purlins should be properly installed on the roof of your steel building.

What Are the Different Types of Purlins?

We know that steel as a material is a better pick when it comes to important structural elements of a building, like purlins, but let’s also examine the different options that exist for purlin shape.

Profile of a C-Shaped Purlin

C-Shaped Purlins:

As the name implies, C-shaped purlins take the shape of the letter C and are used to reinforce the structural integrity of the roofing system. In some construction projects, c-shaped purlins can be used as support beams in the flooring system, but for the purposes of pre-engineered steel building constructions they are exclusively used in the roofing system.

C-shaped purlins come in a variety of lengths, and thickness, so they can really be designed to fit any requirement you might need. However, C-shaped purlins aren’t quite as sturdy as the next kind of purlin we’ll look at. As a result, C-shaped purlins are typically used in smaller structures and building projects.

Z-Shaped Purlins:

Thanks to their shape, Z-shaped purlins are stronger than C-shaped purlins. The Z-shape of these purlins allows them to overlap at the joint, which provides more support than what the C-shaped purlins are capable of. Z-purlins are used to support the roofing of larger buildings because of their strength and support. This type of purlin sits between the building and the roofing sheets, behaving like the sheet support to make sure it’s attached firmly and securely.
Profile of a Z-Shaped Purlin

Like C-shaped purlins, Z-shaped purlins can be manufactured to meet nearly any length or thickness requirement. C- and Z-shaped purlins also come pre-drilled and ready to use, making them even easier to install.

Handling and Storage

Before your building arrives it’s important to consider where on-site your purlins will be stored. Purlins should be stored in a dry place as to prevent water from sitting on in them. Water getting in between closely stacked purlins could potentially lead to premature corrosion and delay building schedules. Once you are ready to start attaching your purlins its crucial to remember not to cut or change the purlins during the assembly of your structure. Purlins are made specifically with the structure and potential load bearing of the structure in mind. Cutting or changing the purlins could compromise the structural integrity of them and decrease the functionality of the secondary framing system.

Purlins are installed horizontally under metal roofs and are installed much like metal roofing. Purlins should be bolted on as welding is not recommended in the assembly of Purlins. Welding can affect the cold-formed steel, add stress connection, and damage the protective coating on the steel leading to premature corrosion and the deminished durability of the steel.

5 Strengths of Steel Purlin Roofing

By now you should have a clear understanding of what purlins are, and why they’re so integral to a well-designed and built structure. Before you go though, let’s quickly examine the top 5 reasons steel purlins are a no-brainer for your next building project:

Ideal for Different Structures

You already know that purlins can be used for all types of structures, meaning they are appropriate for almost any building project. For example, pre-engineered buildings are incredibly popular options for both professionals and amateur do-it-yourself builders. Steel purlins can easily be pre-cut, and pre-drilled before they arrive at your build site, making them an ideal choice for customers looking to buy a prefab steel building kit. Steel purlins are easy to prepare ahead of time, so your steel building kit will come with purlins ready to be installed!

Provide Roofing Support

One more time – purlins literally help keep the roof over your head. Every building needs a roof, and purlins are an integral component of a quality roofing build. A quality roof keeps the building safe from weather conditions, impacts, improves insulation and prevents moisture from entering the building. A high-quality structure requires proper support and steel purlins provide support that lasts for decades.


Unlike wooden structural components, steel components – including purlins – are not combustible. Steel does not ignite or burn, which gives it a massive leg-up in terms of safety over similar wooden components. God forbid, if there were ever an emergency concerning a fire in or around the building, steel purlins (along with other steel building components) would not catch fire and would instead help contain or slow down the blaze.


Steel purlins’ light weight makes them incredibly easy to handle and assemble. The innovative design of purlins (particularly in their Z-shaped form) means that the purlins themselves can be very thin and lightweight, without sacrificing on the strength of the purlin support itself. In addition, because these components are thin, it means less steel material is required to form them, which translates to cost savings for the end customer.


As mentioned earlier, steel purlins can last for decades and decades. As a construction material, steel has an incredibly long lifespan, easily lasting upwards of 50 years with occasional maintenance. Steel purlins are no different, and because they aren’t directly exposed to the elements, very little maintenance of the purlins themselves is required.

Keep the Roof Over Your Head!

Well, there you have it – you’re a purlin expert! By now you should understand what purlins are, why they’re crucial to the structural integrity of a building, and some of the most common forms that purlins take.

If you’re considering a new building construction, you’ll want a construction partner in your corner. Norsteel Buildings has been providing quality steel buildings to our clients for nearly thirty years. When you partner with us, you are assigned a steel building expert who acts as your personal building consultant and resource. If you have any questions about a steel building project, don’t hesitate to reach out to us using the form here, or give us a call at 1-866-971-7575!

An Update on the Changing Price and Availability of Steel

Last Updated: October 15, 2021

Like many other building materials, steel is experiencing an ongoing period of fluctuation in price and availability. In an ongoing effort to keep our customers informed of recent market changes, we will be keeping this webpage up to date as any new developments arise.

If you have any questions or concerns about a potential or ongoing building project with Norsteel Buildings, please reach out to us directly and we will provide more details.

What is Causing the Price of Steel to Rise?

