Metal Building Homes Buying Guide: Kits, Plans, Cost and Insurance

Modern Two-Story Metal Building Home

If constructing a house from the beginning is not a possibility, metal building homes can be a great alternative. These prefab homes are more cost-friendly and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

If you possess some building skills, it is possible to construct a small metal cabin by yourself. With a good will, you can have a house, shed, or any other structure built in no time.

Nevertheless, metal home construction is not as easy as it seems. 

Modern Two-Story Metal Building Home
Modern two-story metal building home, by

There are various factors you must consider before starting the job, such as the pros and cons, expenses, insurance, zoning permits, durability in harsh conditions, and more. 

Don’t let the cost efficiency and practicality of this type of home lead to further problems in the future! 

Here is what you need to know about constructing a metal home (or other similar structures).

A. Pros and Cons of Metal Building Homes

All types of buildings have their own pros and cons. It is essential to understand what to anticipate from metal homes prior to obtaining one!

1. Pros of Metal Building Homes

  • Durable and strong

Metal is a solid material, more resilient than wood, that can handle rain, wind, sandstorms, tornadoes, and even acid rain.

It is easy to separate a metal house into distinct areas for varied uses, such as having a combination of an office space and a living space.

In addition, remodeling is made simpler since the load of the structure is mainly supported by the outer walls.

  • Fire-resistant

One of the greatest hazards that can cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket is a fire.

Metal, however, is not flammable, which makes it an ideal material to use when constructing a home and helps to keep insurance costs manageable.

  • Easy to maintain

Metal homes can be kept in good condition with minimal effort, which makes them a great choice if you want to invest and save on future maintenance expenses. 

They are more straightforward to tend to than other types of structures.

2. Cons of Metal Building Homes

  • Difficult approval process

Obtaining authorization from Homeowner Association or any other governing body can be quite a challenge if you reside in the United States.

This is due to the exclusive design of the buildings in the nation. 

Additionally, other nations may posses regulations that are more stringent than the standards required when purchasing or constructing a traditional home.

  • Extra spending

If you’re not a fan of the look of metal sheets on the outside of a prefabricated metal home, you’ll need to spend some extra money in order to remodel it.

  • Difficult to expand

It can be a challenge to increase the size of a prefab metal house. Homeowners who are looking to expand their living space often find it difficult to do with a pre-made metal structure.

  • It can be tricky to design a home that fits in with the local environment.

When selecting a residence, numerous external factors must be taken into account, such as the weather, climate, and landscape of the area.

Prefabricated metal homes have limited customizability, so it is important to assess all the local conditions before committing to a purchase.

Although there are some drawbacks associated with metal houses, they are not necessarily the same for everyone.

It is essential to make an individualized list of pros and cons before making the decision to buy a metal home.

B. Short and Long-Term Affordability of Metal Building Homes

Investing in real estate, such as a house or an office building, is a commitment for the long term.

When making such an investment, it is important to consider the affordability of it for both the short and long terms. 

Fortunately, a metal building is a great option for those who may not have the funds to construct a building from the ground up. 

There are two affordability benefits associated with metal home building that should be taken into account.

1. Short-term money saving

Choosing a prefab metal building incurs less cost than purchasing a traditional home (or constructing one from the ground up). 

If you possess the aptitude to assemble the house or can enlist the help of non-professionals (e.g. family members), then you can reduce expenses further by avoiding the need to hire a contractor. 

Moreover, procuring materials to construct and equip the structure will also prove to be more affordable, due to the decreased cost of the building.

2. Long-term money saving

Constructing a metal building is simpler to look after than a regular house due to its uncomplicated design. Traditional houses require the upkeep of roofs, guttering, painting, tiling, floors, foundations and beyond. 

Prefabricated metal structures have fewer components, and they come with guarantees and insurance.

Before investing, remember to review your requirements and budget in terms of affordability. 

Additionally, it is important to make sure all the paperwork and necessary permits are in place before ordering the house in order to avoid potential legal issues that could incur a large cost.

