Home Real Estate How Does Soil And Weather Impact Metal Building Installation?

How Does Soil And Weather Impact Metal Building Installation?

After a lot of research, you decided to install a steel building on your lot. But wait a sec., have you examined the soil and your local weather conditions? Soil quality and type, along with weather, will be deciding factors on what type of foundation will fit the best for your metal structure. How? Have a closer look at it.

Influence Of Soil On The Installation Of Metal Building

Soil can impact the life of your steel structure. It contains moisture content, which varies with type. Higher moisture content leads to a poor base and issues with the foundation. Let’s see some common soil types.

Clay Soil

These are made of fine particles with high water holding ability. Changing seasons can make clay contract or expand by absorbing moisture. This can lead to movement in the foundation. So, proper planning for drainage and base design becomes crucial to lessen the associated risk.

Verdict: For clay type of soil, drilled pier & beam or slab-on-grade is the best foundation.

Sand & Gravel

These are mostly made of crushed rocks and quartz. Since particles are large here, they offer excellent drainage. However, they lack cohesive strength. These are generally stable, but you will need to prepare the site thoroughly to avoid any shifting before pouring the base for the metal building. Usually, the installation cost here would be less as the simple base is needed.

Verdict: A helical pier and raft base are the best sand and gravel soil foundations.

Rock & Bedrock

These are relatively stable and have a high load bearing ability. The cost to reach the rock layer to lay any foundation can be high. Yet, bedrock is reliable and has minimal movement. That’s why it serves as a solid base for steel building. You won’t need additional foundation support.

Verdict: Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are the best foundation for rock or bedrock types of soil. 

You can also opt for a strip, pad, or raft base.


It is a balanced type of soil, which is a combination of sand, silt, and clay. It is generally used in gardening. It has better drainage and gives adequate support to your metal building. In spite of that, it can expand when wet and contract when dry, which may cause the foundation to move.

Verdict: For loam type of soil, an isolated pad/ spread footing base is the best foundation.

What To Do?

  1. Get soil inspected before installation of foundation.
  2. Opt for soil that is well draining.
  3. See if it can support heavy structural load.
  4. Choose a foundation according to soil type.
  5. For poor soil quality, dig and fill with quality soil before pouring the base.

Influence Of Weather On The Installation Of Steel Building


Excessive moisture, rainfall, and drainage issues can lead to shifting of the base. Heavy and continuous rain can cause soil erosion and the development of cracks in the foundation. In places prone to flooding, planning before laying the base is crucial.

High Speed Wind

Lateral forces exert pressure on steel buildings and can move the foundation and, worst, the entire structure from its base. Usually, in this case, extra anchors are used to attach the structure from its base. To achieve extra stability, a thick concrete base is recommended for extreme weather-prone areas.

Temperature Sway

Extreme changes in temperature can pose a huge challenge for steel structure bases. For areas with freezing temperatures, soil can freeze, causing the surrounding areas to expand. To tackle this, the foundation and anchors are laid below the frost line of the soil.

For areas with hot climates, soil that has expansive or contractive properties can cause movement or settlement issues.

Season Change

Local weather conditions should be taken into account before choosing a foundation for any metal building. Ensure they have adequate load bearing ability and stability.

What To Do?

  1. Have a better drainage system away from the metal structure. Use a gutter to redirect water.
  2. Get an insulator during installation (for the foundation if needed).
  3. Get professional help to avoid shifting of base with time.
  4. Plan installation in steer clear weather season.
  5. Use a steel bar (rust proof) as reinforcement.

Tips: For A Stable & Robust Concrete Base

  1. Choose an area that is plain rather than steep. A steep area will cost more to build a base.
  2. Clean the area by removing any large pieces of rocks, boulders, vegetation, etc.
  3. Level the site properly.
  4. Compact the soil with water.
  5. Mark the sides with rope & temporary frame.
  6. Use steel bars and reinforcement for durability.
  7. Pour the concrete mix.

Check in with your local zoning laws and building codes to know if they have any specific requirements before you begin the installation. Most of the time, there are guidelines that you are supposed to follow. It would be best to check in with the local authority first, get the blueprint and permit approved, and then proceed to buy the metal structure. Any changes after buying raw materials will turn out to be a costly and time-consuming affair.

To Briefly Paraphrase

Both the type of soil on your property and local weather conditions impact the stability and longevity of your metal building. Regardless of where you are installing the steel building, in your backyard as a metal garden shed or in the front yard as a steel garage, site inspection and clearance are crucial before you select the design and orientation.

For best results, you can hire a site inspector for guidance, clean the site before pouring the base, and look into zoning laws to know about any legal details.

Ana Hoffman
Anna Hoffman is a part-time blogger who writes on Business, Technology, Digital Marketing, Real Estate, Lifestyle, and Educational topics.
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