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, steel mills around the world temporarily shut down production. At the time, many were expecting the economy to head into a recession or even a global economic depression, so production was tempered in expectation of this.

However, the drop-off in demand that many predicted never came. Instead, as millions around the world were forced to stay indoors many took to upgrading their homes. Funds that once would have been spent on travel and entertainment were instead funneled into new vehicles, barbecues, refrigerators, and other steel-heavy products like pre-engineered garages and workshops.

This temporary halt in production coupled with the increased demand for steel products caught the entire industry off-guard. As a result, since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 the price of steel has been steadily increasing; the benchmark price of steel has risen a staggering 215% since the beginning of the pandemic.

What is Causing Delays?

There are three main factors contributing to the lengthening of steel building project timelines, all of which stem from a lack of supply: supply chain shortages, logistics and transportation shortages, and labour shortages.

Supply Chain

  • Particular metal alloys – specifically G30 secondary material – have been in short supply and mills have placed customers on allocation. Norsteel is working with multiple suppliers to minimize the impact of this supply shortage. 
  • Galvalume® panel material – which is used for roofing – has been in particularly short supply across the industry as suppliers are facing record demand.
  • Painted material and primer paint supply is limited as our suppliers experience key ingredient shortages. These shortages have led to missed/late shipments which in turn impacts our project timelines. Norsteel is working with multiple suppliers to reduce the impact of this shortage, and many of our suppliers are investigating alternative paint systems and ingredients.
  • Liquid oxygen and argon gases are both used in the plasma cutting process for steel components. Across the entirety of the economy, liquid oxygen supplies are being redirected from industrial use to hospitals for medical use in the treatment of COVID-19. In addition, Hurricane Ida has damaged argon gas production facilities along the Gulf Coast, which is causing a slowdown in production.


  • Norsteel’s fleet of delivery vehicles continue to operate effectively and on-time, but some of our suppliers are facing issues related to logistics. Driver availability, limited supply of trucks, and last-minute carrier cancellations and/or driver no-shows is impacting our suppliers’ ability to deliver materials on time.


  • Many steel manufacturers around the globe are experiencing higher absenteeism because of COVID-19. This, combined with high demand for workers across the economy, is impacting many manufacturers’ ability to maximize their effective output of steel components.

What This Means for You

We are currently helping customers plan for mid-2022 building deliveries. If your building is a something you need to have in 2022, you absolutely should be purchasing a building now.

This is not a sales tactic; it is the current reality of the industry.

We recommend that you reach out to us as soon as possible and begin speaking with one of our Building Consultants. We will provide your engineered drawings now so that you obtain building permits in a timely manner that will not hinder the construction phase of your project next year. We are also advising our customers to prepare their foundations now so their buildings can be assembled as soon as they arrive.

Regardless of what stage your project is in, we assure you that our team is working tirelessly to find you the best solution, the best pricing, and the best delivery times possible

  • If you are considering a purchase, please make sure you are speaking with one of our expert Building Consultants regularly to check the status of your building quotation. Depending on how long ago you received your quote, the cost of your project may have changed.
  • If you have already purchased a Norsteel Building, depending on the complexity of your project, it could take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to receive your engineered drawings. Our EasyBuild structures are the exception with permit drawings available in 2 weeks’ time. Regarding delivery times, please keep in contact with your Norsteel Consultant for up-to-date information.

Norsteel’s Commitment

At Norsteel, we are working tirelessly to keep our customers and contacts up to date on the changing market conditions. We have already provided four updates via email but moving forward we will also update this article with any new information that becomes available.

Again, please reach out to us directly at (866) 971-7575 if you have any questions or concerns. Norsteel has several manufacturing plants at our disposal, and our team will work with you to minimize costs and timeline impacts as a result of these broader market circumstances.

A DIY Guide to Install Insulation for Steel Buildings

Steel has fast become the preferred building material of choice because of its many advantages like cost-effectiveness and versatility. Because of that, many steel buildings are being fitted with all the finishes found in traditional structures. 

One such essential is insulation.

If you’re wondering what the best insulation for steel buildings is, we’ve got you. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about insulation for steel buildings.

The Importance of Insulation for Steel Buildings

Many have debated the importance of insulating steel buildings. However, in most cases, insulating your steel building has several benefits you just can’t ignore. These are benefits like:

  • Reduces condensation
  • Reduces energy costs
  • Improves temperature regulation
  • Better acoustics

As you can see, insulation is no longer an option if you want to get the best out of your steel building. It’s a necessity.

Insulation Options for Steel Buildings

When it comes to insulating your steel building, you have a couple of options. These vary in the material used as well as the method used to insulate. 

Blanket Insulation

Blanket insulation, also called batting or fiberglass sheets, is another steel building insulation option you should consider. The “blanket” consists of mineral fibers of rock wool or processed fiberglass. This is processed into a roll that is used to line the face of the building. However, make sure to install it carefully for full effectiveness and durability. To do this, you must use a strong adhesive to secure the sheets to your building.

One of the major advantages of this type of steel building insulation is that it’s inexpensive. It’s also widely available at virtually any big box store, making it popular for DIYers and a feature on most job sites.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation for steel buildings is the best option if your building has obstacles or has hard-to-reach gaps and holes. This is because you can easily spray it onto the surfaces you want to apply it on. The caveat is that it’s also one of the hardest types of insulation to remove. It’s also one of the most expensive.