C. How Much Does a Metal Building Home Cost?

Building a prefab metal home could be more economical than constructing a regular house, yet there are many components which will affect your expenditure. 

The expenses accumulate if you opt for bigger dwellings. Here are some basic estimations for metal homes to give an idea of the amount you will spend:

The basic metal home style – with roof, frames and siding – may cost between USD15 and USD30 per square foot, depending on the design, size and quality of material. 

A 40 x 60 square ft. building could be priced between US$5,000 and US$30,000. 

The price for a basic slab foundation for a metal home may range from US$10,000 to US$25,000, based on the size and style. 

A basement or raised foundation will add another US$10,000-15,000, with bigger houses requiring a greater outlay for additional features. 

The delivery charge for a prefab metal home is usually 8 percent of the total cost of the house.

For example, in order to calculate the full cost of building a house, it is necessary to factor in the delivery cost, which could be as much as US$2,400. 

If the property does not have access to a municipal sewer system, the cost of installing one could range between US$6,000 and US$12,000. *Before settling on the total cost, the prices of electric, plumbing, paint and cabinetry systems should be taken into consideration.

Although it is possible to source materials cheaply, if you are aiming to make a return on the investment, it is wise to opt for higher quality products. 

Finally, depending on your location, it might be possible to take out a loan for the construction of the house, as there are many loan companies that offer services for owner-builders.

D. Insurance for Metal Building Home

Generally, metal homes may have fewer warranties and protection in comparison to regular homes. Nonetheless, metal is a nonflammable material and thus carries lower risk of hazard, which is preferred by insurance companies. 

Furthermore, metal dwellings are sturdier and can endure harsh weather conditions, such as hurricanes, tornados, and sandstorms.

If you purchase a metal home from a reputable manufacturer, an engineer will give it an “approval stamp” after examining all aspects of the property. This official authentication from the manufacturer will assist you in getting an insurance policy with a reduced rate.

Metal homes typically come with significant warranties that regular house construction may not provide. The roof of a prefab metal home in the United States typically has a 20-year warranty, paint with a 40-year warranty, and the primary structural system with a 50-year warranty. 

For the best coverage, it is recommended to talk to various insurance companies to see if they are willing to provide protection for metal homes. It is even better when you can find an insurance company that offers a specific package for prefab metal homes.

E. How to Build a Metal Building Home

After you have completed the process of obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, and have your prefab home delivered, it is time to begin the construction. 

The following is an overview of what is involved in constructing a metal home.

1. Preparing Site for Metal Home

Constructing a metal home is more straightforward than traditional home building since there is little to no material wastage. As with a regular house, the initial step is to level the area in preparation for the build. 

Depending on the state of the land, you may need to grade the area, which involves creating a gradient around the proposed house site which will direct water away from the property, thus avoiding any water accumulation which can become a breeding ground for insects.

If you’re looking to include a basement in your metal home, it’s essential that your grading is done properly, or else the room may be prone to leaking. Furthermore, a lack of proper grading could lead to your property being weakened by moisture.

When you’re thinking about the foundation for your metal home, there are several options available to you. The most economical option is the slab, but if you want to increase the value of your property investment, you should go for the raised type or basement. A raised type or vault will also make it easier to access the home’s systems.

It’s important to consider the most important aspects of having a house. Before setting up a site for your metal home, you should think about the availability of water and electricity.

If there is no way for you to be connected to the nearest power and water source, you will have to establish your own connection. Doing so will cause the cost of the project to rise. 

Additionally, it is important to take into consideration the piping and plumbing system before the metal home kits arrive. You should contemplate the placement of the plumbing lines in the house, and how you will accommodate the washing machine, bathtub, shower, sink, and closet.

2. Metal Building Home Kits and Equipment

When getting a metal house kit, the shipment will get to you in bits and pieces, consisting of rigid frames, rafter beams, end-wall columns, tapered columns, end-wall rafters, eave strut, girt, and much more.

Even if you have no idea about metal home construction (and prefer to leave the job to the professionals), it does not hurt to get acquainted with the fundamentals.

