Home Improvement

How Can Metal Barns be Considered a Safe Choice For Livestock?

Many ranchers would agree maintaining livestock along with making a profit is getting tough day by day in the United States. With rising prices of land, stagnant beef prices, health issues, safety concerns, and tough competition from Canada and Mexico, ranchers have to figure out innovative ways to keep up their farm life. One such innovation in material that has been around for decades is metal barn structures. Let’s see how they can be a safer option for ranchers than any wooden structures.

Are Metal Barns Safer Than Traditional Barns For Your Livestock?

1. Metal Livestock Barn Are Affordable Structures To Build

If there is anything that bugs agribusiness owner, it is the rising cost of barn buildings and their annual maintenance charges. A typical wooden barn costs $45 to $65 per sq. ft., and we have not even included the HAVC system. Now, if we compare it with metal barns, a finished metal structure will cost around $11 to $26 per sq. ft. (It can be up to $40 for complex designs.)

Quick Cost Comparison:

  • Wood Barn – 30 x 40 ~ $18k to $45k.
  • Metal Barn – 30 x 40 ~ $11k.

[Any customization will increase the price further in both cases.]

2. The Upkeep Necessity Is Minimum

Buying a barn is one of many costs a rancher has to bear. There are monthly charges for upkeep. This includes repainting, staining, repairing, and replacing any wooden frame, post, beam, or panel. You can estimate the annual repair and maintenance cost to be 1.5% of the barns’ original price.

Luckily, metals do not need frequent painting or any staining. It just needs cleaning. You can do it with a hose or power washing annually. In case you spot any minor rusting, you can scrap it off with sandpaper, then use a primer coat followed by metal paint to seal it. It is essential that you use a paint meant for metal.

3. Metal Barns Are Not Liable To Pathogens

The biggest problem with wood is that it is organic. Hence, it attracts all kinds of pests, such as termites, insects, and rodents, that will feed on wood and, worst, take a toll on your animal’s body. Some pests are parasites that may suck nutrients out of animals, weakening them physically. Removal of such pests takes a lot of time and money out of your wallet.

Not just that, some of these insects dig in the wooden posts or frames to make a home. This may weaken the structure. With time, it may cause a loss of structural integrity.

With steel, you save more bucks as you don’t have to call the pest inspection & control team every month. Remember, the larger your barn is, the harder & more time-consuming it will become to inspect & replace.

4. They Are Resistive To Weather Conditions

This is where livestock metal barns stand from the rest of the materials. A steel barn can be designed to withstand wind speeds up to 150 to 170 mph and tolerate snow loads up to 20 lbs. per sq. ft. A wooden structure might just be airborne in such conditions.

And that is not it! Wood absorbs water during rain or snow to expand, and summer heat makes wood brittle. Hence, it results in bending, twisting, cracking, rotting, and decaying of the wooden structure with time. But not with steel. A fully insulated steel building is unaffected by changing weather.

5. They Offer More Protection Against Fire

Wood is readily combustible. It just takes a spark to start a fire. Once it started, it spread widely at a speed where you couldn’t really help. On the flip side, steel is non-combustible. Steel does not catch fire easily.

In the event of fire, an insulated steel structure will slow down the spread of fire. Meanwhile, it will give you enough time to vacate your livestock barn and call help for fire extinguishing.

6. Your Livestock Is Safe From Predators

Now, wood can be chewed by rodents and torn by strong jaws. Compromised wooden panels may let carnivores enter your barn and steal chicken or calf. This will lead to a loss of animals and revenue.

Steel is dense and can’t be cut or chewed by animals. Forced entry by any predator into a steel barn is next to zero unless you leave a window or door open.

7. Steel Barns Are Highly Customizable

There is one thing you can never achieve with a wooden barn: ‘a clear-span interior’. You can’t have a large wooden building without any internal support column. But steel can be designed to be clear span for up to 300 ft. wide and length as long as you wish.

With no internal support columns, you get maximum use of your square footage. Also, you have complete freedom to design the barn’s interior according to your animals’ size & needs.

Problems With Metal Barns

Rusting! Yes, whenever we talk about steel or other livestock metal barns, the one thing that comes to mind is corrosion. There are three ways in which rusting is tackled. And no, they don’t cost tons, either. Could you have a look at all three of them below?


  1. Painting metal: You can apply a cost or two of paint suitable for metals to create a layer that won’t let air come in contact with direct metal. This will prohibit rusting and prolong the life of your livestock metal barn.
  2. Galvanized steel: Steel is coated with a layer of zinc to stop rusting. Galvanized steel does not need any paint coat. But you can still customize it if you want a specific color. It is not suitable for a highly acidic environment.
  3. Weathering steel: Here, steel develops a rust-like patina that stops further rusting. Here, too, there is no need to apply paint coating. It is stronger and more rust-resistant than any other type of metal. It is low in carbon as well. If there is any scratch, it will self-heal itself. It is, however, not suitable for environments with high chlorine.

You Might Like: The Beauty of Sliding Wardrobes in Home Organization


We can say that a high-quality steel barn built with excellent craftsmanship can withstand any trouble to protect your livestock. Metal livestock barns are the most durable structures that retain their structural strength against the test of time. They are built to last.

For such long-lasting barn buildings, always trust a reputed metal builder with industry experience. Ensure your contractor pours quality concrete slab that will hold the weight of the entire structure along with all animals.

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