Misc. Options

Miscellaneous design upgrades for metal buildings

cupola on a metal building

Metal buildings have many options for customization. You can choose the color, roof style, and doors and windows. But what if you want something a little more unique? Here are a few miscellaneous options to consider for your metal building.

Ventilation for Metal Buildings

Effective ventilation is critical. It minimizes condensation (very important in metal buildings), helps keep the air in a building fresh, and plays a significant role in regulating temperature, keeping a building cooler during the warmer seasons.

Regulations for energy conservation have driven advances in ventilation and the development of new products.

The most economical ventilation systems rely on natural convection plus the effect of wind on various types of vents. However, this does rely on there being frequent wind.

The alternative is a powered system. This, of course, has the advantage that it is independent of any ambient conditions – you have control.

To ensure sufficient ventilation throughout the entire structure, combining more than one type of ventilation device and moving air between them, achieving what is known as cross-ventilation. What you’ll need will be affected by the climate, the size and configuration of your building, and the uses to which it is put.

Some typical examples of metal building vent systems are louvers, ridge vents, various types of gravity vents, and turbine vents. What will be best for YOUR building is quite a complex matter involving the type, capacity, and number of units. Your choice may also be influenced by the look of different types of units.

Building manufacturers use formulas to calculate the amount of ventilation required given the building's size, structure, and function. They are happy to assist you in selecting the best device or combination of devices for your particular structure.

Turbine Vent for Metal Building

Turbine Vent for Metal Building

Drainage - Metal Gutters and Downspouts

Effective drainage is a must for the typical rectangular-type metal building. Some people have thought that the sloped roof in a metal building is good enough that the water will just run off. But there are several problems with that:

  • People moving in and out of the building through a curtain of runoff.
  • Heavy runoff damages landscaping around the building.
  • Staining of walls.
  • Water running down the wall and leaking inside.
  • Water running down the wall getting under the seals, freezing and breaking seals.
  • Water pooling around doors and seeping inside.
  • Excessive amounts of water standing around the foundation, washing away supporting soil, and, over time, possibly causing subsidence.

Gutters keep the sides of a building clean and allow you control over the path of roof runoff to prevent water pooling around doors and parking areas. Like trim, gutters and downspouts contribute to the overall aesthetic of a building and can be supplied to match your color scheme.

A gutter-downspout system is a relatively inexpensive investment but a good enhancement to your building. When it is time to sell your building in the future, the absence of gutters and downspouts will be a negative.

Basic gutters and downspouts could be bought from the metal building supplier, color matched to the walls. Or you can purchase gutters and downspouts elsewhere and can then get the leaf guard systems that have become popular.

Please note: Gutters and downspouts are not required with Quonset hut buildings, as the water naturally runs off the curved roof structure.

Decorative Cupolas

A cupula can be both a very attractive and functional feature. They provide an interesting visual variation to your roof. They can let in sunlight, and the louvered sides can allow air to flow in and out, becoming a useful part of the overall ventilation system.


A cupula usually has a square or rectangular body with a sharply peaked roof. Sometimes it will be topped with a dome. A weathervane or other sculptural element at the peak is common.

Cupola on metal roof

Cupola on metal roof

Snow Guards

Snow guards help retain snow on the roof, so it doesn't slide off as a huge slab and cause injury to the pedestrians or damage gutters and other building structures. The retained snow can then melt more gradually and safely.


Snow guards come in various styles and in the whole-roof or staggered-unit options. They could be made of plastic, aluminum, steel, or brass. Metal snow guards are best for long life. The system can be mechanically attached or glued, with the mechanical attachment being stronger.


Getting professional advice is a good idea to determine the best snow-guard system for your building.

Snow Guards on Metal Standing Seam Roof

Snow Guards on Metal Roof

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