Quonset Kits Include:
- Lightweight pre-punched 40-pound wall panels
- All the nuts, bolts and fasteners
- End walls (if required)
- Doors and windows (if required)
- Step-by-step instruction manual
- 14-gauge, AZ55 Galvalume steel arches
- Engineer stamped blueprints
- Suitable for all end uses
- BWidths: 10’ – 140’
- Lengths: 10’ to unlimited
- Kit packages from $14/sq. ft.
- 20-40-year warranties *
- Energy Star rated Galvalume Plus coating
- Engineered for DIY construction
- Pre-drilled & numbered parts
- Minimal equipment required to build
- Engineered to meet local codes
- 100% clear-span space
- Extremely secure (hard to break into)
- Can withstand high winds and snow loads
- Customizable with windows, doors, vents etc.
- Minimal maintenance
* varies by supplier
Quonset Kit Specs:
- Steel Grade: 80
- Steel Gauge: 14-26
- Snow Load: to 30-70 lb/ sq. ft.
- Wind Load: to 190 MPH
- Roof Profiles: Q, S or P
- Arch Panel Width: 2 feet
- Arch Panel Depth: 7.5”-9.5"
- Steel Yield Strength: 80,000 min. KSI (22 & 20 Ga) – 50,000 min. KSI (14, 16, 18 Ga)
- Steel Tensile Strength: 82,000 min. KSI (22 & 20 Ga) – 65,000 min. KSI (14, 16, 18 Ga)
Items not Included:
- Interior Finishing
Quonset Hut Buildings
The most budget-friendly style of metal building kit
A Quonset hut (metal arch building) is a prefabricated, semi-cylindrical metal building sold as a kit. They are used for various end uses, including garages, farm storage, workshops, warehouses, and as custom Quonset homes. Quonset buildings are the most economical steel building kits on the market, with easy-to-assemble, prefabricated components that make them quick and simple to construct.
What is a Quonset hut?
A Quonset hut is a prefabricated building made of corrugated steel arches that bolt together on-site. They were first used in military applications during World War II and are named after the Quonset Point military base in Rhode Island. Today, Quonset buildings are known for their affordability, durability, and ability to be assembled quickly with minimal construction knowledge and basic tools. They are used for various purposes, including warehouses, garages, and homes.
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Customer Quonset Hut Images
Why Choose a Quonset Building?
Quonset buildings are customized to your specifications and arrive at your job site ready to build.
Quonset hut kit packages contain everything you need to assemble your Quonset structure in just a few days. These buildings are durable, fire-resistant, and made from heavy gauge Galvalume steel. They are engineered to withstand hurricane-force winds, earthquakes, and heavy snow loads.
Quonsets are available in two distinct designs. The first is the traditional cylindrical shape (Q-Model), and the second is the newer modified Quonset hut design (P & S models) with straight walls and a curved roofline. Modified Quonsets overcome the problem of limited storage space towards the edge of the structure.
Quonset huts are clear-span buildings, meaning no poles or beams are needed to support the structure. The curved walls provide large amounts of open floor space, making them ideal for storage and open floor plan home designs.
Quonset hut kits bolt together, almost like an erector set. All you need is a length of rope or some basic lifting equipment, a friend to hold the arch panels in place, and a socket wrench, providing a genuinely DIY building.
If you’re not into the self-build route, you’ll still save thousands on a contractor because Quonset kits are 50% faster to erect than traditional construction with their simple bolt-together panels and end walls.
More than 75% of Quonset building buyers elect to DIY build
- The most economical steel structure
- Durable & secure (hard to break into)
- Fast and simple construction
- No construction experience required
- No special equipment required
- Easily expanded for future growth
- 100% usable, clear span space
- Easily customized
- Can be dis-assembled and moved
- Virtually maintenance-free
- 20-40 year corrosion warranties
- A green building solution
- Energy efficient
Quonset Kit Features
Popular Quonset Hut Applications
Quonset Hut Homes
Quonset hut homes are an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable and durable home construction solution. Quonset houses can be designed as basic functional accommodations to... Read more »Specs & Features
The Construction Process
How do you build a steel Quonset hut?
