There is no better way to get me on a highly-technical, detail exhaustive, way-too-long rant than to accidentally call my building “pre-engineered”, “red iron” or say that “They are all manufactured the same”. When I hear “red iron” I instantly start pontificating the virtues of galvanized steel over red iron. It’s a scene that ends with me closing the conversation with, “Oh geesh, I went on too long, sorry I just beat your ear down….”
On November 5th, 2015 I went into a deep dive on why my building cannot be defined as a pre-engineered in my blog post entitled “Is There Such a Thing as a Pre-Engineered Building Anymore?”. So, if you are interested in that topic, please feel free to look that post up on my Company’s website. Now let’s tackle the inaccuracies of saying all building are the same.
The term “red iron” gets in my craw just as much as the term “pre-engineered” and both for the same reason…it is such an inaccurate, cheap way to describe my building. The term “pre-engineered” is a dated phrase because, for all intents and purposes, no buildings are pre-engineered anymore. But, the term red iron can and does still apply to many buildings on the market today. I can even go so far as to say, that most steel buildings today are red iron. So, you would think this phrase wouldn’t bother me as much as an antiquated definition. But, the reason it does, is because my building in particular is not a red iron building at all. I do not like to be compared to something of far less value.
I was inspired to write this blog today because I participated in a meeting with an eight person Building Committee yesterday. They have been charged with obtaining the best, most cost-effective building for their County’s Historical Society. This is a lot of responsibility for this team of eight who have never built a steel building before. They had a ton of questions for me….a ton!
One of those questions was, “Why are you better than your competition?” My answer was direct, “I do not know who I am in competition with, but, I can tell you everything we do to our buildings to make them superior.”
In this meeting yesterday, when I was talking about what makes my building the best, including that it is not a red iron building, I realized I rarely get the opportunity to discuss the nitty-gritty details of my product. Because, although my building is superior in so many ways, rarely do I find a client who wants to talk about those details. They just assume all buildings are made the same and focus on price, time-line, colors, etc.
So, I want to take a minute and list out some of the important and often overlooked things we
do to every one of our buildings that make a huge difference in the overall quality and beauty:
- We do not ship a red iron building. The name “red iron” started because manufacturers would apply a light, red, oxide coating to the members of the building to protect it from rusting during shipping. That coating is only for shipping the building and not to prevent long term rusting. It’s properties are meant to evaporate. SOLID Steel does put on the red-oxide coating but, we go the extra step of applying an additional coating of gray primer on every I-beam. We do this to get the anti-rust benefits of the red-oxide coating but, we also choose to seal the coating in by placing an additional primer on top of it that does not evaporate like the red iron. Additionally, if a client wants to paint his I-beams for aesthetic reasons the beams are primed in preparation for the paint, eliminating a step for the GC or end-user business owner.
- All of our screws are stainless steel screws. They will never rust or oxidize. This is important to the long-term structural integrity of your investment but, it is also vital to your rust warranty and paint warranty. If any of that black oxidizing gunk drips onto your panels in a rainstorm (and it absolutely will), you void your paint and rust warranty. You must only have stainless steel screws.
- We only use PBR panels. Most companies sell R panels. Customers only look at the gauge of the wall and roof sheeting and think that is comparing apples to apples but it isn’t. The PBR panel’s secret is an extra lip on the edge that provides superior overlap between panels and seals out the elements. Most companies sell R panels exclusively. You do not want R-panels! R-panels have a flimsy connection to each other, resulting in the paneling bowing, canning, buckling, smashing under the weight of a little snow, etc.
- We only use 26-gauge steel on the roof and wall sheeting, unless we use an even thicker gauge of steel like 24-gauge or 22-gauge. We would never use anything lighter than 26-gauge. A lot of companies use the lighter 29-gauge steel. Please do not ever invest in a building that has 29-gauge roof or wall sheeting; you will be so disappointed in what happens to the sheeting in less than 6 months to a year. The panels will start to bow in and look horrible. And once the panels bow, it allows room for insects, rodents, dirt, rain, snow, wind, etc. to get inside your building. Can you imagine being inside your new, beautiful building that you dreamed of having for years and then the wind blows and you feel it on your back inside your building? Invest in nothing less than 26-gauge.
- Our commercial trim package is exhaustive and included standard. Do you know most steel building companies list out “includes trim package” on their quotes and then ship the base trim only? We ship trim wherever there is a transition in the sheeting, wherever the sheeting starts and ends, trim for all overhead doors and walk-doors, wainscot trim, eave trim, gable trim, corner trim, cover trim, base trim (with a drip edge so the water drips away from the building and not into the building), rake trim, etc. I can keep listing out all the types of trim we ship with every building but, here is the bottom-line… We make your building beautiful by supplying all the trim on the building so you are left with a finished, polished, professional-looking building.
- We use AZ-55 galvalume panels. This is the highest percentage of aluminum you can get on the sheeting to avoid rust. We send that out on every building we sell. Most companies supply an AZ-50 or lower.
- All of our secondary framing is hot-dipped galvanized steel. We provide a lifetime warranty that those members will never rust. The secondary framing usually makes up over 50% of the steel on your building so that is a huge warranty compared to most building that ship red iron secondary framing that does not provide any warranty with it at all.
- Our base angle is also hot-dipped galvanized steel AND it is also 16-gauge steel which is 60% stronger than the typical 20-gauge base angle. This is so important because that base angle member is supporting the bottom of the sheeting. This is where snow and dirt build up and push against the base of the building. This is definitely want to have heavier, stronger, steel supporting the base of the building.
- Our warranties are the best in the industry with a 50-year structure warranty on the framing, 25 years against rust, 30 to 40 years on the paint against chipping, chalking, peeling and fading.
- Our Standing Seam Roofs are the 360 degree seams, which means you get a complete seam seal. Some S.S.R.’s only have one seam. We do 3 seams for total and complete protection in your roof.
I don’t get to talk about the quality of my building verses the competition very often but, I really enjoy it because not all buildings are engineered and manufactured the same. And the difference really does show itself in the appearance and performance of the building in the end.
Please be careful and ask your building Rep a lot of questions about every detail of your building. Ask for pictures, diagrams, lists, etc. Get as much information as possible before you commit to any building. Good luck with your Steel Building Investment!