View Full Version : Quonset hut for light storage

David Gretzmier
09-15-2008, 10:14 PM
Kinda off topic, but I am looking for someone who has done this or knows someone who has done this- i am looking to construct my own quonset ( arch ) type storage building after the Christmas light season because we are going to be out of space to store folks' lghts and wreaths and stuff.

I have a 2700 square foot building that is 8 foot at the sides and 12 feet at the peak, The roof leaks in spots and has water damage at some wooden framework, so it is time to redo my storage situation rather than just add on if I can help it. the pad I have is 60ft x 90ft, with 30x90 already built on by the current building. my plan is to buy a 60 x 100 x 25'tall Straight leg type quonset, that goes up a straight wall about 6 feet before going to the traditional half aluminum can shape. The first 10 feet of length will be simply to porch cover the doors and provide some attractiveness to the front face, which will be sided with a color vinyl siding to coordinate with the doors. the other 60x90 will be closed in. The new building will cover the old building and then we will tear the old one down from the inside once we move all the stuff to the new, taller part of the building.

There are lots of reasons i want to go with the arch type: I believe I can build this while I don't believe I can build an I-beam structure, It is quite less ( 30%-40% ) expensive by square foot or cubic foot compared to the I-beam, and it requires much less concrete for footers as the roof load and walls is spread equally over the entire length of the wall rather than on beams. further, they are hurricane ( cat. 2-3 ) tornado ( 125 mph ) and heavy snow ( 36lb ) rated.

why am I posting? I want to find someone else who has done this and ask them how hard it was, and how long it takes. I have found some videos on youtube, and looking at the videos, it kinda looks like building with al dente noodles until the arches are up and bolted to one another. at that point it is strong. but until then I fear that the arches could fold up on you or bend in the wind.

anybody have any experience at this?

09-15-2008, 10:27 PM
why did you have to post it under every topic? we all see it under "new posts" for a member with 1,600 posts i must shake my finger.:nono:

Kennedy Landscaping
09-15-2008, 10:29 PM
Never had one but it sounds like a good idea. Keep us updated.

Mark B
09-15-2008, 10:36 PM
I would think that you could hire a company to build a prefab building fairly cheap, then you could do the plumbing, electrical, insulation part. I would think it would be alot harder to put one of those together then it looks. Plus it keeps you from working. My .02

09-15-2008, 11:01 PM
I can build things square, no arches! Sounds really cool though!

09-16-2008, 09:43 AM
what about somthing like this or bigger one



09-16-2008, 10:42 AM
My grandfather's pallet and box company used to have an arched roof structure such as you describe, however a lot larger. The walls went straight up for maybe 16 or 18 ft, and at that point some bracing (would you call them trusses?) took up the load of the roof where it began to curve.

I could be wrong, but don't Quonset huts get their strength and stability from the continuous curved walls? Maybe adding a six ft. straight portion would make it less stable, no? If not trusses then maybe some kind of cabling might be needed.



Mike M
09-16-2008, 04:33 PM
I think you could make a more attractive storage building with Gregg's grandfather's pallets and boxes.

I envy you guys on large lots in rural areas. I'd have chickens running around and stuff, and a deer stand in my backyard.

Mike M
09-16-2008, 04:42 PM
I could be wrong, but don't Quonset huts get their strength and stability from the continuous curved walls? Maybe adding a six ft. straight portion would make it less stable, no?

I agree here, the arched design may be getting it's strength pushing at an outward angle, not straight downward. At least thats why the Chinese built wooden arched bridges.

09-16-2008, 08:20 PM
Our warehouse is quansit-style, but the walls are nine feet tall before it begins to curve into a quansit-style building. It was built about 9 years ago, and there is absolutely no maintenance. It's fireproof, and no birds can roost or crap on vehicles. It's 5000 s/f. 18.5 inches tall at the top. Four sun panels at the top to allow light. (on a clear night, you can read a newspaper at night inside our warehouse). Honestly I forgot the name of the manufacturer, but I know there are 3 or 4 manufacturers out there. It took five days and 8 guys to put our structure up. This included concrete, etc. It was the best investment we ever made. These buildings withstand tornadoes & hurricanes. They have been built from the Arctic to central America. We chose this style cuz of snow/ice, high winds, no fire hazard, etc. PM me if you need the manufacturer we bought from.

