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7 Ways Steel Buildings Resist Damage from the Elements

How Steel’s Tough Construction Defeats Mother Nature

Whether for agricultural, commercial, industrial, or personal use, a building is an investment. It’s important to use weather-resistant building materials in order to protect that investment, and RHINO’s pre-engineered steel buildings are the best choice for standing strong against the elements. When winds howl, lightning flashes, fire rages, or the earth trembles, prefabricated steel buildings meet the challenge better than traditionally constructed structures.

Engineer-certified to meet or exceed all local building codes, commercial-grade steel framing provides maximum damage protection for your investment. Here are just seven of the many ways the tough construction of RHINO prefabricated steel buildings protects against the elements.

Damaged wood buildings and storm debris after a natural disaster

1. High Winds

When straight-line winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, or derechos blow through, a pre-engineered metal building outperforms wood-framed buildings and other structures. Every RHINO building is designed to meet all local wind load requirements, and even higher wind loads are possible upon request.

Most wind damage in a structure happens when strong winds breach the building envelope through broken windows or large overhead doors.  High winds can literally lift a wood-framed structure from the foundation as nails pull out under the pressure of the winds. This is why weather-resistant building materials like steel are the best option for areas that experience high winds. Attached to the foundation with sturdy metal j-bolts buried in the cement, metal buildings resist the lifting force far better.

2. Fire

Steel does not burn like wood. Steel is never the point of ignition in a structural fire, while fires often begin in wood framing. If a fire does start in a steel structure, the non-combustible steel framing will not fuel the fire. Wood, however, can spread and intensify the damage.

One common cause of fires is lightning. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, lightning starts 17,400 fires every year. Forty-one percent of those fires are structural. In a properly grounded metal building, lightning passes harmlessly into the ground, without starting a fire.

Additionally, using weather-resistant building materials like steel can provide a financial benefit. Because of the built-in fire resistance, many insurance carriers offer discounted rates to metal building owners.

3. Earthquakes

The best structures for earthquakes are those that can “give” without breaking when the ground is swaying. 

Brick buildings may crack or collapse during a quake. In wood-framed structures, nails often pull out and studs crack or split, collapsing under the stress of an earthquake. Steel framing that uses welded connections cannot shift with the swaying.

The framing in pre-engineered steel buildings, however, uses high-strength bolts, known as moment connectors. The framing gives at the connections as the framing pieces rotate slightly around the connectors. The whole building moves as a unit, absorbing the energy of an earthquake. Pre-engineered steel buildings combine the tough construction of steel with the movement needed to stand strong on shaking ground.

4. Heavy Snows

Snow can weigh as much as 15 pounds per cubic foot. So a foot of snow covering a 40’ x 60’ building could weigh as much as 18 tons!

No matter how much snow your area receives, RHINO buildings can handle it. Our pre-engineered metal buildings are certified by an engineer to meet or exceed all local building codes, including snow loads.

5. Driving Rain

RHINO steel buildings provide many waterproofing advantages. Steel is a weather-resistant building material, but our buildings are specifically designed to withstand intense rains. Some of RHINO’s waterproofing features include:

  • Strong, durable, self-drilling screws with EPDM sealing washers
  • Premium steel ridge caps
  • An entire eave-sealing system
  • Formed-based trim to waterproof the base connections of the structure
  • Optional higher roof pitches, for faster drainage
  • Gutter and downspout systems
  • Stronger, 26-gauge PBR steel roofing panels, with extra overlap for stronger connections

6. Mold

Mold needs only two things to thrive: an organic host to feed on and moisture. Inorganic steel will not support mold, and the waterproofing benefits mentioned above also reduce the likelihood of moisture being present. Without those two elements, mold cannot thrive in steel buildings.

7. Termites

Organic substances like wood attract termites, carpenter ants, mice, and other vermin. But none of these can munch on inorganic steel. Without an organic material to fuel them, these irritants make their home elsewhere.


When you’re looking for weather-resistant building materials, trust the tough construction of steel. Protect your building investment by working with RHINO. Contact us today at 940.383.9566 to learn more.