Steel vs. Brick: Why Steel is the Clear Winner

When it comes to constructing a solid building, the question remains: brick or steel? Brick structures look great and they seem just as sturdy, but there are plenty of reasons why steel is the better choice for your next project. In a general sense, steel is more suitable because it offers a higher value.

Steel Is Better for the Environment

Steel is better for the environment in a number of ways. Steel projects require fewer materials during construction, and the finished structures require less maintenance. Furthermore, they are energy efficient, so when looking at long-term costs they can help you save money. It's even possible to get a tax credit from the government for using manufactured steel because the resulting structures are so eco-friendly.

Bricks do not decompose particularly well at the end of their life cycle. Worse yet, bricks can undergo the decomposition process much faster resulting in the generation of mold; which I'm sure you know is hazardous to one's health. Steel on the other hand is mostly comprised of recyclable materials, which translates to a much better air quality inside the building. No one wants to spend their time in a building predisposed to mold, yuck.

Steel Is Easier to Build With

When a structure is being built, workers have to assemble various components before they can even begin the main project. With steel most of the pieces are available as modular units and they can be easily plotted using construction management software. This means they can be shipped directly to the construction site to be assembled more quickly than other materials. Since prefabricated buildings are already bundled with the necessary materials, there are rarely any delays or setbacks during the build process.

If one were to use brick for the same project, the materials would take longer to acquire. The entire construction process will take longer as well, since brick and similar materials require more work to assemble. That is, brick needs to be properly seated, grouted and then insulated, whereas steel only needs to be placed and secured. It just proves the point that construction projects which make use of steel are usually finished faster than those using other materials. That speed increases exponentially when working with a prefabricated building since all of the drilling, welding and cutting is handled during manufacturing.

Steel Buildings Are Easier to Expand

It's good to note that if you were to run out of space, steel buildings are easier to expand. All you would have to do is knock out an end wall, and then you can extend the structure by adding on to the framework. You can acquire the same materials used in the original construction, without fear of them being obsolete or having been replaced by another type. You can even reuse the end wall panels that were taken down for the expansion because of how durable steel is. That brings us to our next point.

Steel is Very Durable

Not only can steel last in extreme conditions, but it can also hinder the spread of fire since it's flame retardant. Better yet, steel paneling is designed to withstand heavy snowfall, high wind speeds and even earth tremors. If you can't already tell, steel is very durable. That being said, a good mason can make a structure with brick that's just as durable so the benefits of steel in this regard aren't quite so overwhelming.

To increase the life of various steel components they can be coated with aluminum compounds in order to prevent rusting when exposed to the elements. As mentioned above, brick will actually decompose much faster than steel and can often be a catalyst for mold.

If you wanted to move steel, or a structure comprised of it you can do that. That is not possible with a structure developed out of brick and mortar however. Steel won't crack, break or warp while dismantling or moving it either. The very same holds true when it's exposed to heavy loads or conditions.

But... Steel Is Not as Aesthetically Appealing

When comparing steel and brick, there's no question about which material is more visually appealing. By its lonesome, steel isn't great to look at, but there are plenty of ways to fix that. You can actually use stone, stucco, glass or even brick to compliment the appearance of steel.

That is perhaps the most apparent reason why steel is the better choice. You get all of the added benefits of using the material, and you can compound said benefits by using other materials along with it. For example, you can use a steel frame and roof, and then use another material like brick or wood for the exterior walls.

Steel is simply the best choice for your constructing needs. After all, they call Superman the Man of Steel - not the Man of Brick.

About the author:

Michael is a full-time blogger who has passions in all corners of the online world. In his down time he enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and blogging on everything from technology, to business, to marketing, and beyond. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.