David Gretzmier
09-16-2008, 09:20 PM
the first pic you posted is usually referred to as an "A" frame or g frame. It is a very modified quonset, but only goes to 30 feet wide and roughly 18 feet at the peak. pretty inexpensive, and I am considering it if I don't cover the old building and leave it as is. it does not have the higher snow load, wind resistance as the traditional q.

the next picture is an "s" quonset but only about 3 foot straight then going to the traditional quaonset. The one I am looking at has about 6 foot of straight then a "J" transition to the traditional q, so at 1 foot away from the side wall it is already 9 feet tall going to a 25 foot max height at the peak.

09-16-2008, 09:40 PM
i got the pics from US Steel

David Gretzmier
09-16-2008, 10:25 PM
The arch is extremely strong. a true quonset of 18 gauge steel panels can clear span 100 feet, go 30-40 feet tall, and still handle well over 100 mph winds, 30 pound snow loads, etc. most I beam structures with clear span, no indoor supports top out at 60 feet wide or so and the I beams eat alot of your cubic footage for warehouse space. plust to get snow loads of 30 pounds or more the beams get big really fast. most steel structures 20 feet or taller cannot handle wind over 90 mph.

The straight portion does make it less stable. the widest you can go with a straight wall is 60 feet. If I had the space, the concrete pad and no current building, I would do a true quonset of 80 wide, 100 ft. long and 30 tall. you pretty much lose the first 5 feet along both the sides before the sidewall height is 8 feet. so you can use it but limited. but for the remaining 70 feet wide you get 8 foot to 30 feet tall of jumbo jet like storage. believe it or not you can buy that building for around 40 grand shipped, or 5 bucks a square foot without concrete or assembly. A similar cubic footage building in an I-beam style would be about twice that, again without concrete or assembly, and have about 50-60% of the snow or wind load strength. my lot won't allow me to build an 80 wide and have parking for all employees and work trucks.

I have looked at hiring a company just to do a turnkey metal building, and it is way up there in cost. a 32 foot wide by 86 deep by 20 foot tall metal building is 26 grand to buy a kit. it costs 6 grand just to get the metal framework up. then probably my guys can screw in the metal panels in 2-3 weeks at a cost to me of another 2-3 grand. Plus the beams require special sunk bolt patterns for the i-beam pier bases at 2 foot by 2 foot, and a tied in footer of 18x 18 continuous. so a concrete contractor for another 8-10 grand. remember, this I beam structure is half the size I am talking about and it has less cubic foot of storage, and more expensive than a building twice the size. And I still will be left with an old and a new building on the same site.

gene gls
09-16-2008, 10:26 PM
I recive the FarmTek magazine. It shows a varity of storage units like what you are talking about. www.FarmTek.com 1-800-327-6835

David Gretzmier
09-16-2008, 10:29 PM
spoke with a guy today who has built a quonset of 55 wide by 100 deep. very helpful and gave me tons of tips to save me half the time. I'm pumped !

Chris J
09-16-2008, 10:31 PM
Have you checked General Steel? They might just be a local company, but they have some good products/buildings around here.

09-16-2008, 11:34 PM
If you could do away with the vertical side walls you'd have a stronger building. A true quonset hut can stand up to a Cat 5 Typhoon. SteelMaster round roofs are becoming more popular down here as they are stronger than straight wall sheds/buildings. The panels aren't a problem on them as the corrigations keep them rigid. Having a small crane on the job will make it easier to stand them up.

Optimum Lawn
09-17-2008, 10:03 PM
I built a 30X64 with 14' ceiling and 4'straight side wall before arching. Easy as pie to build. Build the arch sections on the ground and lift each one into place and loosely add the bolts to the previous section. When all arches are in place tighten the bolts down. Figured I had some 5-6000 bolts used.
The base connector is worth the extra money

Get some scaffolding and a crane or so(extra man power will work) to lift the sections ...and getter done
Just follow the instructions from the manufacture...worked very well for me.

Next time I might go for a Fabric building if I'm just looking for covered storage space.

