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Concrete vs Steel Buildings Cost Analysis

Navy Steel Building | concrete vs steel buildings cost

Typically, when a person begins considering a new building structure, whether it be for a residential home, garage or shed, storage building, or even a commercial building, the first question that needs to be answered is what type of building material should they use? There are several possibilities to choose from. Concrete? Wood? Steel? While all 3 have advantages and disadvantages depending on the use of your project, this blog will be a general comparison of concrete vs steel buildings cost, from materials and construction to long-term costs.

Cost of Materials

Concrete pricing is a stable industry and concrete ingredients can be inexpensive and easily available.

Steel’s affordability is its biggest hidden secret. Steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any material used for building. It creates a much stronger building while using much less material. The result is a lower cost.

Most steel that Simpson Steel Building Company uses comes from recycled materials which plays a big part in the cost being so much less. Steel industry scrap collection system recaptures nearly all discarded steel products for recycling. Because of this, steel prices also stay relatively consistent over time.

Cost of Construction

Concrete construction can be very labor-intensive and typically requires a skilled contractor and team if you want the best results. You also must wait for the concrete to cure thoroughly. This lengthens construction time which causes higher construction costs.

Steel building construction for Simpson Steel Buildings is significantly less. Our buildings are prefabricated and pre-engineered. This cuts out a significant amount of construction time and costs. The prefabricated framing requires a smaller, less experienced team to get the job done perfectly. Depending on the size of your project and your skill level, a good amount of Simpson Steel Building kits is constructed as DIY buildings. Handling the construction on your own will save even more money. A good do-it-yourselfer can handle our completely bolt together building kits, but they would not be able to handle a full concrete constructed building.

Long-Term Costs

Make sure you are also considering the long-term costs when choosing your construction material for your building.

Concrete buildings will help reduce temperature swings and drafts which will save money on heating and cooling, but they also require constant maintenance and repair.

Simpson Steel buildings hold their value for multiple decades with almost no maintenance. Steel buildings do have issues with energy efficiency but adding an insulation package to your building will easily help take care of the problem. Adding insulation to your steel building will help reduce heating and cooling costs significantly.


If you are also wanting to be conscientious of the environment, steel buildings are the eco-friendlier way to go.

While concrete can be recycled once its usefulness runs out, it cannot be used for construction again. It is also not economically viable to recycle. This means that roughly half of the construction concrete is recycled. The rest ends up being dumped in landfills.

Steel is the only material that retains all its strength no matter how many times it has been recycled. So, it can be used over and over again. Nearly 100% of all structural steel is recycled. Recycling steel costs less than producing brand new steel.

If you are ever demolishing your building, you’d have to pay someone to come and haul away the concrete remnants. Scrap dealers though will pay you for all your steel framing during deconstruction!

Which Should You Use for Your Project?

In the end, concrete vs steel buildings cost is just one factor – the choice between steel buildings or concrete buildings will come down to what works best for your specific project. Make sure to take a look at your design, building use and building codes and both the short- and long-term costs of each building type.

Whatever your project is, let Simpson Steel Building Company prove that our building will fit your needs in one of the best and most economical ways possible. Contact us today to learn more!

1117 Solitude Drive Van Buren, AR 72956