Steel structures offer many benefits, and limited maintenance is a primary perk for many. Still, there are maintenance items that you must address. As with any structure, you want to protect it against the elements from the very beginning.
Just like your home, you want to manage groundwater and rain, protect the surface, keep dirt and other organic material away from your building, and repair any damage promptly. In this article, we will go over the key elements in maintaining your steel structure and help you appreciate the need for a process to preserve your asset.
In the Beginning
Start With the Basics
Maintenance of your new steel building should be top-of-mind from the moment you begin planning your new project.
Protect the Surface
The strength of a steel edifice resides in the shell, as with most construction types. Protecting a building’s surface is a best practice regardless of the material.
- Choose appropriate coatings for your building type and local environment. Consult with your contractor or the experts at Bargain Barns to determine your best choice for your area’s steel structures.
- Be sure to select a high-quality coating and professional application. Since this treatment should last several years and represents you and your company, this is not the best place to cut corners.
Moisture is the enemy of all buildings. Wood will rot, steel will rust and corrode, mold and mildew will soon follow; it’s unavoidable. This is one item you definitely want to address during construction. The cost of adding overhangs, new or upgraded gutter systems, or re-grading your property after construction can be far costlier and frustrating.
Sunshine beats down on your building, and wind and precipitation do the same. Industrial pollutants, pollen, and dust find a new home on its surface—all of these work to diminish the lifespan and serviceability of your steel structure. It’s critical that you develop a comprehensive plan to monitor, manage, and effect repairs to protect your assets and equity. That’s right, a lack of proper maintenance will impact the value of your property. So, let’s look at what this means.
Perform Bi-Annual Inspections
It’s crucial that you stay ahead of potential issues. Any damage or failing components will not achieve self-repair nor improve with time. Performing a comprehensive review of your structure and its elements is essential to minimize the cost and consequences of languishing issues.
Don’t forget to check the numerous fasteners like screws, nuts, and rivets. Also, inspect your steel piles for corrosion, making any necessary repairs by welding steel plates or rods as your engineer recommends.
Mooring fittings, including cleats, bollards, bitts, and clock, can rust, crack, and break. Tighten or replace the bolts and replace any corroded or broken fittings.
It’s also important to check the foundation for signs of damage or weakening and replace or reinforce as necessary. In some cases, it may be advantageous to consult with a structural engineer regarding significant issues with your structure or foundation.
Give It a Scrub
Keeping your building’s surface clean is essential for its longevity and performance. Plus, a buildup of organic material on the surface promotes the development of fungi and mold by retaining moisture.
After 12 months of exposure to the elements, your building likely appears dingy, not a good look for your structure.
Merely cleansing with water will remove organic materials from the surface along with a power washer or soft brush. You may add some bleach to sanitize and assist in your efforts for a brighter shine. A best practice is to establish an annual schedule for washing your building exterior. It can often be helpful to coordinate this activity with one of the bi-annual inspections since there is a significant overlap of activities.
Keep Gutters and Downspouts Clear
Just like in your home, the gutter system on your steel building will only work if it is clear of debris and free-flowing. Water is your adversary, and overflowing gutters and downspouts create severe issues if left unresolved.
Whether you do this yourself, have a maintenance crew, or subcontract this activity, make sure this is an annual priority.
While the ongoing cost and effort of conserving a steel structure are substantially less than wood construction, it does require attention and action. But, unlike standard construction, steel’s tenacity and incredible strength make it far less susceptible to deterioration over time. Regular inspections and promptly addressing issues will minimize potential problems and related expenses.
Remember to keep maintenance in your priorities while planning your build. Choosing Bargain Barns as your builder is the first step.
As a family-owned business, we consider our stellar reputation in the industry an asset we must protect. We work diligently to maintain our high standards of quality and service while making every effort to integrate designs and materials that can minimize the maintenance your structure requires.
You aren’t just a number; all of our phones ring simultaneously, and you will quickly be speaking with a team member.
We provide free:
- Price Quotes including multiple options
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Let the skillful professional team at Bargain Barns answer all your questions and show you the best materials, techniques, and strategies to bring your vision into reality.