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 12:16 AM
if you campare the cost of some of those larger fabric and steel temporary green house type structures to quonset huts, the price for temporary is amazingly expensive. for a 38x100x 15 tall arched temporary fabric structure, 3800 square feet, it is close to 14 grand for a temporary 15 foot tall building. or around 4 bucks a square foot. you can buy a metal quonset - a frame structure, 40 by 60 by 18 foot peak for 9800 on ebay from ameriduro. or around 4 bucks per square foot for a permanant solid metal building that has a 3 foot higher peak.

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 12:18 AM
I think you may mean 18 feet at the top. thanks for the info, I'm sold on the style and worth, I just need advice on building it.

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 12:22 AM
I looked at the fabric buildings, but some are more expensive than metal ! most metal quonsets are around 4-5 bucks per square foot from around 2000 square foot and up. even when you get to 25 feet tall on the 60 wide, it is still 5 bucks a sqare foot or so. great deal.

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 12:45 AM
I've looked at about a dozen steel comapnies, and they all are about the same price.

09-18-2008, 01:12 AM
Have you checked General Steel? They might just be a local company, but they have some good products/buildings around here.

They must be big. They are a Paul Harvey sponsor.

David Gretzmier
09-18-2008, 08:08 PM
The reason this thread sounds so ragged is I posted the same thread in several forums and they consolidated it here. so many posts have answers and questions all over the place. I apologize, the mods did this today and I just found it. thanks dave g

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
09-21-2008, 08:11 AM
David its probably not a concern in your area, but around here the traditional Quonset shape is susceptable to snow load issues and each spring you can easily find at least one or two that have collapsed under heavy snow loads.

David Gretzmier
09-22-2008, 12:35 AM
Snow and wind load is actually one of the reasons I want to go with a quonset. If you look on ebay or most metal building sites, they quote snow loads on traditional square box metal buildings anywhere from 5 pounds per foot to 20 pounds per foot. the quonset starts at 20 pounds for the weaker ones and goes to about 50 pounds for the smaller stronger ones. The one I am looking at has a 36 pound per foot snow rating, which is double what the county code requires in this part of the country. I am trying to figure out what 36 pounds of snow in one square foot looks like. 2 foot high? 3 foot? The most I have ever seen on a roof here is like 10 inches max in 20 years.

11-25-2008, 09:43 PM
apologies to anyone who sees this message 2x - i bungled my first post.

but, to the gentlemen who wound up buying and building quonset-hut type buildings... i would love to know who you bought your building from and how the whole sales process went...

did you buy one they had already sized and packaged or was it custom to your specs? was it priced straightforward or did they negotiate? when it arrived was it right and as represented?

love to have any info you recall as we are looking to erect something in the 160 x 60 x 25 high range and are having trouble getting pricing information...

have contacted something like 30 websites and many of the companies we've emailed don't provide quote information, they just come on very strong trying to get a deposit on an alledged amazing clearance deal...

thanks for any additional info on the makers of your buildings...

David Gretzmier
11-30-2008, 11:24 PM
I have spoken with steel master, IBS, and powerbilt buildings. IBS is by far the cheapest, but dealing with them is kinda funky, they are brokers and make sure you get whatever you buy in writing.

the 60 wide x 100 long x 25 tall straight side ( 8 foot then curves to 25 feet in the middle. ) quonset I was looking at was 30 grand plus shipping with no ends, install or pad, just metal arch kit with aprox. 20,000 bolts and nuts. you assemble the individual arches on the ground in a U by bolting together 6-10 foor curved metal sections to eventually make the U. You can make them as long as you want, and they also sell a 60 foot long version of that building for around 18 grand. So I am thinking you can get the total 160 foot package for 48 grand, plus probably 7 grand in shipping or so, a guess. you will need a tall forklift to put up a 60' wide. assembling one of these goes one 2 foot wide arch at a time, looks to be like builfing wth noodles. once all bolted together they are straong, but getting there is kinda wonky.

i have decided to keep my old shop at 30 foot by 100 feet by 12 foot tall and just add an a-frame quonset beside it that is 30 by 80 by 16 tall. the cost is 11,800 plus shipping, which is less money to dole out this year to expand my business. I'll end up with enough expansion room on my curent property for 5-8 years. I hope. I would much rather have the cubic footage of the larger 60x100x25, but I don't have 30 g's, a forklift, so I can move on with what I can build without a forklift.