A steel Quonset hut is one of the market's fastest and easiest permanent structures. All kits arrive on one or two pallets, ready to be bolted together on-site. Before erecting your Quonset construction - you will need to pour a concrete slab foundation or a perimeter foundation for the structure to attach to. Detailed below is an overview of the construction process.
Step 1: Planning
Choose a Quonset Hut Size and Style
Choose Q-, S- or P-model and determine the width and length of your building. Standard widths are less expensive than highly customized kits, so round up for more space. With arch buildings, you can include a 2-foot panel or two for additional length on a standard kit.
Choose a Height
The height of a Quonset is taken from the center of the highest component, i.e., the arch's highest point.
The height of your Quonset will be dictated by what you intend to use the building for. Typical eave heights include 10', 12', or 14' for garages and shops and 16', 18', and 20' for agricultural storage buildings and warehouses.
Typical Q-model Quonset hut kit building heights range from 10' to 24'. But, the height is limited to half of the width or less.
S-model Quonset kits are available in heights from 10' to 20' and have different center heights based on the height of the used walls.
P-model Quonset kits come in heights of 12' to 16'. But, again, the height is primarily dictated by the wall height.
Building Codes, Permits, and Zoning
Most Quonsets can be assembled with a standard floating 4-inch foundation. Still, you'll want to check your local codes carefully before construction. Zoning approval is rarely a problem for Quonsets but must also be obtained. Read more about building permits and codes.
Construction Site Analysis
Site selection is essential for the foundation of your new structure. Shallow or weak soils may require larger footings or deep foundations such as piles. A preliminary site analysis is critical to determine if the soil at the site is buildable, drainable, etc. It is strongly recommended you engage a structural engineer to assist with the site selection and analysis process.
Financing Quonsets are slightly different from other buildings, especially homes. Most American banks don't finance steel frame buildings like they do other structures. Not to worry: here's our guide to financing metal buildings.
Step 2: Design
Choose Customization Options
Whether you're constructing a mancave or a storage shed, add doors, windows, skylights, a mezzanine second levels, and more.
Most customization in terms of design with a Quonset hut is limited to the design of the end walls. That being said, windows and access doors can be added along the length of the building. But, this will add significantly to the cost due to the additional engineering involved.
We have also seen some extremely stunning Quonset designs for modern homes that were architecturally designed using modified components and roof-only components.
Typical Upgrade Options include:
- Pre-assembled end walls
- Garage doors
- Sliding doors
- Service (personnel) doors
- Louvered vents
- Turbine vents
- Skylight panels
Note: The style and design of these vary by supplier. Be sure to check when applying for quotes.
Step 3: Ordering
After you have a reasonable idea of your building's size, style, and design, the next step is to get quotes for the Quonset hut kit. We can help here - tell us a little about your project, and we will match you with four reputable suppliers who will provide competing quotes for your building kit. Request quotes here.
After choosing a supplier to work with, you'll need to put down a deposit (typically 20-30% of the total cost of a Quonset hut) and sign a contract before the factory can begin engineering your custom building. You'll then receive the engineering drawings and foundation plans (usually within 2-3 weeks) stamped by an engineer licensed in your state. In most cases, the plans are included in the price. Still, some suppliers charge extra for the foundation plans, so ask about this before placing your order.
Now that you have all of the relevant plans, you can get quotes from local subcontractors or a general contractor to help with the construction of your building. You'll also be able to approach your local building department, begin the permitting process, and talk to lenders if you need financing.
TIP: Find out whether the pricing breakdown for the metal Quonset hut you purchase includes both of the structure's end walls. Many suppliers charge extra for the Endwall in addition to the standard kit since they see it as an optional feature.
Step 4: Pre-Construction
After it has been confirmed the site is buildable from Step 1 (above), soil testing, site clearing (which may include demolition), and preparing a site plan (to obtain a permit) can commence. With the building permit, construction activities can begin, like grading, soil compacting, and running services to the site. For more information on these measures, see our article on site preparation.