Foam insulation is one of the best insulation for steel buildings in cold, dusty, or damp environments as it does an excellent job of protecting the inside of the building from external elements. 

Loose Filling Insulation

Loose filling insulation is a great solution for odd spaces that are too tight to fill with regular rolls or panels. However, it will sag over time and can absorb moisture which may lead to mold growth. The trick is to know where the best place for this type of insulation is.

Rigid Board Insulation

Rigid board insulation is one of the more expensive but effective insulation options for steel buildings. It’s particularly suited for buildings with flat roofs. Panels are easy to erect and they are designed to block heat or cold effectively. The only caveat to rigid board insulation is that it requires professionals to install it.

Tips to Ensure a Successful DIY Insulation

If you’re planning on insulating your steel building on your own, there are a few things you must take note of.

Determine the R-value and Understand Insulation Ratings

All the insulation options for steel buildings mentioned above have different ratings that make them suitable for different climatic conditions. One of the most important is the R-value. The term “R-value” may sound intimidating, but it just describes thermal resistance. This is the ability of the insulation to maintain constant temperatures despite external climatic factors. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation material works.

Choose the Right Insulation and Follow Instructions Closely

The right insulation for your steel building is determined by the size and design of your building as well as the climatic conditions of your area. For example

  • If your building has hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, foam is the best option as you can effectively fill these without having to physically reach them. 
  • If you’re in a place that’s humid or experiences a lot of moisture, fiberglass options like blanket insulation aren’t the best. They’re easily destroyed by moisture.

To get the best out of your insulation, you must closely follow the instructions for your insulation type of choice.

Insulation for Steel Buildings — An Essential You Can’t Ignore

Weighing the initial cost of construction against long-term energy efficiency is crucial when deciding which insulation type will best suit your steel building or metal home. The decision may not be as simple as it seems at first glance. But understanding how an efficient form of insulation can save you in utility costs over time could make all the difference.

Whether you’ve already built your steel building or are still in the planning stages, consider working with Norsteel for your steel building. We’ll help you get the best out of your building.

6 Fun Uses of DIY Steel Building Kits

Steel building kits are a great way to save money and have some fun in the process. DIY metal buildings can be used for many purposes, from small steel sheds to large prefab metal buildings that can be customized to fit your needs. Whether you want it for storage or as a workshop, there is an option out there for you!

Read on to learn about five DIY metal building kit projects that you and the whole family can enjoy.

1. Build an Entertainment Room For Your Family

Interior of a steel prefab recreational building

You can easily build an entertainment room for your family with our steel frame garage building kit. This is a DIY project that can be completed in less than two days.

The kit includes the following: steel frame/ribs, roof panels, and joists, metal plates for walls, bolts/nuts, and screws. We even offer optional insulation add-ons for all of our kits, so you can create the interior of your dreams!

Once the garage is complete, add a pool table, a flat-screen TV, or even a mini-golf course that the whole family can enjoy.

2. Build a Home For Your Dogs or Pets

If you’re looking for a DIY project that will keep your pup or cat entertained, our metal building kits are the perfect solution.

Let your pets roam around in their own living space with access to a backyard – indoor and outdoor living space for pets! Plus, try adding enrichment items such as kennels, ramps, and even cat trees.

Your pets will love their brand new DIY steel building and you’ll love how easy our buildings are to assemble.

3. Build Your Own Shower House

If you’re looking for a way to spend less time standing in line at your local gym or YMCA, this is the perfect DIY project! You can create a makeshift shower house by attaching one of our metal building kits to another steel structure such as a patio or deck.

This is a great way to save money on gym memberships, as well as make your outdoor space more functional!

The DIY metal building kits are easy enough for beginners and can be completed within just one weekend.

4. Build a Playhouse For Your Kids

Don’t just build any playhouse – build one with an industrial edge to it! Our DIY steel frame garage kit can be used to create a playhouse and is perfect for any little one’s imagination.

You can use either a small steel building or a prefab metal building kit to build a DIY playhouse. Once it’s built with one of our optional insulation packages, install drywall and paint. Then it’s simply a matter of decorating with pillows, blankets, their favorite toys, and whatever else their hearts desire!

Plus, if you’re looking for more outdoor space, you can use this DIY steel frame garage kit as a summer hang-out and have fun with your family on those warm weekend nights.

5. Build a Small Steel Building For Added Storage

If you need a small steel building but don’t have the space for an existing metal structure, there is always DIY. Building your own DIY steel shed can be accomplished by purchasing a prefabricated kit, which are easy to assemble with basic tools.

A metal building kit prefabricated metal shed is the perfect storage solution for those who have limited space on their property, or want an outdoor storage unit they don’t need to drive to.

It is also a great way to use up floor space for an individual who has just moved.

6. Build a Steel Frame Garage For Cars or Projects

A prefab garage constructed from DIY metal buildings kits can be used as storage or even as a workshop. The steel frame garage is a DIY project that can be done with low to no tools and minimal construction know-how in just one day.

If you need extra space for your cars, or simply want a place to work on personal projects, a DIY steel frame garage offers a great solution.

Buy Your DIY Steel Building Kit Today!

