16 Sep What about Utilities, Insulation, and Vents?
Some people have preconceived notions about prefabricated steel buildings. To some of them, perhaps the metal structure they know best is the row of storage units where they keep their unused belongings. These units aren’t made for anyone to live in, or work in, or even use every day. They don’t have plumbing and may not have electricity either.
At Matador, we want you to rethink that. Although our steel buildings can be excellent storage facilities, they can also be so much more. We encourage you to enhance your steel building so that you can personalize it and get the most out of it. And our design engineers are here to advise you through every step of that customization process.
When it comes to optimizing your steel structure, you will probably want to consider the following enhancements. By making these additions, you can be sure that your metal building will fully suit your individual needs.
If you’re wondering whether or not you can have electricity in your prefabricated steel building, the answer is a definite “yes.” This can be basic: a home-hobbyist’s shed may need just a few lights and some 110-volt outlets for charging handheld power tools. But a Matador prefabricated steel structure is also a great place to house a factory, a warehouse, or any other kind of industrial building.
If you will be erecting your steel building yourself, without hiring a contractor, you may still want to hire an electrician to do the electrical work for you, especially if you have never installed wiring before. All of your wiring should be run through a protective conduit, or tube, and your setup should be in line with local regulations for your area. It’s also important for you to ensure that your building is properly grounded in case of lightning strikes.
You can definitely install plumbing in your steel structure as well. In order to have this be a less expensive and invasive process, you will probably want to run all of the water and waste lines before you pour your concrete slab foundation. You may want to do this even if you only just think that you might want to have plumbing in your structure at some point in the future. Putting in the basic sewer lines will ensure that you don’t have to tear up your foundation when you decide to install a bathroom in your shop, for instance.
If you have never installed plumbing before, then hiring a professional plumber to do the work for you to ensure a proper grade on your waste pipes and to make sure that the pipes are the correct size (among other essentials) is a good idea. And, as with the wiring, make sure that your plumbing conforms with local regulations.
Also, if your building is located in an area where it gets below freezing in the winter, and you plan to use your plumbing all year round, you will want to look into heating and insulating your steel structure (see below).
- Heating and air conditioning
Climate control is important whether you need to protect the machinery in your steel building from extreme temperatures and excessive humidity, or you just want a comfortable place to work. We understand. If your steel building is large enough, then you will likely want to install some kind of HVAC system in it. Obviously, you should do this with your particular climate in mind. And if you do heat or air condition your steel building, you will definitely want to make sure that it is properly insulated (see below).
If you are concerned about regulating the temperature inside your steel building, (and energy costs if you invest in heating or cooling it), then you should definitely consider insulating it. In addition to temperature control, insulation also helps prevent condensation on the interior panels of your metal building—provided that it is installed correctly. This is extremely important, as you definitely don’t want any moisture building up between your roof or wall panels and the insulation itself, as this could cause the panels to rust. When installed properly, however, insulation is your best defense against this. Another benefit of insulation is noise reduction, whether you want to keep noise out or need to keep it in.
There are a number of different types of insulation, including fiberglass blanket insulation, foam board (rigid) insulation, spray-on cellulose insulation, and loose-fill insulation. You should know the R-value of the insulation you choose to install. The R-value is a measure of an insulating material’s ability to resist heat transfer based on factors such as its composition and thickness. The type you choose to install may depend upon both your climate and your budget. Matador engineers will work with you to find the best solution to meet your building’s needs.
If you don’t have a complete HVAC system installed in your steel building you still need to have some way of making sure that fresh air can get into your structure and push stale air out. Installing vents is one great way to do this. In addition to enabling air to flow, they also can help to reduce possible moisture condensation inside your steel building.
There are several different kinds of vents, the main ones being ridge vents, turbine (circular) vents, gravity vents, and louvers. Often these are used in combination with each other for maximum effectiveness and optimal cross-ventilation.
The type, size, and number of vents that your building should have depends, of course, on how large your building is as well as its layout and primary use. Matador engineers will be glad to advise you as to the best combination of vents based on your building’s design and your climate.
One of the best things about designing your own prefabricated steel building is that you can customize it any way you want in order to meet your specific needs. At Matador Engineered Metal Buildings, we will work with you to make that happen. Call us today!