You may also need to consider:
- Room for setbacks.
- Location of current utilities and access routes.
- Any easements on the property.
Note: Be sure to arrange construction insurance before erecting your building - accidents happen.
The size of your foundation depends on your building's end use. For example, quarters without end walls will require a smaller foundation than those with end walls. All Quonsets are engineered to fit into a U-shaped channel, which can be built into a 4" poured concrete slab or built with a more economical footer system.
The foundation must be the correct size, depth, and strength to support the structure.
Erecting the building yourself is possible, but we strongly recommend having:
- A local, licensed structural engineer experienced in designing steel building foundations designs the foundation and draws up a foundation plan for the structure.
- An experienced concrete contractor pours the foundation.
This will ensure the safety of your building and eliminate any code violations by having a foundation unsuitable for your intended construction site.
Note: If you're housing heavy machinery you'll likely need a 6" slab foundation.
Typical foundations for include:
1. Standard (Trough or Keyway) Foundation
The footers are 18 inches wide and 16 inches deep. Dig a 3.5x9 inch channel, erect the Quonset arch panels within the channel, and grout the channel at a 1" slope. This anchors the structure to your foundation without needing a concrete slab (typical for grain and other farm storage applications).
Each arch must be installed with an anchor bolt and a tie-down bracket to attach it to the foundation. The 3/8" diameter fasteners are used to secure the arch panels to the tie-down brackets. The arches are fixed in the middle of the panels and at each place where they cross over an adjacent arch. Along the length of the foundation, the anchor bolts are placed within the trough.
Trough foundations need to be grouted where the building meets the foundation to provide a weathertight seal.
Note: Anchor bolts are not typically included in the kit package.
2. Slab Foundation with C-Channel Base Connectors
An alternative to the standard trough foundation is to use a floating slab foundation with C-channel base connectors to secure the arches to the foundation. The advantages of this foundation option include:
- Faster and simpler construction, as a trough doesn't need to be formed.
- Tie-down brackets are not required.
- Less concrete is required due to the smaller foundation design.
C-channels are secured to the foundation using expansion bolts or epoxy anchors. The base connectors are then attached to the anchor bolts and connected to the arch panels.
As the foundation is flat (without troughs), the base connectors must be caulked to prevent leaks.
Step 5: Construction
You have three options when it comes to deciding who is going to erect your new steel Quonset building.
DIY Construction: You carry out all the labor yourself, including laying the foundation, erecting the building, adding insulation, and completing any interior finishing. All Quonset kits are designed for easy do-it-yourself assembly and are complete with arch panels, nuts, bolts, and detailed instructions.
For buildings under 3,000 square feet, around 75% of customers choose to construct their own Quonset hut. A DIY build is highly doable with preparation and planning. It can result in savings of 30% to 60% on the project's overall cost.
Self-Build: You take on the role of the project's general contractor (GC), hiring and supervising the different subcontractors to finish the build. By choosing this option, you can save 10–20% on general contractor fees.
General Contractor (GC) Build: If you choose to use a GC for your project, they will recruit and supervise all sub-contractors. Although it is usually the most efficient and convenient method to build, this choice is also the most costly. GC fees range from 10 to 20 percent of the project budget. However, you will gain from the GC's knowledge and the suggestions they may have for the project. You could also gain from a speedier permit approval procedure since many GCs already have connections with local building departments and inspectors.
Prep for Quonset Kit Delivery
Quonset kits are ready to assemble upon delivery, but you'll want to be prepared when your kit arrives.
Kit packages are generally available for delivery 4 to 16 weeks after you make your purchase.
Make sure you have a location to keep the pallets with the component packages before construction begins (see below) and lifting equipment (a backhoe, forklift, etc.) at your project site.
The job site should also have adequate access and be able to accept a 40' semi-trailer for the delivery and unloading of the pallets.
Typically, the final balance of payment will also be due upon delivery.