Now that you have some exciting ideas for your DIY metal building kits, it’s time to put your plans in action!

Our DIY steel building kits are affordable, easy to install, and can be used in a variety of ways.

DIY steel building or metal shed kit can be assembled in a day with the help of a few friends. These buildings are a great investment for homeowners who need additional space but don’t want to build an entire garage from scratch. Plus, your DIY steel building requires few, if any permits to be installed.

Don’t wait another day to get started on this DIY metal building project! Check out our line of DIY steel building kits today!

The Building Timeline of Most Do-It-Yourself Metal Building Kits

Are you considering building a metal prefabricated structure? Here’s what to expect when using a do-it-yourself metal building kit.

What to Expect When Building Metal Prefab Structure

Before construction commences, you ought to understand the scope of the project. The size of the construction will considerably determine the complexity of your build. You can use a small metal building kit for faster and cost-effective deployment of the structure. Here is an outline of what to expect from the process:

Time and Labor Commitments

A prefabricated build can be an intensive and time-consuming process. The time and labor requirements of the project depend on the type of DIY metal building kit you are using.

Conventional buildings take longer than prefab buildings. Erecting traditional structures is not as straightforward as with DIY metal building plans.

A traditional construction project typically requires putting together different parts of the building over an extended period of time. Managing this drawn out workflow can be overwhelming. There are usually many different parts, originating from different locations, arriving at different times of the project, all that you have to coordinate to prevent costly mistakes.

Like seasoned construction managers, you have to work in phases to avoid mishaps during construction. You can benchmark the progress of the project at any point during the construction.

Project Management and Timeline Estimation

You can categorize the process of putting up a metal building into three phases. The first involves putting up the trusses and columns for support. In the second phase, you’ll focus on completing and assessing the sturdiness of the main frame. And the final stage involves placing metal sheets in your prefab building.

Contrary to misconceptions, almost half of the time spent on the project will be on the last phase. Many enthusiasts assume that the most challenging phase is putting up the columns.

While putting up trusses and columns can be complicated, a lot can go wrong during the last stage of your project. The final phase is an intricate process requiring a series of panels to complete the structure.

Planning is essential for sheeting the structure to save time and to minimize the risk of redoing the work. But despite the construction challenges, there are a variety of sheeting profiles for cladding and finishing applications. You can choose colors to mimic other materials, such as wood and plastic. The versatility of the finish is ideal for home offices, storage rooms, eateries, and restaurants, among other applications.

Utilizing Do-It-Yourself Metal Building Kits

One of the benefits of using do-it-yourself building kits is that it saves time and labor. The prefab steel building kit is delivered complete with support trusses and columns.

You do not need sophisticated tools for your DIY building projects. The manufacturers can deliver the kit with holes for fasteners and bolts. You will get a guide with numbers corresponding to different sections of the structure.

Building kit manufacturers perform extensive checks to ensure the building is sturdy and durable. The design of the parts is as per your local building codes.

Why Use Steel Prefab Buildings

Steel is the most common choice for metal prefab buildings. The material is lightweight, making it easy and fast to assemble.

Steel has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it suitable for many residential and industrial applications. You can disassemble the structure and move it to another location.

A wooden structure would be much more expensive to construct. Acquiring the materials for the project can take time. The delays imply that you’ll be generating leasing and warehousing costs. With steel buildings, you don’t have to worry about materials lying around. 

Another advantage of steel structures is that they require less maintenance than other materials. Wood and concrete require a lot more care than metal prefab structures. That makes steel buildings an even more cost-effective option.

Professional Assistance During the Design Customization

Whether you are building extra storage or a home office, you may need to adjust parts of the structure. Fortunately, steel is versatile and flexible enough to accommodate most changes.

Steel kit buildings do not require an inner column. The absence of such obstructions, common in conventional buildings, allows you to optimize interior space. You can incorporate extensions into the structure in case you need to expand in the future.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to work alone through the design and construction process. You can consult experienced engineering experts to tailor the project to your needs.


The time and resources a metal building requires mostly depend on the size of the project. The smaller the construction, the easier it is to erect the structure. Steel is versatile and does not require inner columns. Steel simplifies the building process and allows for adjustments. If you want a custom design, we recommend working with a designer from the first phase. Visit our website to work with Norsteel for your steel building!

7 Ways to Customize Your Steel Garage Kits

A custom steel garage kit offers homeowners, commercial business owners, mechanics, auto enthusiasts and gearheads the chance to create a space that truly fits their needs, whatever those might be.

Because steel is incredibly durable, malleable and adaptable, it’s the perfect material for garage construction. Plus, steel is 100% recyclable and can easily be modified, updated or reshaped over time.

When looking for your next project or workspace, steel is the way to go. And you can make it custom with Norsteel Buildings. Here are seven options for additional customizations you might want to consider:

1. Roofing

Roofs offer the height, spaciousness and protection from the elements you need, and there are several options on the table.

Standard roofs usually have horizontal sheeting that goes in the direction of the corrugation and have rounded corners. This is the most common default option.

There’s also an A frame style that looks more like the roof of a home. The corners are typically boxed and you may wish to include an overhang of awning near the front entrance. With the additional triangular height, you can also include vents or windows between your roof and door.

