23 Aug What about Harsh Climates and Earthquake Zones?
When deciding what building materials to use for your structure, you will probably want to take the potential for all kinds of harsh weather and natural disasters into account. After all, a building is a large investment of your money, time, and other resources. You’ll want to choose a structure that will last—one that you know will stay standing even under adverse conditions. Whether you live in a region prone to earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, or tornadoes, you should know that steel is your best and safest choice.
At Matador, we want to inform and reassure you about how durable and reliable steel buildings are when doing battle against the elements. First of all, steel is forged in a mill according to exacting standards. That means that it won’t suffer from the potential irregularities found in an organic building material like wood. Nor is steel susceptible to the weaknesses that could affect a material like concrete that is often mixed on-site while exposed to the elements.
Plus, all of the parts of your steel building will be built to your exact specifications in our facility—taking all of the safety standards of your area into account. Read through the following descriptions and you’ll see why steel is the safest and most dependable choice for your building project.
How do steel buildings hold up in earthquake zones?
The National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), a part of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), is able to detect around 20,000 earthquakes every year. That averages out to about 55 earthquakes each day! Of course, a majority of those can only be detected using seismic instruments and can’t be felt by people, let alone do significant damage to manmade structures.
Even so, earthquake preparedness is a concern for builders, especially in regions that are more prone to higher-magnitude quakes, such as California and Alaska.
If you are concerned about earthquake safety in the region where you will construct your building, then you should know that steel is the best choice. Steel buildings have a greater ability to bend without breaking than those made of other materials such as concrete and wood. This means that in an earthquake, the occupants of a steel building are much more likely to stay safer than those seeking shelter in buildings made from another type of construction material.
Would a steel building be a good choice if my area might get hit by a hurricane?
The United States has been hit hard by a number of powerful hurricanes and superstorms in recent years, including those with now infamous names such as Harvey, Katrina, and Sandy. Many Americans have firsthand knowledge of the devastation that these powerful storms can bring to homes, businesses, and infrastructure.
If you live an in area that is threatened by hurricanes—perhaps on the Atlantic Coast, or along the Gulf of Mexico—then you’ll want a structure you can depend on. At Matador, we got our start constructing metal buildings for the people of Haiti, a place that knows the dangers of hurricanes (and earthquakes, too). That means that we have the knowledge and experience to produce structures that can withstand the high winds that come with these fierce storms.
Steel buildings are sturdy and resilient, with a greater strength/weight ratio than wood. Steel buildings have been tested in areas with high winds, and they have passed the test! In the wake of powerful storms that have brought devastation to many communities in the U.S., engineers have devoted themselves to improving how steel buildings do the job of withstanding high winds. The result of these efforts is steel buildings that have been able to hold up against winds reaching 170 mph!
I live in Tornado Alley—should I invest in a steel building?
But maybe earthquakes and hurricanes are not your main concern? Perhaps you don’t live in an area that is particularly seismically active. And maybe you don’t live near enough to a coastline to have to worry too much about direct hits from earthquakes. Nonetheless, your home or workplace could still have to face off against severe storms with high winds. And the most powerful among these could bring tornadoes. Although the deadliest of these twisters in the U.S. have hit the Southeast, the Midwest, and the Great Plains, the fact is that tornadoes can happen almost anywhere, on any terrain, and on any day of the year.
As is the case with hurricanes, tornadoes bring very strong winds. And steel buildings are designed to withstand them—up to 170 mph. Steel buildings are also a good choice for areas that tend to have violent thunderstorms, since, if hit by lightning, they give lightning strikes a lower-resistance path to the ground. This builds up less heat, and is therefore less likely to cause a fire. (Steel itself is, of course, a noncombustible material—another advantage.)
We get blizzards and tons of snow where my steel building is going to be located—what about that?
We already know that steel buildings can withstand strong winds, like the kind that you might experience in a hurricane. That applies to the winds that blizzards can bring as well. As for heavy snowfall, metal buildings with metal roofs are your best bet for sturdiness and strength. If you live in an area that gets particularly heavy snow loads, or has snowpack that tends to last for the entire season due to extended periods where temperatures won’t get above freezing, our engineers will work with you to create the best design for your roof, including its shape and pitch. They can also advise you on installing roof cleats and snow guards to help control the distribution of snow across your building’s roof.
We hope that you can see why steel buildings are the smartest choice for any climate, region, or potential natural disaster area. Matador can advise you when it comes to designing a building that needs to meet any local or regional codes for weather or seismic activity. If you want to know even more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our engineers and customer service associates are ready to work with you and answer all of your questions. At Matador Engineered Metal Buildings, we believe that steel is the safest choice, and we know that you will too. We look forward to working with you!