Here's our guide for prepping for delivery day.
Storing the Kit Components
Please follow the following recommendations to help avoid staining or discoloration of your building's components during storage:
Never allow moisture on or between any steel components before construction.
Store the components inside in a dry, well-ventilated place.
If your construction materials are kept outside, the coating will shield the steel for a brief length of time.
Indoor or covered storage is strongly advised. We highly suggest taking the extra safety measures listed below if you must store your construction materials outside to minimize the likelihood of damage or discoloration:
- Lay a tarp on the ground.
- Do not lay directly on grass.
- Cut the bands and use dry wood to divide each part so that no two pieces of steel are in contact.
- Ensure water or moisture does not accumulate on any steel components.
- Avoid simply covering the bundles and pallets with tarps.
Quonset Hut Construction
Assuming you have chosen to erect your building, here is a basic overview of the construction process.
Step 1: Carefully Read the Supplied Construction Manual
When erecting an arch structure, the most important things to remember are to read the assembly instructions thoroughly and plan ahead. By reading the instructions all the way through, you will understand what needs to be done. And by planning, you can avoid surprises or delays during the assembly process.
Step 2: Assemble the required Tools and Supplies
You will need the following:
- Scaffolding or a scissor lift and ladders
- Spirit or a laser level
- Several lengths of 2x4s for bracing
- Lengths of rope (to hoist up the arches)
- Wrenches, sockets, and ratchets
- Plumb-bob and chalk line
- Drill, hacksaw, reciprocating saw, and an impact gun
Step 3: Plan for a SAFE Build
You will be working with sharp and heavy steel panels. Read all the safety guidelines outlined in the manual before construction and have gloves, goggles, hard hats, safety boots, harnesses, and a first aid kit available.
Note: If feasible, build the arches such that they face away from the direction of the prevailing winds in your area. The arches overlap will then run in the same direction as the prevailing regional winds and more readily shed driving wind, rain, and snow, which will aid in weatherproofing your structure.
Step 4: Staging the Components
Before you start hoisting, lay the individual pieces of each steel arch on your construction site. Arch panels are only about 8 to 12 feet long and 2 feet wide, so this process can be handled by only one or two people if necessary.
A large clear area should be left at each end of the foundation, and leave approx. 10' of space along the length of the foundation. This will allow for unrestricted movement as the steel arches are constructed.
Step 5: Assemble the First Arch
Bolt together the first arch while still lying on the ground. Be sure to apply caulk between each panel before securing.
Step 6: Hoist the First Arch
You'll need two people for this step. One person will hoist the first arch upward above the foundation using a ladder, ropes, or crane. Then, the person on the ground will bolt the first arch into place at the foundation (base plate or trough). The arch is then secured by tying it to support jacks on the scaffolding and stakes in the ground.
Note: Bracing. As the arches are erected, supporting and keeping the structure in the right shape is crucial.
Extra care is required with the first arch as it can be flexible and difficult to control. It is not recommended that this be done if there is any wind.
Step 7-x: Repeat
You'll repeat this process for all the remaining metal arches, assembling each on the ground, hoisting them up, bolting them to the foundation, then snapping each arch to the previous one and bolting them into place. Again, caulk each section as you move along.
Note: All arch bolts are left finger-tight until the building is completely erected. At this stage, they can be fully tightened.
Step 6: Finishing
Add End Walls
As addressed above, your end walls can be engineered with your kit, or you may choose to make your own unique end walls with doors and windows of your choice.
Wiring Plumbing and Flooring
When you buy a Quonset hut kit from one of our suppliers, you buy just the building shell, including all paneling, fasteners, doors, and windows. You will need to engage local contractors to take care of the wiring, lighting, heating, plumbing, flooring, and internal framing (if required).
Quonset huts can be insulated with all standard types of insulation, including fiberglass blankets and spray foam insulation.
Adding insulation to your will help resist cooling in winter and overheating in summer. It also helps prevent condensation and provides a good sound barrier. In addition, a little extra insulation expenditure will yield significant energy cost savings. This can be purchased from your kit supplier or sourced locally.
