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Expand on a Budget: The Cheapest House to Build in 2022

Daniel Torres

As the housing market and inflation continue to fluctuate, many Americans are struggling to find affordable homes in an area that fits their needs.

That’s why an increasing number of families are choosing to build their own homes from the ground up instead of purchasing a pre-existing structure.

While building a home allows you the freedom to select designs, update appliances, and include a myriad of personal touches, there are some important factors to consider when selecting your materials. Let’s explore the most cost-effective house you can build in 2022.

Why Metal Homes are Affordable to Build

When considering the cost of materials and labor alone, building a metal home can be as much as 30% more affordable than a traditional wood house. Since steel homes are much more durable and less susceptible to damage, maintenance and repair costs also tend to be much lower, saving you money in long-term upkeep.


Additionally, customizing metal homes can take up a lot less time, which in turn reduces labor costs. While building a custom traditional home can ordinarily take several months, completing a steel home can take around two to three weeks. This is especially true if all customizations were made to the prefabricated steel prior to assembly, allowing your new home to be built that much faster.

How soon are you hoping to install your metal building? Talk to one of our  specialists about available dates.

Costs to Build a Metal Home

While steel homes are generally more affordable when compared to traditional homes, several unique factors may impact the end price of your home. To help you fully balance these elements, let’s dive deeper into the costs of building a steel home.  


The cost of materials used in a steel building is generally much lower than for a wood building. This is especially true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, prices of processed wood products, including softwood lumber and plywood, quadrupled. In fact, even wholesale prices for plywood increased from $400 to $1500 per thousand square feet. 

With an increased number of at-home workers driving demand for lumber as they tackle home improvement projects—and slowed imports of wood from Canada into the U.S. due to shipping constraints—the cost of wood products continues to surge. 

Growing demand has increased the cost of completing a wood building to $45-$65 per square foot, while steel buildings cost about $19-$25 per square foot. Beyond the baseline materials needed to build the frame of your home, you’ll also need to consider other materials like a concrete slab for your foundation, insulations, drywall, flooring, electricity, and plumbing.


Since most steel homes are built from prefabricated kits, constructing the building itself should be a lot faster than a wood structure. All materials are pre-cut prior to arriving at your property, so the pieces just need to be erected and attached. Once your concrete foundation is poured and dried, your steel home should only take a few weeks to complete.

While labor rates will range based on your state and county, the average rate should remain the same, regardless of whether a steel or wood building is being constructed. However, a steel building will be completed much faster, which will save you on overall labor charges.

Long-Term Savings

Depending on the customizations you want, the changing rate of material costs, and the overall size of your building, the upfront costs of building a wood home may sometimes be lower than that of a steel home. However, steel homes will always win out in long-term savings.

Steel buildings are generally much more durable than traditional homes. They are more structurally sound, more weather resistant, fire resistant, and pest resistant, and generally require less maintenance. This not only means lower year-over-year maintenance and upkeep costs but also suggests a lower insurance rate as insurers tend to favor steel’s durability. 

Metal homes are also more energy efficient, and you can easily incorporate geothermal heat pumps, solar energy, systems, and wind turbines. This allows you to consistently save on energy bills.

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All buildings require some level of maintenance throughout their life. However, wood tends to require much more maintenance and upkeep than steel. Wood is susceptible to dampness and can easily rot if not re-stained or repainted every few years. It’s also at higher risk of suffering from pest damage, especially from termites. 

The average traditional roof only lasts about 15 years and will need to be replaced sometime after construction, sooner if you live in an area with more extreme weather. In general, wood can warp, rot, crack, and burn, requiring expensive replacements and consistent upkeep. 

Steel, on the other hand, does not split, rot, or warp. Warranties on metal roofs typically last 40 to 50 years, and the lighter materials tend to cause fewer cracks in the building’s foundation over time.

Estimated Metal Home Costs

While the overall cost of your new home will vary based on customizations, location, and your current property, here are two home pricing examples to help you determine if a steel home is right for you.

Width x Length

Sq Footage

# Bedrooms

Building Kit Cost From


1,600 sq ft




2,000 sq ft




Build Your New Home with a Trusted Steel Building Company

If you are seriously considering taking the leap to building your own home, then you know that even the smallest details can make or break your project. That’s why the dependability, efficiency, and affordability of steel make it the perfect choice for your future home. 

Finding the right company to trust with your future home is crucial. Alpha Structures has years of experience taking the vision of future homeowners and making it a reality, from selecting and modifying a design to breaking ground and finishing the project.


Metal Buildings Cost