Building with Metal, what are different methods and what are the benefits?

Learn more about the different methods and styles of buildings possible with Metal and how the methods and styles are different. Furthermore, there are different attributes of each method and style? 

The Metal building method and styles described here are Shipping Containers and Geodesic Domes w/metal frame. Also learn a little about the pros and cons with each method and style.

Shipping Containers have become a very popular way of building a small house. They come with the main box already done. It is important to be aware that some counties and cities will only allow new or one shipment containers to be used. 

Using Shipping Containers can give an industrial rustic look to a house. They are not as structural strong as they first appear. Shipping Containers are built to be stacked and therefore the corners are strong. None of the sides are structural strong and must be braced with either wood or metal.

Insulation is another thing that can create an issue. If you put the insulation on the inside, you will lose valuable space. On the other hand, if you put the insulation on the outside, you lose the industrial rustic look. 

The Shipping Containers does need some form of foundation to be put on as they will rust if put directly on the ground. 


  • Supply is plentiful
  • They are cheap
  • They are easy to setup
  • Rustic look


  • They are only structural strong on the corners
  • They are a challenge to insulate
  • The space is very confined
  • Be away of contamination if buying used
  • Permits for housing can be a challenge

Geodesic Dome with Metal Frame is a nothing new. The geodesic dome was first developed by architect Richard Buckminster Fuller in the 1940’s. 

Geodesic Domes are comprised of triangles put together to create a dome thereby using minimal materials for the framework structure. The word “geodesic” in Latin and means “Earth Dividing”. Buckminster Fuller designed the geodesic dome after World War II as a way to create affordable housing that could be built with little effort and doesn’t require any post or columns keep the structure up.  The triangles can then be filled in with wood, canvas, aircrete, papercrete, glass, plexiglass or other light building materials.


  • They are easy to put together
  • They are a cheap framework
  • They can be the framework for several different building materials
  • Lower heating and cooling cost due to the dome shape


  • They must have a fill in between the framework
  • They can be labor intensive
  • They can be a challenge to get permits for