For more, see our metal building insulation page.
Interior Framing and Finishing
Quonset huts look unique on the outside, but inside they're similar to all other metal buildings.
Once the insulation has been installed, you can frame the structure's interior with 2x4 lumber or steel studs if you require an office or bathroom or if you are constructing a Quonset home. Hiring a local framing company for this build stage is typically recommended.
Walkthrough and Final Inspection
Minor problems that exist now can develop into much larger issues in the future. For this reason, it is crucial to conduct formal inspections throughout the construction process and upon completion of the build. A final inspection will be required to complete the permit process. Once the final inspection is complete, and the building inspector has provided a certificate of occupancy, the building permit process is officially complete.
For more information, see our article on metal building interiors.
Step 7: Maintenance
Your steel Quonset hut building will not rust, corrode, or easily succumb to natural forces like weather or fire. That being said, there are a few aspects you will need to consider to keep your building in good condition and prevent damage.
The manufacturers recommend that you do not allow snow to accumulate, as excessive snow and snow shadow conditions can cause damage to the building's steel panels.
Avoid Contact With Corrosive Materials
Some materials that cause corrosion may also cause discoloration to your structure. Be careful not to use grout containing calcium chloride, as this may result in corrosion of the steel panels and connectors.
To prevent discoloration, the manufacturers also recommend a regular cleaning schedule with warm water and a light detergent.
What Does a Quonset Hut Cost?
Installed Quonset huts cost between $20 and $40 per square foot. This includes the building kit package at $14-$28/sq ft, a concrete foundation at $4-$8/sq ft, and construction at $3-$6/sq ft.
For additional cost data and estimates, see our Quonset hut prices page, or if you're ready... get started with quotes from four suppliers.
|Item||Square Foot Cost|
|Building kit (shell)||$14-$28|
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Other Common Questions
What are Quonsets used for?
Quonset buildings are extremely flexible and can be used for homes, retail stores, and aircraft hangars alike. Every pre-engineered steel building end-use listed on BuildingsGuide.com is available as a Quonset hut, whether a barndominium or a warehouse and anything in between. Looking to store an RV, farm equipment, airplane or other large machinery? You’ll be amazed at the amount of storage a Quonset provides, along with multiple door options, including - overhead garage doors, bi-fold, hangar or simple sliding doors. Thinking of starting your own retail space? A modern domed structure will provide a unique look for your store.
What materials are Quonsets made of?
All the Quonsets on BuildingsGuide.com are engineered at the highest industry standard for steel arch structures and made with 14- to 26-gauge Galvalume steel. Lower gauges indicate that the steel is stronger, with 14-gauge steel recommended for more extreme environmental conditions, like heavy rain or heavy snow accumulation. Manufactured in the United States, Galvalume is 80,000 ksi tensile yield carbon steel and is coated with aluminum-zinc-silicon alloy. The dove-grey alloy coating guarantees that the steel will not rust or corrode, accompanied by Galvalume’s 20+ year warranty against corrosion. The Grade 8 bolts included in the kits are ten times more rust-resistant than standard hardware, and all kit pieces are designed to fit snugly together, so no adhesives, sealing or additional waterproofing are needed. All the materials provided will seal your new building as is.
Can a Quonset hut be customized?
Arch kits are as customizable as any other steel building kit, with doors, windows, skylights, and many other additions available. Going for a certain color or specific look? Order your kit with a high-quality paint finish, or paint it yourself like any other steel structure. Need more space? Arch buildings are easily extended as long as they maintain a width under 100 feet. Add a few more 2-foot sections to your building and make it as long as you need to build your house, barn or whatever use you seek. Like all prefab steel buildings, Quonsets are easy to assemble and require minimal maintenance. Q-hut owners love the highly secure, simple-to-maintain building design.
How long does it take to erect arched buildings?
Smaller buildings in the range of 600-3,000 square feet can be fully erected in approximately 2-4 days with a crew of 2-3 workers. larger buildings can take 1 to 2 weeks to construct.