Another popular choice is a vertical roof, which, as its name implies, has sheeting running vertical. A vertical roof is often better in areas where there is heavy rain, snow or debris. The ridge cap at the peak of the roof helps keep the elements out and allows them to drain right off the building using gravity.

2. Siding

The siding of your building really comes down to the preference of horizontal or vertical corrugation, similar to roofing. A steel garage kit with vertical siding will handle debris better, which means it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often.

3. Size/Measurements

Of course, the size of your building and its dimensions are totally up to you. A one-car garage will be cheaper than a multi-car building, and if you intend to house heavy equipment you’ll need additional height. 

Based on the position in which your building is oriented and how much equipment you intend to store, you might need additional gravel or pavement entry and exit points.

4. Doors

Your steel garage will have several points of entry, and each of these might require a different door type.

A traditional walk door often appears on the side of the building. Additionally, you can feature several rollup overhead doors in the front and back to allow large machinery and vehicles to enter and exit.

Your doors can also be customized to include horizontal window panels or even angular shapes beyond a conventional rectangle.

5. Windows

The placement and purpose of windows can be customized when fabricating your steel garage kit. A few considerations that often come into play are:

  • How many windows do I want/need?
  • Where should windows ideally be located throughout the building?
  • Are there safety measures to account for so that toxic fumes are able to be appropriately ventilated in a confined space?
  • Are windows cosmetic or functional to a given need?
  • How private/secure do I want my steel building to be?
  • Will a window obstruct a cable or column?
  • Will windows be insulated or have screens?
  • Will they be tinted or tempered?
  • Will they slide horizontally or vertically?

6. Skylights

Windows in the roof of your building can help with ventilation, increase visibility and bring in some rays from the outdoors. In buildings that are jam-packed and with limited window or door options, a skylight can give the impression of more depth and space.

7. Add-Ons

There are plenty of additional features you can tack on to your steel garage kit, now or in the future. 

Some of the more common add-ons we see are:

  • Fire resistance and insulation materials for harsh weather and disaster prevention.
  • Surveillance and alarm systems, including CCTV, motion-sensored lights and keypads.
  • Climate-controlled features for ventilation, heat and cool air.

Because steel is so versatile, it’s easy for customers to purchase a simple setup one day and then slowly add more customizations over time.

Contact Norsteel Today!

Ready to tackle your next steel building project? Norsteel buildings can provide you with custom steel garage kit prices and help you select a design that meets your needs, today and tomorrow.
Work with Norsteel for your steel building. Request a quote today!

An Overview of Metal Building Insulation

If you’re thinking about insulating your metal building or structure, there are a few factors to consider. You know you want to keep the cool air in during the summer, and the warm air in during the winter, but what kind of insulation should you use? Do you need a vapour barrier? And just what is an R-value?

Norsteel has enlisted the help of metal building insulation-expert, Robert Tiffin, National Accounts Manager for the industry-leading insulation manufacturer Silvercote, to help describe some of the common forms of metal building insulation. Continue reading below for an overview of everything you need to know when it comes to insulating your metal building.

What is Insulation?

Insulation is any material used to cover, line, or separate which also prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound. There are many types of insulation available on the market, but depending on your local energy codes and the intended use of your structure, you may be forced to use a particular form of insulation.

There are four main types of insulation used in metal building structures:

  • Glass wool (aka Fiberglass);
  • Mineral wool;
  • Spray foam (check with metal building manufacturer on whether your structure can accommodate this form of insulation);
  • Polyisocyanurate (sometimes called “Poly-iso”) rigid board insulation.
Fiberglass insulation with a foil facing.

As mentioned, depending on compliance requirements in your specific climate zone, municipal or regional codes may call for combinations of insulation products including faced glass wool and poly-iso rigid board. If the use of rigid board is cost-prohibitive there are alternative assemblies which meet the requirements of the standard/code.

What is Facing?

Put simply, facings are barriers which are attached to insulation to protect the surface of the insulation, hold it together, or act as a vapour retarder (see image above of fiberglass insulation with a foil facing).

Most commonly however, manufacturers attach a facing to act as a vapour barrier and/or air barrier. Facings are engineered to protect insulation from physical abuse, control moisture migration, and where necessary to meet fire codes and standards. Vapour retarders can be composed of vinyl, polypropylene, polyethylene, foil, or metalized polyester.

Why Insulate My Metal Building?

In simple terms, insulating your metal building will help keep the heated interior space warmer in the winter, and air-conditioned spaces cooler in the summer. Regardless of where you live, if you plan on using your metal building for human occupancy of any kind, it is generally recommended that you insulate your strcuture.

Here are just a few potential benefits that come from insulating your metal building:

  • Insulation reduces energy costs (in a conditioned building);
  • Insulation prevents moisture condensation. When temperature and dew-point are at the right combination, you will have condensation build up on your building’s roof and walls. This could result in water raining down in your building;
  • Insulation helps with acoustical performance, reducing noise levels. Most forms of insulation have acoustical and sound absorption properties which reduce interior reverberations and prevent transmission from exterior;
  • Insulation helps maximize your return on investment (ROI). The insulation acts as a barrier between metals, that in the presence of condensation could otherwise lead to rusting.
Mineral wool insulation.
Spray foam insulation.
Poly-iso board insulation.

