metal building

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Metal Building

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

It is undeniable that metal structures may stand strong for many years with little or no maintenance. Even steel, though, will ultimately rust away if not properly maintained. By caring about your metal structure every few months or so and doing some simple repair work, you may help it function for decades instead of just a few years. So, let’s cut to the chase and talk about some simple tips on how to provide your metal building with the longevity of ancient pyramids!

1. Wash the building

Cleaning the metal construction is a standard maintenance procedure. Even though steel is a durable material that seldom has to be replaced, regular cleaning is the greatest approach to prolong its life. Since buildings are always exposed to natural elements, it’s expected that after some time they will be covered with grime and dirt which may discolor the outside of the building. In the worst-case scenario, the filth may cause corrosion and even mold. Therefore, it’s imperative to wash the outside of the building with suitable industrial cleaning solutions on a regular basis. If you don’t feel comfortable with store-bought chemicals, you can make your own cleaner by mixing water and ammonia. When you clean, make sure to wear protective gear and cover your face with a mask so you don’t inhale ammonia fumes.

2. Insulation should always be functional

Insulating a pole building or a metal building should be your top priority if it’s not already done. However, if your building has already been insulated, you need to check to see whether there has been any moisture damage, exposure, or other signs of moisture. It's possible to have cracks in your walls for a variety of reasons. One of the most common ways holes occur is because of birds and other pests. So, make sure to keep an eye out for animals nesting in and around your building since apart from carrying disease, the holes they make allow undesired outside air to enter the building. Ensure that the insulation is dry because when wet it can’t effectively insulate so you will be using more energy and other resources to heat or cool the building. Wet insulation may also lead to the growth of mold which can be quite dangerous.

3. Oil the door and window hinges

There’s nothing more annoying than creaky doors and windows. Luckily, this problem is easily solvable. Although cleaning and oiling the hinges may seem like a minor task, it really has a significant impact. It will undoubtedly prolong the life expectancy of your metal structure. Also, for the sake of convenience and safety, it is important to keep your roof's hinges lubricated. What is also key for the ultimate safety of your building is to have a properly functioning garage door. The ability to rapidly open the garage door can save your life in the event of an emergency. The same goes for any fire exits. 

4. Take care of the greenery around your building

Though gardening may sound like something minor when it comes to metal building maintenance, you’d be surprised at the amount of damage unruled plants can cause to the structure. Make sure that bigger plants like trees and bushes aren’t near the building. If the plants come too close to the metal building construction you are running a risk of a compromised foundation because of the plants’ roots. If the foundation is shaky, the entire structure may crumble down. Even though larger plants are more dangerous, this doesn’t mean that smaller ones are benign. Due to plants growing on the insulation or the building’s walls, molding can occur.

5. Maintain the painting job

Though the look of your building is incredibly important, a stunning facade is not the only function of a quality paint job. It can serve as a protective layer against the harsh climatic conditions, such as heavy snow, rain and even sun. So, in order to get the best of both worlds - aesthetics and protection - you should invest in a good paint job. First, inspect the state of your building. According to the condition of your metal construction, you can choose to repaint it in its entirety or do spot maintenance. Whatever your choice of action may be, you should clean the area you’ll be repainting first and go in with quality paint. Paint is not a domain in which you should try to save money. 

6. Paint your structure with a protective finish

Now that you’ve coated your building with a thin layer of paint, you should think about protecting it even more. Metal constructions are really durable, but you can expand their life span by coating them with a finishing paint. These coatings will further protect your metal structure from moisture and harsh weather. If you’ve already coated your building in the past, make sure that the paint isn’t chipping or fading. If you notice that it is, make sure to reapply the protective solution.

7. Do a roof check up

Roof is a crucial part of any building which makes sure that your metal building is safe from rain, sudden gusts of wind and other environmental conditions. This is why it’s key to make your roof as durable as any other part of the construction. Doing regular maintenance check ups will ensure that no repair goes unnoticed. If you allow your roofing to get significantly damaged it may compromise the entire building and the safety of people residing in it.

8. Clean out the gutter

Clogged gutters can lead to various maintenance challenges which is why it’s so important to clean them on time. Depending on the climate you're in, you should schedule cleaning of the debris. For example, if you’re living in a relatively mild climate, you may get away with cleaning the gutters only once a year during the fall season. On the other hand, if you’re living in an area constantly affected by rain and snow, you may have to take care of the gutters once a month. So, in order to stop your building from getting corroded and moldy, you should often clear out its gutters. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.