So, here is what you must be aware of when putting together metal building home kits:

  • Proper equipment and tool

Gather a cordless drill, a selection of wrenches of various sizes, a level, a couple of ladders, a large screwdriver, and a spud wrench. 

For bigger jobs, you may need to obtain a scissor lift for the more strenuous tasks. If you have additional funds available, you can acquire a forklift or pallet jack.

  • Frame connecting method

Metal frames for homes are constructed with the use of bolts. This same technique is also employed when attaching the house to its foundation. 

It is important to take precise measurements to guarantee that the building is in sync with its base.

  • Roof assembly

Attaching roof panels to metal homes is normally done with stainless steel fasteners, self-tapping screws, and neoprene washers providing a secure seal. This set-up is be easily adapted and altered if desired in the future.

  • Exterior finishing

After constructing the frames and ensuring they are firmly attached, the metal panels are put together. A lot of folks opt to paint the metal surface, while leaving it alone is also an option. 

For a more familiar appearance, one can use bricks or any other common house materials. This is commonly done when constructing a metal abode for a personal residence or vacation spot.

  • Doors and windows installation

When it comes to metal home kits, windows and doors are not typically included, allowing you the opportunity to get creative.

You can opt for short, small, or large windows and doors – just ensure that they provide ample air and light. 

The layout of the metal dwelling can be made flexible, particularly if the construction does not rely on fixed beams for the whole frame. 

To define different rooms, you can use standard materials such as bricks, stones, plywood, and wooden planks for the walls.

  • Heating and cooling system

A metal building can get hot or cold easily, particularly if you reside in a location with intense weather conditions. It is necessary to put in a heating and cooling system. 

These two components can be incorporated as one central system, or they can be kept separate. It is essential to factor in the budget before you make the purchase of your metal home kits. 

After you have taken into account all the essential elements and put the house together correctly, your metal home will be standing strong promptly.

F. Metal Building Home Floor Plans

Floor plans can be used to figure out how to divide up the interior of your home. Since metal homes come in a set size, you need to adapt your floor plan to fit that size. 

Here are some examples of floor plans based on the various sizes of metal homes:

1). 40′ x 60′ (about 230 square meters)

This is the most sought-after size for a metal home. It is cost-efficient and wise to use, ideal for a single-family residence or a small business office. 

This size can comfortably house two to three bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and a little office. If the kitchen is merged with the dining room, you will obtain further space, e.g. for a washing area.

2). 55′ x 71′ (about 363 square meters)

This layout is ideal for a residence with five bedrooms, one of which could be a master suite with its own bathroom, and the others would have two common bathrooms. 

Alternatively, you can opt for a reduced number of bedrooms to have larger living space with a big kitchen, a dining area, a living room, and extra rooms for other activities.

3). 80′ x 60′ (about 474 square meters)

This domicile is both roomy and suitable for constructing a two-level home. You can opt for an open-style living area or fashion a few individual bedrooms. 

Additionally, there is plenty of space for a kitchen, dining area, lounge, bathrooms, a laundry room and an office. 

Metal home producers might present differing sizes and you can look for the one which fulfils your requirements.

If you are not certain about the ideal size for your individualized floor plan, then it is suggested to converse with an expert contractor.

Also read: Great Barndominium Floor Plans & Costs for Your Dream Home

G. Metal Building Homes Insulation

Maintaining an optimal indoor temperature and conserving energy are both important reasons for why insulation is necessary for metal building homes. 

In addition, insulation also serves as a safeguard against the potential damage caused by natural elements. 

The U.S. government has established regulations for the various types of insulation that can be fitted in metal homes. 

Here are the available options:

1. Batt and blanket

This is the most affordable choice, ideal for a tiny home or cabin with simple requirements. The insulation is suitable for the floor, walls, and ceiling. 

Batt comprises mineral fiber, polycarbonate, or fiberglass panels, while the blanket is constructed of a similar material, but is more adjustable and can be unrolled, folded, or trimmed.

2. Right board insulation

This form of insulation is comparable to the “blanket” section of batt and blanket insulation. It is pliable and can be cut into any size, and is composed of fiberglass, polyurethane, or polystyrene. 