Oh, and What is an R-Value?

R-value refers to the ability of the insulation to resist thermal transmission (conductive heat flow). The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

Single and multi-layer faced and unfaced cavity fill glass wool is the most typical seen in conventional construction. (R2.9 – R3.8 per inch (25.4 mm)). By far the most common type of insulation sold for prefab Steel building systems, is fiberglass laminated blanket insulation. Easy to install and cost effective, blanket insulation is available in several R-Values for both roof and walls.

Mineral wool is primarily composed of basalt (volcanic/igneous rock), and commonly used in fire-rated wall assemblies.  It has a higher R-value per inch than glass wool. (R3.0 – R3.3 per inch (25.4 mm)).

Poly-Iso board has a high R-value per inch so is good for use when needing a consistent, uncompressed or continuous insulation where limited space is available. (R6.2 per inch (25.4 mm)).

Spray foam insulation materials can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured. Foam-in-place insulation is blown into wall cavities to insulate and reduce air leakage. Some installations can yield a higher R-value than traditional insulation for the same thickness, and can fill even the smallest cavities, creating an effective air barrier. (R3.6 – R4.3 per inch (25.4 mm)).

Speak with your metal building manufacturer for their recommendations, as factors such as energy codes, cost, installation techniques should all be considered before making your decision.

Contact Norsteel Today!

Today’s Pre-engineered steel buildings are energy efficient by design, engineering and construction. They are used for a multitude of unlimited purposes. This dictates that every prefab metal building system has individual requirements in terms of insulation. Pre-engineered metal buildings are compatible with several insulation options. All of these increase thermal efficiency and provide sound resistance.

Whether you are only interested in accounting for condensation, or whether you are heating a retail outlet or restaurant; it is important to discuss your heating and cooling requirements with your Norsteel Building consultant so that you can explore all the options available to you.

If you’re considering insulating your metal building, you need a team of experts who can help navigate functionality, costs, and local building requirements. When you engage Norsteel we become your partner throughout the entire construction process. Click here to contact us today for a free, no obligation quote on your next building project!

The Complete Guide to Steel Building Foundation Design

Before the 18th century, there were two types of metals that were commonly used. These were wrought iron and cast iron. Though steel was available, it was recognized as a premium material which was very expensive.

However, at the beginning of the 18th century, people realized the strength and cost-effectiveness of using steel for construction. The whole world seized this as an opportunity to use steel as an optimal material for building.

The Complete Guide to Steel Building Foundation Design

It is not surprising today that steel is widely used as the core material when building foundation design. Steel building foundation designs provide quick construction and cost savings. They allow endless possibilities for customization. 

These customizations of steel building provide unique benefits to every industry-specific purpose. Below-mentioned are the guidelines that can help you to customize your steel building design options.


When it comes to sizes, there are no standard sizes for steel or metal buildings. You can design every steel building as per your preferences and choices. To know how much square footage of steel you will need, you will have to simply measure it.

Take your time and measure all the aspects that would be a part of the building. This includes measuring the equipment, machine, and office space you will need. When you do this with precision, you will be able to build a building wherein everything fits spaciously.


There are many suppliers of steel in the steel building industry. Whereas most buyers focus on buying material that is the cheapest, that might not work well for the steel foundation types that last long.

Comparing prices is of course vital as you want to ensure that you are getting a fair market value. However, choosing the cheapest material is not a good option. When the quality is sub-standard or compromised, the building will not be durable.


Steel or metal buildings are usually low-rise and can be used for building one or two-story buildings. Though the standard range for steel building height is 40’, it can at times go even higher. Many city laws give clearances when you want the building to be higher.

The metal building foundation details will require additional planning if you want to construct higher buildings. When considering the height of the building, you should determine how you plan to use the building in the present as well as if any expansions will be needed in the future.

Window, Lighting, and Doors

As with any type of structure, steel building foundation design should include adequate ways of lighting. To be able to easily perform the tasks that your building is built for, there should be the correct number of windows and light fixtures.

When you install properly insulated windows, it can help to reduce utility costs. This is because such windows can help provide proper ventilation and natural light. A steel building can easily be customized to install windows anywhere.

As for the doors, your steel building foundation design should include them in a sensible and convenient location. You will need to put doors in for entry and exit as well as for emergency exit.

Weather Proofing

Inspect the local weather conditions around your steel building design. If the weather conditions are too unpredictable, then you will have to prepare in advance to accommodate them. The same goes if the prospective area is often prone to natural disasters. 

If heavy rainfall is often expected, then you will need to add an extra layer of weatherproofing. To withstand hurricanes and earthquakes, appropriate changes to the base foundation structure will need to be considered. Fire exits and safety equipment should be made ready if the area is prone to wildfires.

Get Started with Professionals

Start with planning out your steel building foundation design. Plan out every small detail from the size, to height, to lighting to resistance. Once you have laid out a comprehensive plan, you will know what steel material you need to match your preferences. 

Now that you know what you want, Work with Norsteel for your steel building to get help from an experienced and professional team that can make your plan a reality.  By planning your design ahead of time, you will be able to discuss the future look of your building in-depth.

If you already have it ready and are now looking for a trustworthy and experienced company to supply you with steel material, then don’t delay! Work with Norsteel. 

