What Are the Disadvantages of Steel?

Potential disadvantages of steel include a higher cost in contrast to other building materials, potential for crumbling and eroding and tendency to burn easily. Steel comprises many residential and commercial structures, but like other building materials, contains drawbacks. Steel proves more susceptible to negative effects from the elements, including water and humidity, and does not insulate as well as wood and other building materials, making it less suitable for construction in colder climates.

Steel ranks among the sturdiest construction materials, but its strength vanishes rapidly in certain conditions. Exposure to the elements and to high heat weaken steel. Steel corrodes quickly and easily, making it prone to rusting and developing holes, which in turn lower its structural integrity.

Upon exposure to high levels of heat, steel attracts and retains heat rather than offsetting it. Steel poses significant threats to structures during building fires, as it disseminates flames and heat to other areas. In turn, this accelerates rather than slows the spread of fire.

Steel in outdoor environments requires routine care and maintenance, such as coating and painting. Without protective coverings, steel corrodes rapidly. With fireproofing and weatherproofing, however, steel proves resilient and valuable. It features higher levels of strength and flexibility compared to other common building products, making it a sound choice.