What is the best insulation option?
Not all Quonsets need insulation. They can withstand extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, and snow without additional insulation. However, if you live or regularly work in a Quonset, you will likely want additional insulation. All common insulation methods can be used but blanket and spray foam insulation are the best options. Typically, manufacturers recommend a minimum of R-13 insulation for optimal efficiency.
Do Quonsets require end walls?
End walls are determined entirely by your preference, and your building kit can be engineered for overhead garage doors, sliding doors, an array of windows, a framed but doorless opening or any other configuration you prefer. End walls are optional if you want to leave one or both ends of your building open. These walls can also be partial: because they are built by connecting individual panels on each side, you can omit some center panels if you choose and instead build a framed opening. When discussing your kit purchase with your manufacturer, make sure you discuss your end wall options. You can also customize your end walls with brick, stucco or any other finish you desire. The end wall adapters will secure the end wall coverings in place.
Why are Quonsets less expensive than other steel buildings?
Because Quonsets don’t have traditionally pitched roofs, they are much easier to plan and construct. Aside from choosing your pre-engineered kit and pouring the foundation, you’ll find few hiccups or unknowns in the planning process. Arch kits are easy to bolt together, so they’re quick to construct. You can DIY and snap together any model of Quonset once the foundation has been poured. You can also hire a contractor to take care of construction for you, and it’s likely they’ll be finished constructing your new building in a couple of days.
How are Quonsets built differently than other metal building kits?
Traditionally styled rigid-frame metal buildings require more planning and, in most circumstances, a contractor to erect them. After the concrete foundation is poured on a level surface, buildings can be assembled with very little help. Quonset wall panels are around 40 pounds in weight so they can be managed by a few people and light lifting equipment like a backhoe or small tractor. Once the wall is in place, it can be held in place by a companion and a set of ladders as you bolt the panels together. The only other hardware you’ll need is a single socket wrench to construct the buildings.
What is the best way to ventilate a Quonset?
To provide air circulation and ventilation in your building you can choose to add either gravity or turbine vents. Or you can elect to install a custom HVAC system.
Can Quonsets be raised off the ground?
Yes, an arched structure can be secured onto concrete sidewalls adding an additional 2-4 feet to the height of the new structure. More recently, some buyers have started fixing the arch panels to the top of shipping containers, providing a covered center area and secure storage on either side.
Do Quonset huts rust?
Not for a very long time. All buildings have a 20-40 year warranty against perforation from rust in normal climatic conditions. Rust is prevented by the addition of a clear acrylic coating applied to the Galvalume steel (45% zinc and 55% aluminum) components. These buildings are engineered to last!
What’s the history of the Quonset hut?
The U.S. Navy required a multipurpose structure in 1941 that could be easily transported and put up without any special skills or tools. The Nissen hut, created by the British during World War I, inspired the design. They were built for the navy by the Fuller Construction Company near Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Originally, they were 16 feet by 36 feet with curved galvanized steel T-ribs and tongue and groove wooden floors. They gained popularity at the time (during World War II) for both military and civilian use. They came to represent the postwar economic and demographic boom; some are even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Quonset Building Styles
Three common Quonset hut styles are available. All are available for any end use, but some Quonset styles are used more often in residential areas, while others are used more often for agricultural or vehicle storage. Your style choice largely depends on your budget and intended end use.
- Traditional full arch design
- Cheapest & fastest to build
- Used as farm sheds & warehouses
- Width: 20 feet to 100 feet
- Height: 10 feet to 40 feet
- Length: 10 feet and over
- Arched roof with straight side walls
- Ideal for areas with high winds & snow
- Used as barns, farm storage & houses
- Width: 16 feet to 50 feet
- Height: 10 feet to 40 feet
- Length: 10 feet and over
- More traditional look with a pitched roof
- Used as homes, garages & shops
- More costly than other models
- Width: 13 feet to 30 feet
- Height: 12 feet to 16 feet
- Length: 10 feet and over
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