Fabric Buildings vs Steel Buildings

Fabric buildings and steel buildings have perhaps more in common than other building types. After all, Legacy buildings are built on a hot dip galvanized steel frame. In general, all buildings with a steel frame will have the following benefits:

  • Quick and easy to install 
  • Customizable to any size
  • Environmentally friendly (steel I-beams are made of recycled steel)

However, there are a number of important differences between steel and fabric structures. When comparing the two side-by-side, it’s apparent that fabric buildings have many advantages.

Fabric structures are more comfortable

  • Steel is highly conductive. This means that inside a steel building will be too hot on a hot day or too cold on a cold day. That’s counterproductive to being inside for protection from the elements. Fabric structures are more reflective, so it is easier to maintain a comfortable inside environment.
  • Because they are less reflective, membrane buildings are also less prone to “sweating,” so the inside of your building (and the contents) will stay dry.
  • A fabric building will be naturally well-lit. Light can’t penetrate through steel like it can through fabric. A fabric structure will be filled with natural light, saving on energy costs and eliminating dark corners and shadows. 

Fabric structures hold up better

  • After just a short time, steel will corrode. Unless you can keep your steel building from contact with rain, snow, salt and other corrosive elements, there’s just no way to keep the ugly, unsafe corrosion from eating at your building. 
  • Because fabric structures are not held together by nails and inflexible sheets of steel, there is no way for moisture to leak in through the roof or walls. In addition to staying dry, you won’t have to deal with drip marks and dampness inside your building.  
  • Fabric buildings can be repaired for as low as $2 per square foot. Because steel is a more expensive building material and entire sheets need to be replaced each time, the repair cost can be three times as much. 

Fabric structures have more long-term options

  • Fabric buildings can easily be taken down, moved and put up again in a new location. Try this with a steel building and all new cladding will be needed because of existing nail holes – in addition to the storage and transport headaches of large, stiff steel sheets. Portable fabric buildings are perfect for leased spaces, job buildings, military uses and other times when you may need to relocate in a few years. Fabric structures are some of the only buildings that can move with you. 
  • A fabric structure comes with a warrantee, even in the harshest environment. For added protection, you can even add a fabric liner inside a fabric building so that the steel frame never comes in contact with corrosives.

Combining a sturdy steel frame with heavy duty fabric gives you the best of both worlds. We use only sturdy steel frames for our fabric buildings – never aluminum frames or trusses. The building will be sturdy enough to withstand years of use and abuse. The cover will make your building more pleasant inside and look great for years to come. And you’ll save money and maintenance with a bright, breathable building.