This kind of insulation is often applied to a flat surface and can be tailored to the size needed.

3. Loose-fill insulation

This specific form of insulation is used to close off any crevices or spaces that cannot be filled with the traditional insulation techniques. 

The particles, such as loose fiber or pellets, are blown into the small holes with specialized machinery. However, this approach is more costly due to the need for the specialized equipment.

4. Spray foam

Spray foam has the capability to adjust to irregular or modified house designs, as you spray a polymer liquid to fill in any crevices or pockets in the structure. 

Upon hardening and expanding, the liquid will completely seal off any air gaps with its airtight quality. 

This method of insulation is versatile enough to be used on walls, ceilings, and floors. Metal homes generally have a greater depth of studs than wooden houses, allowing more room for insulation. 

For bigger homes, incorporating multiple insulation techniques is necessary to cover the entire building. 

By installing the correct insulation materials, you can have a more cozy experience in your metal home, no matter the climate or weather conditions.

H. Metal Building Home Builders

Putting together the house is not hard if you know something about construction, although you might need assistance to complete the task. Prior to the kit arriving, make sure to take notes of the mass and measurements of your metal house.

The experienced constructor might be able to accomplish the job with just a few helpers, but it is wiser to contact a professional contractor to construct the house.

Enterprises that offer metal home kits typically possess professional builders, and the expert ones even have their own contractors.

If you are uncertain regarding all aspects of construction, it is sensible to utilize their services. Builders and contractors that collaborate with your metal home maker have familiarity with the specs, which makes the project go more effortlessly.

If it is feasible, it is advised to hire metal home builders that are locally operated. This implies that the proprietors and employees have a good understanding of the environment in the vicinity, for instance the landscape, kind of soil, normal climatic conditions, and access to water, electricity, and gas. 

Here are some common metal home builders in the United States:

I. Metal Building Home Designs

When purchasing metal home kits, there are a wide variety of designs to select from. A few of the most in-demand options are outlined here.

1. Quonset hut

Simple Quonset Hut Homes

The Quonset hut is a type of abode that appears as a half-circle or arch, with no internal pillars. 

This is a free-standing design that has a reputation for being able to brave harsh weather situations such as hurricanes and tornadoes. 

It was first spotted in Rhode Island and is still sought-after for its toughness and inexpensive cost. 

There are two variations of this structure – one has straight walls and a curved rooftop, while the other is a full arch. 

Putting it together is fairly simple, but to install doors and insulation, extra effort and expense are usually required due to the curved shape of the building that necessitates customised frames and doors.

2. Straight wall

The straight wall model is a commonly seen setup for commercial structures, such as offices, warehouses, and stores. 

This design is composed of straight panels for the walls and may feature various roof shapes, ranging from the gabled (curved) to the single slope, straight column, and lean-to styles. 

Installation of this model is very straightforward, and no need for special windows and doors. Furthermore, insulation of this type of architecture is easier to do compared to that of a semi-circular building. 

Its capacity for expansion makes it a perfect choice for businesses that are growing.

3. Pole barn home

Building a pole barn metal home is a fairly simple process. It involves erecting walls and a roof, as well as setting up metal beams as support for the roof.

The interior of the building is usually quite spacious, and the beams are usually made out of metal instead of wood, which is different from traditional barns.

This type of home is great for storing livestock or agricultural items, and constructing it does not require looking for specialized windows and doors. 

However, it is not very resistant to strong winds and the structure is vulnerable to animals such as horses or bulls that can kick, hit, or bite it.

4. Shipping container home

Shipping container houses have grown in popularity in the last several years because of the upsurge of the “minimalistic house” concept. 

This type of metal home just consists of a large metal box with windows, doors, and stairs and is an ideal choice if you prefer an uncluttered design and an uncomplicated lifestyle. 

Additionally, transforming this residence is fairly straightforward as you can add a wooden floor, several lighting fixtures, and other elements to create your dream home. 

