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IS METAL JUST METAL?
(July 2005)

By Justin Farris, Capco Steel, Inc.

Metal construction dates back into the early part of the 20th century. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the automobile industry led the development with its use of structural members and metal panels for garages which were used to manufacture and assemble its products. During World War II the U.S. Government erected corrugated metal huts because they were easy to ship, and erect very quickly. Simple building designs became very popular over this period of time. In the 1950’s, new plant and office construction soared. Large companies were attracted to the economic advantages and rapid construction that the Metal building systems offered. In the 1960’s and 1970’s projects began to utilize better design, and aesthetics became a selling point for the industry. Some of the earliest self storage facilities began by being constructed with block walls and block or sheet rock partitions, and utilized built us roof systems with small metal swing doors. As time has passed, the use of metal building components has evolved and changed the self storage industry as a whole.

Today metal building construction accounts for more that 38% of all one and two story commercial (non-residential) projects in the construction market. Products and assemblies are used in government facilities, shopping centers, retail stores, office complexes, motels, aircraft hangers, arenas, self storage facilities, libraries, schools, and churches. Metal roofing and wall cladding is the most widely used basic component in the self storage industry today. Metal is a more economical method of construction when compared with other materials. Metal construction is faster, less expensive, and often requires less maintenance than other types of construction.
“IS METAL JUST METAL?”

There are many different applications for metal building components in the self storage industry. Self storage facilities can be constructed with a variety of design systems. Some typical systems would include load bearing, post and purlin, beam and purlin, clear span, rigid frame and/or a combination of one or more of these systems. These products can include either factory primed red iron or galvanized steel members. Many of these products and systems are an excellent choice to utilize for framing single or multi story project construction. These metal components work well in conjunction with many exterior finishes such as; block, EIFS (synthetic stucco), stucco, brick, concrete tilt wall, and metal wall cladding, to name a few. If you are considering use of these products for your facility it is important to check your suppliers or manufactures specifications to ensure the level of quality being provided. Some examples of the variances that can be seen in metal products are as follows; a particular specified gauge (thickness) of material has a range of tolerance and you want to know if your supplier is on the thin side or thick side of that tolerance. Paint finish systems can vary in quality and need to be thoroughly researched. Every city, county or province will have their own building codes or require a minimum code for buildings constructed in that area. It is important to ensure that your building supplier is designing and certifying the building to those minimum code standards. Metal comes in a variety of designs and choices. Most suppliers or manufactures use a minimum 55 KSI yield steel to meet the minimum engineering requirements. You will want to check with your supplier to ensure the yield strength of steel he or she may be using. The yield strength will affect cost and lower yield steel does not have the same strength capacity of higher yielding steel and therefore costs significantly less. One way that you can ensure that you are getting the proper type of steel is to request mill reports for the steel supplied. With mill reports you can ensure that you are getting first quality materials that are fully warranted and possess the required capacity. Metal members can take on a variety of differing sizes and shapes, which can result in many different types of framing methods. The project architect or engineer can be a valuable source to assist in determining the quality and applicability of the materials being proposed by the metal systems supplier.

Metal Exterior wall applications come in a variety of profiles which may be chosen based on preferences or specialized architectural needs. Shapes can be multi-rib with different spacing, smooth finish, embossed, textured, corrugated, colored and insulated. Metal wall panels can have a variety of finishes and colors. These can include pre-finished colors with paint systems of Kynar or Siliconized Polyester, applied over a galvanized or galvalume substructure. These different profiles, shapes and colors can give your building its own unique finish and look. Certain wall panels can be used for structural support of the building to achieve required engineering values. Wall cladding is the most economical product for exterior wall finishes and may be used in conjunction with block, EIFS, stucco, brick as well as other products to achieve architectural designs. Metal wall cladding is a very low maintenance product that last much longer than many other material choices.

A metal roof is one of the best investments for a self storage owner. These roofs come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. These systems can vary from a less expensive screw down roof up to a high end standing seam roof. There are different types of Standing Seam Roofs. One example of standing seam roofing is the vertical leg standing seam roof system which can either be a snap lock system or a field machine seamed application. These panels can provide you with an attractive aesthetic appearance while providing the strength of a structural panel. Another example of standing seam roofing is the trapezoidal structural standing seam roof which can also be a snap together system or a field seamed system. Both the trapezoidal and vertical standing seam panels are excellent products that provide different design options. Depending on the project location, different panel profiles can be used to meet different building code requirements.

Standing seam roofing may be installed over open frames or solid decking and may also be utilized for re-roof applications. You may have the option to use different clip systems as well to attach the roof to the sub-structure, ranging from utility clips to low or high fixed clips, floating or articulating clips. The differing applications determine which product or method is best utilized. It may be necessary to use a particular clip attachment system to provide for different thicknesses of insulation, or for thermal expansion and contraction, if required in the building roof design. At CAPCO STEEL we only provide products and systems where the materials provided are tested, designed and engineered to meet the requirements for your specific project.

Metal building roofs can be pre finished with a color, Galvalume, or Galvanized. The most common finish is Galvalume due to its performance as a roofing product. Galvalume has been available since the mid sixties and is a registered trademark of Bethlehem steel. Galvalume sheet steel enjoys the fastest growth rate of any steel product in the world. It has excellent long term durability and has been proven in testing to outlast G-90 Galvanized steel up to four times as long. Galvalume finish is primarily composed of 55% aluminum, 1.6% silicon and the balance zinc by weight of product. Galvalume provides excellent reflectivity and when properly combined with insulation can result in a cost effective, energy efficient roofing system.

It is important to know that your Building Supplier stands behind their product. Ask for a sample warranty and carefully read through it. Warranties can vary from one Building Supplier to another. In addition there are warranties for Galvaume and pre-painted products. Be sure to read the fine print and understand it. It is also wise to check references for your metal systems supplier and know how they perform in the process of supplying and/or erecting the building structures, as well as how they stand behind their work and take care of warranty issues.

In today’s market steel is more flexible than ever, and for the self storage industry it is the most economical and quickest method of construction. Developers and contractors are getting the best value using metal components for their building projects.

There are different methods of framing depending on your building design. There are numerous types and styles of wall cladding in price ranges that should suit your needs or meet architectural building requirements. There are many different roof choices, from screw down to varying levels of standing seam designs being utilized to meet individual’s needs from coast to coast. Metal framing systems are routinely being utilized on multi-story self storage facilities up to five stories in height. With this type of flexibility and product availability metal could be an excellent choice for your project. Is metal just metal? Not any more. It is a cost effective mature product, that when utilized by the proper people in the proper manner can help provide the best of all worlds

CAPCO Steel, Inc. specializes in the design, engineering, supply and erection of metal building systems for the self storage industry. Although based in San Antonio, Texas CAPCO Steel is licensed from coast to coast and has constructed hundreds of projects in 42 states, totaling in excess of 22 million square feet of self storage facilities. CAPCO Steel routinely supplies and erects self storage metal systems structures, roofs, partitions, metal wall cladding, canopies, specialty structures and products for projects ranging from simple single story and conversions up to highly complex 5 story structures. For an evaluation of your project or to discuss which products and systems will best suit your needs please feel free to contact CAPCO Steel at the information listed below.

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