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Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Self-Storage Building Materials

Article-Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Self-Storage Building Materials

When building a new self-storage facility, the materials you choose will have a significant impact on its short- and long-term costs. To bring the most value to your project, consider these important factors when selecting components.

When it comes to spending money on a new self-storage project, it’s important to understand the difference between current and future costs. First, there’s the initial investment you’re making to construct the building; and then there are the ongoing expenses to maintain the facility over time. Your choice of materials today will decide what you have to spend tomorrow, so it’s important to give them great consideration. It can feel a bit overwhelming, as there’s such a wide range of options at variety of price points.

The best choice isn’t necessarily the least expensive product. In fact, that may be the worst decision. To begin, you need to consider the lifecycle of your building products. Selecting substandard materials may mean you have to replace them more often. It’s better to go with components that’ll serve you well for a long time.

Also, make sure you’re considering the most up-to-date, advanced products on the market. Obsolete or “traditional” options can be ultimately be expensive and inefficient to maintain. The right materials will safeguard your building. Following are some other factors to consider.


A significant factor to consider in regard to self-storage building materials is durability. Failure to be aware of product resilience can make for expensive repairs and maintenance down the line.

Start by asking yourself: What’s the climate in the area, and how well will your components endure local conditions? Seasonal heat, cold, rain and snowfall impact the life of every building. In some regions, daylight exposure and air ventilation may also play a role. It’s important that your products can meet the demands of your environment.

Other conditions like corrosion and moisture also affect the life of your facility. Once problems set in, they’re expensive to fix. Some materials can quickly degenerate, especially in a humid setting.

Save yourself future costs by identifying strong components that not only meet local building-code requirements but minimize maintenance. This’ll ensure the long-term profitability of the project.


The accessibility of self-storage building materials impacts price and installation. Those that aren’t locally sourced require more transportation. If the product is a challenge to move, there’s more shipping costs. Not only does this become expensive, it can delay the work. Local products help keep fees to a minimum. They’re also a time-saver, and work can generally be completed smoother.


With the evolution of the construction industry comes new sustainability requirements. Self-storage builders are being held more accountable for their projects’ carbon footprint. For example, cement emits carbon over the course of its lifecycle. More eco-friendly materials are now preferred.

Consider self-storage building products that have a recycled or recyclable component such as concrete, asphalt or steel. This reduces the demand for new materials to be produced in the future. Just bear in mind that where these are installed can also influence the capacity to reuse them down the line. Again, think about locally sourced products, as less transportation also means fewer carbon emissions.


The best self-storage building materials are those that are easy and inexpensive to maintain. They add value to the project. How? Quality components generally require less upkeep than standard and inexpensive ones, plus proper maintenance can keep a facility looking new for a long time. In some cases, certain products can provide a level of flexibility if your structure use ever needs to change.

Aesthetic Appeal

Everyone has their own tastes. Only you know what type and quality of self-storage facility you’d like to create. When choosing building components, consider the overall look you want to achieve. Just remember that you’ll be required to design the project within the scope of the local municipality. Your architect can show you what materials meet those conditions. The choices you make—as determined by budget, local climate and various other factors—will determine the products you choose and, ultimately, the appearance of your building.

In the End

The most important factor when choosing components for your self-storage construction project is long lifecycle, not cost. A standing-seam metal roof may seem more expensive initially, but because of its durability, it becomes inexpensive over time. Smart choices based on the geographic location and sustainability will stand up to the test of time. High-performance materials will contain future costs and extend the appeal and longevity of your project.

Nigel Kreft is director of operational improvement for Storage Structures Inc., which designs, supplies and installs self-storage buildings. With 20-plus years of jobsite industry experience, he’s helped streamline design and development planning, and trained installers on industry standards as well as proper and efficient procedures. To reach him, call 877.456.1602 or email [email protected].

TAGS: Construction
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