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Steel Buildings in Canadian Weather


Steel structures are known for their unparalleled durability, but can they withstand the toughest tests Canadian weather has to offer?

The subarctic climates of central and northern Canada see temperatures below -20° C throughout the majority of their extended winters, occasionally falling near the Yukon all time record low -63° C (-81.4° F). Snow and ice cover the surface for more than half of the typical year, with snows measuring up to 130 inches over as many as 93 days of snowfall. Winter weather can often come in its extremes. Blizzards bring winds exceeding 40 km/h, reduced visibility, heavy snow and freezing rain. These storms can last anywhere from several hours to several days. Ice storms dump exorbitant amounts of freezing rain, which builds up on rooftops and can cause them to buckle. To withstand heavy snow and ice, you’ll need a building that won’t cave under the pressure. Luckily, steel buildings are designed to handle conditions just like these, with strength and durability to stand through conditions a typical wooden structure simply wouldn’t. Our purlin-braced roof panels are made of 26 gauge AZ55 Galvalume steel with 1¼” inch depth in the corrugation, which adds a great deal of strength to the roof, preventing any risk of cracking, bending or leaking.

But, you still need to plan your design to match your snow load needs and local specifications in order to get the most out of your structure. Snow loads can put in excess of 100 pounds per square foot atop a roof, and the wrong design can lead to sagging, leaking roofs with potential to collapse. Our engineers will work with you to calculate the proper snow load for your needs, taking into consideration factors like necessary roof pitch, wind exposure and ground snow information in your area. With the proper roof pitch, snow and ice will slide off your structure, leaving you worry-free.

While roof pitch will solve most snow and ice issues for you, you can also use several tools to alleviate any remaining snow load; roof rakes with 20-foot handles that can pull snow and ice off of a roof, de-icers that can heat the roof’s surface to melt away snow and ice, and snow guards, which hook onto roof panels to break up snowfall and ice buildup making it more easy to clear.

With steel, you also don’t have to worry about rust from exposure to conditions. Out Galvalume AZ55 steel roofing in highly rust-resistant, and protected by a 40-year limited rust-through perforation warranty.

It isn’t just winter weather that can prove hazardous to a structure. Canadian wind storms can gust at speeds exceeding 90 km/h. Canada also experiences up to 80 tornadoes per year, with winds exceeding 200 km/h. You’ll be relieved to know that, unlike wooden structures, steel buildings are built to withstand even hurricane force winds.

Thunderstorms with heavy rainfall can cause flooding, especially if they arrive as winter snow begins to thaw in spring. With wooden structures, flooding is not only more likely as wood easily corrodes and rots, but it can leave water damage and moisture, which develops into mold and mildew. Steel buildings don’t have this issue, with quality roofing and sturdy walls that won’t leak and won’t retain moisture.

Hail storms, which commonly occur as often as 10 times per year between May and October, pelt walls and rooftops with hailstones that can be as large as grapefruit. For wooden surfaces, the damage can be catastrophic, especially to exterior paint, which will likely require at least an annual coat to retain its aesthetic appeal. Our steel buildings offer polyester baked-on paint with a 40 year warranty against cracking, peeling and blistering, because we’re sure our paint job will withstand the elements for years to come without any touch ups required.

Finally, lightning strikes can spark wildfires, like the ones most recently seen in British Columbia, where more than 860 fires burnt nearly 5,000 kilometers of land, damaging property and risking lives with an intensity that was visible from space. For owners of wooden structures, fire marks a costly end to businesses, homes, storage and more. But with steel, your need to worry about wildfire disappears entirely.

So, yes, steel buildings pass every test Canada has to offer. So, call today and speak with our experts about designing the right building to suit your specific needs.