We all know that weather in the Texas Panhandle usually borders on the extreme. With the drought, wind, extreme cold of winter, extreme heat of summer, and occasional tornadoes, buildings here must be able to stand up to whatever is thrown at them. A building must be ready for anything. Buildings made of steel, as opposed to other building materials like concrete, wood, and brick, will outlast the Texas weather conditions for many years. Here’s how steel stands against several of our extreme conditions.
Amarillo, TX was actually named the windiest city in the United States. Over time, constant high wind like we have here in West Texas can cause buildings to shift, bend, and buckle. This is not the case with steel. Steel will not bend in the wind. It also has the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material.
Extreme Cold & Snow
Heavy snow loads can cause weak buildings to bend and roofs to collapse. However, steel is extremely strong. It also requires very little to no winter maintenance unlike a building material like wood, which will chip and rot from heavy snowfall causing a building owner to perform constant repairs and maintenance. Even brick does not hold up as well as steel in the winter. High moisture causes brick to lose some of its mortar and its strength. It must be cleaned and repainted to remain strong.
Steel outlasts the extreme, bitter cold that often comes with a Panhandle winter. While steel is not a good insulator by itself, it is a good conductor. This means that it will move the cold temperatures to the outside of the structure while the rooms inside stay warm. To get the most bang for your buck in a steel structure, use a steel heating system which will create maximum efficiency and it will reduce snow loads.
Extreme Heat & Drought
In hot, humid climates condensation is a major concern for steels buildings, as the added moisture can cause corrosion. Wetness and humidity is not a problem in West Texas but steel buildings still need to be properly insulated to increase heating and cooling efficiency and protect what’s inside the building.
Also, steel buildings will hold up better than any other building material in the event of a Texas drought-caused fire. Steel’s fire properties have been researched more than any other building material which means that engineers have found the best ways to make steel more resistant in fire. No fire has ever caused a steel-framed high rise building to collapse. Unlike wood, steel is non-combustible. The fire resistance of concrete has not been extensively studied.
In Amarillo, TX, we get the highest high temperatures, the lowest low temperatures, and everything in between. Make sure your building is up to the task.