Are Steel Buildings Cheaper Than Wood?

When it comes to constructing outdoor buildings on your property, there are two main choices of structural material that you may consider; wood and steel.

Whether you are building on a residential property or a commercial one, you will want to find the most cost-effective solution that still meets all of your requirements.

Wood may be cheaper than steel upfront which often sways people to choose the cheaper option. But does wood work out to be more cost-effective in the long run?

Reusable properties of materials

Wood is a one-time-use material, meaning once you have cut it for a specific purpose, there’s not much else you can do with it (besides make sawdust or a bonfire!…)

Unlike wood, steel is recyclable as a building material and can be reused over and over again. In the long term, it can be more affordable than wood. It is also readily available as a material, so is unlikely to ever be in short supply.

Custom builds

No build fits a standard size and shape, while there are guidelines which can help, generally speaking an extension, farm building or agricultural shed is going to be bespoke. This suits not only the budget and purpose but also the landscape it is being built upon.

When looking to customise wood to fit a particular space, it can start to become very expensive. This is another area where steel is the more cost-effective solution.

There is a common misconception that customising steel is an expensive and lengthy process, but the truth is that steel can be easily adapted to suit your needs without costing a fortune. Because of its malleable nature, steel can be made to fit virtually any space or shape you need. Customising steel to suit your purposes is much cheaper than it would be with wood.

This customisable factor is also a benefit when it comes to resale. Even if you built your building with a specific purpose in mind, if someone then purchases your property later and wants to change the use of the building, steel can be easily modified to suit all needs.

Less material, smaller costs

Because of the nature of steel constructed buildings, you don’t need additional internal support systems. Wood buildings need internal support to keep them up, thereby requiring more material including aspects like RSJ’s to complete the build.

Using steel means you can maximise internal space, with no supports taking up valuable floor space that would be better used for your crops or products.

Ease of use

Steel buildings are much easier to build than wooden buildings. You don’t need as many people to assemble it, they require fewer tools and construction equipment, and they can be erected quickly. All in all, this adds up to fewer costs for you.

As mentioned previously, this works well with their customisable nature as well, meaning you can easily add or remove sections or expansions as your needs require.

Safety and insurance

Steel buildings are generally safer than wooden ones – they are more robust, can withstand the elements better, and are much less of a fire risk. Because of this, you may also find that your insurance costs are lower as well.

Steel is so much more durable, resisting chipping, splitting, dents, and impact damage far better than the wood alternatives. Wooden buildings have been known to last for decades if properly prepared and cared for, so you can imagine how long a steel building can last for. You don’t need to worry about pest infestations, rotting, damp, or natural disasters the same way you do with wooden construction.


When thinking of attractive outdoor buildings, not many of us would think of steel before wood. Wooden buildings are often thought of as more attractive and visually appealing than metal ones, but that’s not always the case.

As technology has improved, so has the visual appearance of steel buildings. Long gone are the clunky-looking, ugly buildings that once dominated the steel construction industry. Nowadays you can find steel buildings that are as attractive as any wooden option.


While wooden buildings might seem like a cheaper option initially, but long term you will likely find that steel framed buildings will save you a lot more in terms of money and time.

If you would like more information about your options for steel buildings, contact Timmins Engineering for some expert advice and guidance.