With knowledge of many building types and their construction, their team will be able to help you with every step of your project. Right from the design finalization phase to the final construction.

Why Steel is the Best Construction Material for Warehouses

Steel is far and away the most popular building material for industrial buildings, including warehouses. A study from the UK found that more than 95% of new industrial and warehouse building constructions utilized steel framing.

“But why is steel one of the most popular materials for the construction of industrial buildings and warehouses?” you might ask. The answer is clear when we consider the benefits that steel offers over other building materials.

In terms of durability, cost, security, and customization, there is no better material for your warehouse or industrial building than steel. This blog will examine a few of these benefits in detail, and demonstrate why steel continues to be the #1 preferred material for commercial and industrial building construction:

Steel Warehouse Cost

As a building material, steel offers premium quality at an affordable price, especially when it comes to large projects like the construction of industrial complexes and warehouses.

How much do steel warehouses cost? Well, like any construction project the price depends on a number of factors like building size, location, and features.

But, when we consider the price of a steel warehouse vs. a wood-framed warehouse, for example, steel is often a fraction of the price when we consider the short-term and long-term costs. These are just a few of the factors that affect the cost of steel warehouse construction:

  • Pre-engineering: Since the materials are pre-measured and cut, it allows a faster build process from start to finish. Constructing a steel warehouse is a streamlined project because the materials are prepared ahead of time and delivered to the job site ready to be constructed. This can drastically reduce construction time which, in turn, results in a lower project cost and gets your operation up and running faster.
  • Labour: The pre-fabrication of the building kit helps to cut down on labour costs significantly. Timelines can be reduced by as much as 50% compared to other types of warehouse construction. When it comes to private contractors, time is money. When your building’s steel frame, walls, and roof, are pre-measured and cut, this reduces the amount of time it will take a crew to construct your building.
  • Maintenance: Not only do you need to look at the initial costs for construction, but it’s also important to note the ongoing maintenance costs of steel buildings. A steel warehouse is low-maintenance, which means that you can avoid expensive costs in the future. Over the lifetime of your steel building savings on maintenance can add up to tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Other cost savings, such as reduced insurance premiums thanks to the security and resistance to weather damage of steel, should also be accounted for. The same can be said for materials or equipment which are stored inside the warehouse; thanks to the durability and security features associated with steel buildings, whatever you store in the warehouse will be safe and insulated from the elements.

Steel Warehouse Longevity

When making an investment in something as expensive as a new industrial building, the structure should be made of materials that will last for decades to come. With proper construction and maintenance, steel buildings can easily last 50 years or more.

Steel buildings are resistant to many of the common issues that threaten the durability and longevity of buildings. For example, steel is a more robust solution if you are looking to reduce the risk of natural threats, including fire, mold, rot, pests, heavy snow, earthquakes, and strong winds. On the rare occasion that superstorms move through the area, steel warehouses tend to be the last buildings standing.

Longevity is a priority when investing a large sum of money into building construction. Steel is a clear choice if you are looking for something that will hold up against the elements and last for years to come.

Steel Warehouse Customizability

When it comes to warehouses, it is a common misconception that every building is the same with few, if any options to alter the building’s appearance or structure. The truth is that steel warehouses allow for full customization of the look and layout of your structure. You can fully customize the design of your steel warehouse to meet the unique needs of your operation (e.g., office space, or smaller private rooms built into the interior of your buildings). And, as your business grows, you also have the option to expand steel buildings to match your growing needs.

There are also nearly no space limitations for a steel building design. You can choose a size that provides plenty of space for all of your equipment and inventory needs. High ceilings also allow optimal use of space, with options for mezzanine floors and towering inventory storage.

Steel Warehouse Span

Do you need a clear span, with a wide space free of posts, columns, and load-bearing poles? As opposed to wood-framed buildings which require frequent posts and columns, steel buildings allow for much larger open spaces on the inside. So, a steel warehouse is an excellent option for industrial applications and warehouses requiring sizable equipment and machinery inside. This is partly what makes steel the material of choice for airplanes hangars and sports venues, both of which require large open spaces.

The fewer columns and support beams you have, the more you can maximize the use of floor space. It’s also easier to navigate vehicles and equipment within an open warehouse, improving the efficiency of day-to-day activities. As inventory and equipment needs change, the spacious flooring and tall ceilings accommodate easy adaptations inside. Plus, extra-wide openings allow quick access when moving inventory and machinery on or off the site.

Advantages of Pre-engineered Steel Buildings - Low Maintenance Warehouse

Steel Warehouse Security

The contents inside your metal warehouse are critical for the livelihood of your business. The building acts as a layer of protection to avoid damage and theft of inventory, helping to reduce the risk of harm or loss to your company. Steel buildings are inherently secure, and additional security features are always available for custom installation.

Additionally, steel warehouses can accommodate personalized security, such as CCTV cameras. Since the inside of the warehouse is open and expansive, the maximum field of view is available without columns blocking sightlines.

Quality Steel Warehouses from a Trusted Provider

If you are looking for your next steel warehouse, then Norsteel Buildings has you covered! We offer prefabricated and customized steel building packages and will work with you to ensure your building design matches your organization’s specific needs.

