If a new garage is in your future, which is the better choice, pre-engineered steel or traditional wood-frame construction?

We base our buying decisions on value. Pricing is only one of the many significant considerations informing us of our decision’s worth. Ongoing maintenance, durability, sustainability, and construction time can be equally critical to your value equation.

Seneca Metal Barn Vertical

The Cost

When considering a new garage, you want to look at the cost per square foot. Steel buildings usually cost between $10 and $25 per square foot but can be as low as $6 per square foot to over $100, depending on amenities and options. 

Wood-frame construction will cost between $35 to $60 per square foot. However, lumber costs have been quite volatile for the last several years, and according to a 2022 lumber price forecast, lumber prices will probably rise again in 2023. 

Time Is Money

Some items like site preparation, the foundation, compliance with local zoning requirements, and obtaining the appropriate permits are common to both construction models. However, these items will be less challenging with a pre-engineered steel structure.

You may need the services of an architect and a structural engineer before you can even begin a wood-frame project — all of which you avoid with a quality steel garage, saving time and money.

Traditional wood-frame construction requires a crew of experienced workers to be on-site measuring, cutting, and fabricating your new garage from raw lumber. Virtually all this work takes place on your property daily throughout the process.

All of this activity and noise can have a significant impact on your family and daily routines. And you are paying dearly for the experience.

Opting for a pre-engineered steel structure means a smaller crew can assemble your new garage in a couple of days.

Virtually all of the fabrication takes place before any material arrives on your property. The pros at Bargain Barns have all the experience, tools, and data to design, engineer, and produce the necessary components in our controlled facilities.

Choosing a metal building substantially reduces on-site activities and construction time. You will also experience much less waste with a steel building (approximately 2%) than with the typical on-site wood-frame project (roughly 20%).

With a pre-engineered steel garage from Bargain Barns, you save dollars with a quicker build and less waste.

Maintenance and the Elements

You are likely familiar with the cost and substantial maintenance that wood-frame structures require over time. Wood, while widely available and easy to work with, is also susceptible to damage from the environment and countless pests.

Wooden structures require regular and ongoing maintenance, like painting every 5 to 7 years. The roofs of these structures often need emergency repairs, and routine maintenance is a given. Also, you can plan on replacing your roof in a matter of years.

The roof of your steel garage will generally be steel as well, requiring little ongoing maintenance and virtually never needing replacement.

Your entire structure shares the same durability as your steel roof. The material itself is pest proof and resistant to the elements. We apply specialized coatings to protect your steel structure further. All you need to do is inspect your building annually for potential issues or damage and avoid letting organic debris build up on the surface.

You can learn more about maintaining your metal building here.

Unlike wood, steel will not rot, termites and carpenter ants will not eat steel, and neither will any of the invasive pests that threaten wooden structures.

Your steel garage can be engineered to withstand extreme wind, moisture, earthquakes, and other weather and environmental concerns common to your region.

Steel Is a Sustainable Product

Steel is the most recycled material on earth. Everything from nuts and bolts to fence posts and seafaring ships is repurposed into new steel products. Bargain Barns is proud to offer materials with substantial recycled steel content while maintaining superior quality.

When you couple this repurposing with the durability and minimal maintenance of a pre-engineered steel garage, you realize the significant value and sustainability of steel over wood-frame structures.

Simple and Flexible

The simplicity of buying and building a pre-engineered garage from Bargain Barns is challenging to overstate. Our experts will walk you through all the options and the necessities to make your experience something you will remember with satisfaction.

The flexibility that a steel building offers is virtually endless. Place windows where you need them. Do you want an open space with no obstructions? Then a steel building is what you need. The tremendous strength of steel allows for large open spans without additional techniques, materials, or expense.

Your steel structure will also be much lighter than a standard wood garage, meaning that there is less weight and pressure on the foundation/slab resulting in fewer cracks and less settling. Perhaps your garage is simply for storage, and you want something other than a slab. You can easily support all the uprights with appropriate footings and use whatever materials (or none) you wish for the floor, like crushed rock or wood chips.

And Finally

Fire is always a concern with garages. The types of activities and the related oils and solvents can quickly become fuel if not adequately accounted for. Undoubtedly, you are very careful with these things, but the concern remains.

While wood-frame structures will fuel the fire, your steel garage is fire-resistant. Careful attention to interior materials and other precautions can make a steel garage virtually fireproof. In any case, you will see far less fire damage with a steel structure than you would with a standard wood-frame garage.


Whether you need a new garage for your home or your business, you can trust Bargain Barns to make your vision a reality. Our expert craftsman and highly trained customer service agents will make the process as easy as the choice between a steel or wood-frame garage. Contact us today to learn more about your pre-engineered steel garage options and get your free assessment and quote.

We look forward to meeting you and making your vision a reality.