Steel has been used in construction since the first skyscrapers were built in the late 19th century. But recently, steel has become an option for smaller buildings and even personal residences. Using steel has certain advantages:

Steel is considered a “green” product in that it is entirely recyclable. In fact, a builder will be able to buy recycled steel for a new commercial building or home.

The material provides strength that is unavailable for buildings built with wood frames and brick walls. It does not warp, buckle, twist, or bend and is flexible and easy to install. Because of its increased quality and ease of maintenance steel is an attractive building material. It resists mold and mildew, a plague that sometimes afflicts wood frame buildings. Steel is sturdy enough that it resists the damage caused by natural disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Steel buildings are much more resistant to fire and termites. Because of steel’s greater durability, the owner of such a building could get a better deal on insurance.

Because of steel’s strength and durability compared to wood, architects have more flexibility in designing buildings and homes, creating greater spaces

Building with steel has some drawbacks, however. Steel is more costly than more conventional materials. How Stuff Works notes that a steel building is 14 percent more costly than an equivalent structure constructed with more conventional materials. To make a steel building truly energy efficient requires additional insulation because of the material conducts heat and cold more than conventional materials. If a steel building is not designed well, it may be prone to corrosion.

The trick to building with steel is to find a contractor who is experienced in using the material, as well as plumbers and electricians willing to work on a steel building. But building with steel is a worthwhile investment if one is willing to spend the money up front.