Tube Framed Metal Buildings

Tube Framed Metal Buildings

Tube framed metal buildings are framed with hollow metal tubes. Most tubes are square, but round and rectangular are also options. They typically have steel siding mounted horizontally as they do not have wall girts to allow for vertical siding installations.

Tube framed metal buildings do have some advantages. They are very inexpensive. They are very lightweight, so typically require minimal foundations. DIY friendly, as they are easily assembled. Uprights are most often every four feet, allowing for direct attachment of interior finish materials capable of spanning this distance.

High winds and/or snow loads can damage light-weight tube framing (you can read about a snow collapse here: They are generally available only with fairly low eave heights and four foot bays needed to resist wind loads limit width of sidewall door and window openings.

They come with no provision for condensation control, so require adding products like two inches of closed cell spray foam insulation to prevent condensation. With very narrow wall cavities, it is difficult to obtain more than minimal R values. Being all metal, they are high in thermal conductivity.

Air infiltration can be problematic due to horizontal laps (steel siding is designed to be run vertically), unless every lap is caulked or has strip mastic tape applied. Corner trims are designed to land in flat areas of vertically placed steel panels. Expanding foam closure strips should be placed underneath corner trim flanges to seal spaces between siding high ribs.

This industry (tube framed metal buildings) is plagued with bad reviews, with installation being the source of most complaints. In most instances, the sales process begins with a customer choosing their wants from a menu of options. Once a price is agreed upon a ten percent deposit is made (this happens to be salesperson’s commission). At this point the buyer is now at the building company’s scheduling mercy and more often than not, it doesn’t go well.

I know some people have purchased tube framed metal buildings to use as barndominiums. While this may “work” if located in areas where building permits are not required, or structural plan reviews are not done – in most jurisdictions these are not considered to be permanent structures. Possibilities abound for challenges in obtaining financing, as well as for resale.

Considering a barndominium? Please read this first

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