Nonetheless, it can be challenging to enlarge the house, especially if you have plans to start a family.

It is likely that you assume metal homes are not very adaptable. Maybe you envision a box-like construction that is difficult to adjust. In reality, metal houses are one of the most changeable structures.

There is a range of uses for them, and they are more robust than typical buildings. Here are some of the most common metal building home people use.

1. Garage

There is no doubt about creating a robust, long-lasting structure for your vehicle. Investing in a metal garage is a great way to shield your beloved cars.

People who possess vintage, sports, or extravagant automobiles often construct metal garages to protect their collections. The metal garage is also an optimal place for storing Harley Davidson motorbikes.

The metal building is even more resistant to mice, weather, mould, and fire.

If you own antique automobiles, you usually require additional coverage for them. Having a reliable and secure storage area such as a steel garage can help lessen the cost of insurance.

2. Workshop

Crafting tasks are intricate and need a reliable environment to guarantee the finest outcome. 

Metal constructions are widely used for workshops since they are strong, tough, and more safeguarding than brick or wood dwellings. 

Since workshops store a lot of crucial instruments, a metallic building provides better security from animals, moisture, wind, and fire.

3. Commercial/ Industrial metal buildings

Metal structures are perfect for business owners, especially those with small to medium-sized enterprises that are looking to grow. 

Building a metal storage area is relatively simple and provides a roomy interior, which is suitable for many types of businesses. 

You can easily arrange the interior of the building to accommodate an office, restroom, storeroom, filing room, and much more. 

Furthermore, the absence of supporting beams mean you can use all the available space. If you want to expand your business, all you need to do is purchase expandable metal home kits. 

You can also buy and construct a second one and its design will not be too distinct.

4. Barns and agricultural buildings

Metal buildings are optimal for agricultural purposes as there is adequate area to store farm animals, tractors, harvesters, and other large objects. 

These structures are also well-suited for protecting against any destruction from bigger animals like horses, cows, or bulls. 

The metal building can also safeguard the livestock from the tough climate. One disadvantage of a metal building is the temperature, which is why it’s necessary to set up a heating system in colder regions with a freezing winter. 

Nevertheless, installing insulation in a metal building is not a difficult task.

5. Residential metal buildings

As the cost of purchasing a residence increases, an increasing number of people are deciding to move into a metal home. 

Such buildings are cost-effective, resilient, and simple to modify. While some may not appreciate the look of a metal home, others love its minimalistic design. 

Additionally, expanding a metal structure is a straightforward task, ideal for those who expect to grow their family.

6. Aviation metal buildings

The US Department of Defense necessitates that all aviation structures ought to be constructed using metal. It is indispensable to obtain metal-based home kits to erect a hangar.

A metal building provides an expansive area without any intrusive columns or beams, which is perfect for keeping an aircraft. 

Furthermore, it is robust and can defend the plane, as well as other equipment, from rough weather conditions.

7. Recreational and public facilities

Metal buildings are commonly used for recreational and public purposes. Their robust, long-lasting design and generous internal space makes them a great fit for gyms, supermarkets, indoor pools, and leisure centres.

The building’s size opens up a variety of possibilities for the owners in terms of planning the floor space. 

Ample space is available for putting up racks, exercise machines, tables and chairs, kitchen equipment, benches, courts, and more.

The roomy interior also affords the owners more leeway when it comes to running and growing their business. 

Additionally, relocating the building is much less of a hassle compared to traditional brick-and-mortar structures.


Metal building homes are an attractive option due to their low cost and ease of construction. The components of these homes come pre-assembled, and they can be built without too much difficulty by following the instructions. 

The models available vary, and various finishes like bricks or wood panels can be used. When constructing a metal home, extra expenses such as windows, doors, insulation, plumbing, permits, and insurance should be factored in. 

Professional contractors and builders can be hired to put the home together. Metal buildings have been utilized for a range of applications such as residential and recreational buildings, hangars, workshops, storage spaces, barns, and more. 

If you are in search of a spacious, adaptable, and robust building at an affordable price, metal building homes may be the right choice for you.

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