If you’d like to learn more about available products and services, then feel free to contact us at your convenience. We’re here to answer your questions and help select the optimal steel building design for you: 1-866-971-7575.

How Long Do Steel Buildings Last?

Did you know that buildings have a “life expectancy?” If you are going to build a new structure on your property, then make sure that you are investing in a design and the right type of materials that will stand the test of time. Whether it’s a small shed or large manufacturing plant, the building must hold up against weather conditions and other factors that can cause wear and tear.

Why bother putting time and money into the construction of a building if it will only last a few years? During the design process, evaluate how the building will be used which will help you determine the right materials to ensure steel building longevity.

Your choice of materials is one of the key factors that will affect the lifespan of the building. As you are finalizing design details, compare the durability and maintenance requirements for steel buildings, plastic sheds, wood buildings, and more.

Longevity of Steel Buildings

How long do steel buildings last? A well-built structure with quality materials can easily last more than 50 years, depending on the use of the building over time. If you want to ensure the lifespan of the building, then it’s essential to choose quality materials that withstand seasonal damage.

Steel is an excellent choice for building materials if quality and durability are your priority. But, not all steel buildings are created equal. Consider these factors that can affect how long steel buildings last:

  • Design: A well-built steel building helps to minimize wear and tear. For example, when the building includes features that manage water flow and protect the building joints, it’s likely that the steel building will have a longer lifespan compared to a building with poor design. How long do prefab buildings last? With a good design, they can hold up just as long as a custom-designed building.
  • Use: If you are rough on the building, you can expect wear and tear to show more quickly. Manufacturing with chemicals inside the building can take a toll over time because of the corrosion that can affect the steel. However, if you’re only using your steel building as a storage shed, for example, your building will last longer than manufacturing buildings because there isn’t as much wear on the steel.
  • Location: Local climate patterns can affect the durability of the building. For example, areas with heavy snowfall require extra maintenance because of the weight of the snow on the roof. Also, steel frame buildings in coastal climates can wear out more quickly because of the air’s humidity and salt. Heavy industrialization in the area can take a toll on the building due to the high levels of pollutants in the air.
  • Maintenance: Steel doesn’t require a lot of care compared to other building materials. But it’s important to stay consistent with occasional maintenance-related tasks to extend the life of the building. Without occasional cleaning, maintenance, and repair work, damage to the building can occur because of rust, mold, and corrosion.

The optimal approach to ensure the durability of your building is to talk to a steel building expert about your goals. Our team can provide recommendations to ensure that your new building performs as needed.

How to Maintain a Steel Building

Inspect the building regularly to identify areas that require maintenance or repair work. Maintenance requirements vary depending on location because seasonal changes can play a role in the building’s durability. Consider these common recommendations for steel building maintenance:

  • Wall Pressure: Find anything that might be touching the walls of the building. You want to avoid unnecessary weight that might strain the building, such as equipment leaning against the wall.
  • Wall Contact: Avoiding undue contact is essential to prevent water from staying on the surface of steel buildings. Moisture is one of the most significant vulnerabilities that threaten the durability of the steel. Clean up the landscaping and other things that are coming in contact with the steel building.
Advantages of Pre-engineered Steel Buildings - Continuous Savings
  • Roof Limitations: Know the roof limitations so you know when snow needs to be cleared. If you think that the roof is reaching the weight threshold because of accumulated snow, then have a plan in place to clear the snow safely. It’s a good idea to check the roof during the warmer months as well because a buildup of muck and leaves in the rain gutters can cause undue wear and tear.
  • Regular Cleaning: Avoid rust and corrosion on steel buildings by cleaning off the grime and dirt that accumulates. Washing the steel panels regularly will keep the materials in top-notch condition. You can buy industrial cleaners designed for steel buildings or create a homemade solution using water and ammonia. Steel buildings should be cleaned every few months, inside and out. Ideally, your building should be washed a minimum of once a year to remove substances that could cause harm to the building.
  • Fresh Paint: One way to protect the building is by adding a fresh coat of paint. After the steel panels are washed thoroughly, add a quality exterior paint to act as an extra layer of protection against the weather elements.
  • Repair Work: Scratches and scuffs might seem like minor issues, but these points of damage can become weak points in the building. When the damage is continuously exposed to the weather, it can lead to corrosion and rust. Buff out the marks and be proactive about repairing any areas of damage.

Minor problems can start creeping in, which is why you need to be proactive with repairs and maintenance. These seemingly small tasks can go a long way to add years to the life of your building.

Steel Building Warranty

When you choose quality building materials, you can know that the building will stand firm for many years. Many manufacturers of steel buildings offer solid warranty coverage, including 40- and even 50-year structural warranties (depending on the type of building you construct).

This written guarantee ensures that if anything goes wrong with the materials, then repair or replacement is offered within a specific timeframe. Keep in mind that the warranty doesn’t necessarily last for the lifetime of the product and won’t cover every issue. Read about the available warranty when deciding on the type of steel building you’d like to construct.

At Norsteel Buildings, we’re committed to providing our clients with the best solutions in the steel building industry. If you’d like to learn more, then contact us to talk to an industry expert. We pair you with a building consultant for personalized recommendations about the specific products and materials that will best suit your needs. We’re proud to be a leader in the steel building industry: 1-866-971-7575.