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Windows in Metal Buildings

How to Choose Windows for Steel Buildings

Installing windows in metal buildings is quick and easy.  And with your RHINO prefab steel structure, you may choose any style window that you would use in any other building.

Pros and Cons of Kit Windows in Metal Buildings

Graphic picture indicates installing windows in metal buildings.Most metal building suppliers offer metal building windows as an option.  Designed specifically for the metal building industry, these windows allow light and ventilation into the structure.

However, these steel building windows also come with severe limitations.  For instance, windows for metal buildings are often not as sturdy as regular windows.

For example, metal building windows— those designed specifically for steel structures— have no sub-frame.

In fact, these industry-specific steel building windows attach directly to the external steel panel— not the building’s framing.

Steel building windows screw onto the largest rib of the steel exterior panel. Consequently, the exterior panel’s placement forces the window’s location to conform to wherever the panel ribs fall.  This configuration makes putting the window exactly where you want it very challenging.

Screwing the window to the sheathing also creates a weaker connection than a window attached directly to the steel framing.

Design Freedom with Traditional Windows

Photo of framing windows in steel buildings.In many commercial and industrial structures, the exact location of a window may be crucial to the overall design.

Also, builders often prefer a more energy-efficient and traditional window style.

Fortunately, any style window used in traditional construction also works perfectly for RHINO metal building installation.

Therefore, RHINO Steel Building Systems does not recommend— nor sell— typical metal building windows.


Because we find our customers greatly prefer to buy their glass and windows locally.  Choosing their own style of windows provides several advantages over cheaply made metal building windows, including:

  • Larger choice of window styles and sizes
  • Superior selection of insulated window styles
  • Greater freedom in locating windows
  • Sturdier installation through direct attachment to the framing
  • No chance of fragile windows breaking when shipped with the steel framing kit

Field Location for Framing Windows in Steel Buildings

Photo of a RHINO brick-covered building with fixed glass windows.In metal building construction, windows are “field located.”  That means the builder chooses where to install the opening at the job site.

Here are a few considerations before deciding on window placement…

  • A window cannot be located where there is a steel support column. Since steel columns are typically 20’to 25’ apart, this is usually not a problem.
  • Never place windows in a section of framing with X-bracing. If the exact location of a window is important, let your metal building company know BEFORE engineering begins.  They can move the X-bracing to another section, if necessary.
  • If your design calls for large expanses of glass or multiple windows, notify your steel building supplier BEFORE engineering begins on your building.


Depend on your local lumberyard or building center for your metal building windows.  Trust RHINO with the rest.

Tips on Framing Windows for Metal Buildings

Call RHINO today at 940.383.9566 to learn more about specific recommendations for metal building window installation.

RHINO’s metal building specialists have years of experience. You will find their knowledge and expertise in metal building window installation and selection invaluable when planning your steel building.

 (Updated 5-6-2020.  Originally published 11-13-2015.)