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What Types of Steel Buildings are There?

Did you know that 50% or more of non-residential, low-rise buildings today are steel buildings? Steel buildings provide tons of benefits for those who need to build durable and sturdy commercial or residential structures. They are conveniently pre-engineered and ready to assemble. In addition, they are affordable, weather-resistant, expandable, and extremely versatile. But what types of steel buildings are there? Learn about different types of steel buildings, including common uses and types of roofing/structures.

Types of Steel Buildings: Uses

1. Agricultural Buildings

One of the most common uses of steel buildings is for agricultural needs. Farmers and ranchers are switching from using wooden pole barns to steel buildings because they are sturdier, more weather-resistant, and have longer lifespans. Steel buildings are perfect for agricultural needs because they help farmers store equipment and machinery, shelter livestock, and more. 

Some common types of agricultural steel buildings include:

  1. Barns
  2. Livestock shelters
  3. Horse stables
  4. Hay and crop sheds

Agricultural steel buildings can withstand the harshest weather conditions and prevent farmers from worrying about lightning damage, termites, water leakage, and other issues. They have by far the longest lifespan out of any outdoor agricultural structure.

2. Airplane hangars

Steel is commonly used to build airplane hangars because it is a resourceful and cost-efficient building material. Airplane hangars require tons of square footage as well as large entryways and doors. Using steel helps builders ensure an affordable building project, as well as ensuring the hangar will be built quickly and without draining resources. Additionally, steel buildings can be customized to install larger doors, energy efficiency, and more.

3. Industrial facilities and Warehouses

Other commercial buildings that require massive, cost-efficient space are industrial facilities and warehouses. Steel buildings are perfect for large-scale warehouse projects because they can be erected quickly, cater to wide open floor plans, while also cutting costs on labor and building parts. Plus, when increasing the square footage on your steel building project, the cost per square foot actually decreases which saves you a ton of money!

4. Workshops and Garages 

Whether you’re looking for a residential or commercial workshop or garage, using steel is the smartest plan. You can choose a steel storage container workshop or ground-level office if you need a smaller space. Or you can opt for a larger steel building if you need  commercial space or a larger garage. Some common types of workshop and garage spaces that steel buildings can accommodate are:

  • Residential detached garages/workshops
  • Sheds 
  • Mechanical shops
  • RV/boat storage space

Many homeowners are now putting up steel buildings on their property to accommodate their increasing storage demands at a low cost.

5. Churches and Worship Centers

Believe it or not, steel churches are popping up all over the world. Churches and other worship centers usually need larger congregational worship spaces as well as smaller meeting rooms. Like warehouses, steel buildings are perfect to accommodate this design. Plus, since steel buildings are sturdy and have long lifespans, church leaders can be sure their investment will last a long time.

6. Sports and Recreation Centers

Sports, fitness, and recreation centers also commonly utilize steel buildings. Gymnasiums are often open-air or require large open space with highly vaulted ceilings. Steel buildings are the best choice for this type of space! You will often see steel being used to build large university gymnasiums, gymnastic centers, ice rinks, indoor basketball courts, indoor pools, and much more!

7. Self-Storage Facilities

Chances are, you’ve either seen or used a self-storage facility before. As americans’ need for storage space increases, the self-storage industry is booming. People are flocking to self-storage facilities to store personal items temporarily or in the long-term. Steel is perfect for these facilities as it creates large, strong, and secure storage units as well as a large floor plan.

Types of Steel Buildings: Structure

Before buying a steel building, many people have questions about their structure and appearance. When speaking to a supplier, they may ask about your structural and roof preferences. There are 5 main types of structures for steel buildings to know about.


An arched a.k.a. Quonset hut is a steel building with a rounded roof. The main advantages of this type of steel building is its durable, affordability, and quick assembly. They use a self-supporting structure without interior columns, beams, or trusses. There are also half-circle quonsets with no roof peak and vertical side walls, or full-circle quonsets. 

Hangar, Hall, Round Arch, Garage, Aviation

These are typically used for:

  • Agricultural storage
  • Garages
  • Workshops
  • Gymnasiums
  • Other storage facilities 


red barn during daytime

The gambrel style steel building is a popular style due to its uniquely sloped roof. It uses a sloped roof with optional overhangs which makes it easy to be customized to your practical or aesthetic needs. For instance, choosing a gambrel style steel building can allow you to almost replicate the appearance of a traditional pole barn. You can also typically choose between different colored siding, windows, and more.

Gambrel style buildings are common for:

  • Agricultural barns
  • Residential homes
  • Garages or sheds
  • Workshops


white vehicle near tree

A gable style steel building has roofing that closely resembles a gambrel style building but has differently pitched sloped roofing. Usually, the gable style building consists of two vertical walls with two pitched, sloped parts that make up the roofing. Gable steel buildings are used for similar purposes as gambrel styles (they just look slightly different in appearance) - barns, homes, garages, sheds, and workshops.

Single Slope

A single slope steel building is structured differently than the rest because it uses a flat surface for its rooftop. Its single-sloped roof usually spans between a higher side wall and a lower wide wall. However, some single sloped roofs can be entirely flat. They use no internal posts which creates a large open internal space. You can usually customize the slope of the roof to your needs, as well as add overhangs and other add-ons. 

Single slope steel buildings are commonly used for:

  • Workshops
  • Garages
  • Sawmills
  • Homes
  • Cabins 

Learn More

To learn more about steel buildings, make sure to check out our blog on common misconceptions of steel buildings! We are also here to help you figure out cost and budgeting for building.

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Just answer a few questions and get matched to top suppliers near you.
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