Many farms are bought with an existing infrastructure of buildings, some of which are in great condition but some of which are in serious need of repair. Most older style agricultural buildings are wooden structures, which are prone to wear and tear over the years. Wooden structures are susceptible to damage and deterioration from numerous sources.
The exposure of wood to the natural elements themselves can cause harm over time. Unless a wooden structure is properly treated regularly to maintain its resistance to water, it is only a matter of time before water begins to seep into the wood via cracks to cause rot. Once there is the presence of dampness in the wood, mold is soon to follow. Mold is a cause of concern for two reasons, firstly the dampness on the wood can accelerate wood rot, and secondly, the presence of mold can lead to harmful bacteria and health concerns for a farmer and their livestock. Typical reactions to the presence of mold can be wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, runny noses, itchy eyes and coughing.
Another potential source of problems for wood is related to insects that eat wooden structures. Termites are a well known pest that can devour large quantities of wood especially in warmer climates. Carpenter ants are more active in colder climates and powder post beetles tend to attack wooden structures in damp climates or at the coast. Once these pests get into your wooden structure the rate of damage to the wood can be quite quick and within only a few months you could be exposed to significant structural issues.
Perhaps the most catastrophic source of potential damage to a wooden agricultural building is fire. Fire is one of the greatest threats that a farmer will face in terms of livestock, crops and the safety of farm equipment. A wooden building becomes a major risk in the case of fire. Not only will the building itself be lost but everything contained in it, whether it is farm equipment or even livestock or grain.
For these reasons, many farmers are turning to metal buildings for their superior characteristics and their resistance to many of the risks that wood is susceptible to. A steel building is extremely flexible and can be designed to suit almost any configuration. The clear span length can extend to 40’ and length and height are adjustable to the customer’s specification.
Metal buildings are far more resistant to the elements than their wooden alternatives. They are waterproof through the coating applied and this does not need to be resealed regularly as for wood. Mold does not grow on metal structures and so the prevention of damp and allergic reactions are all completely avoided. There are no known pests that attack metal like termites and carpenter ants attack wood. A metal structure is impervious to all these vulnerabilities.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of metal buildings is their resistance to fire. This resistance offers great peace of mind to the farmer that both his building and his stored goods and livestock are protected in the event of a major fire catastrophe. An additional significant benefit is the reduction in insurance premiums as a result of the use of a metal building as opposed to a wooden structure.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above on your wooden farm buildings, it could be time to consider an upgrade to a metal building that will better take care of your goods and livestock.