Quonset huts are arch steel buildings that offer customizability, strength, and a budget-friendly structure for virtually any requirements.
Initially created for the US Navy in WWII, these buildings are renowned for their strength, bolt-together assembly, and affordability. Improvements to engineering have resulted in stronger, more cost-effective buildings with various profiles. They're ideal a huge range of uses including:
- Residential - Garages, Storage, Shops, Homes
- Agricultural - Outbuildings, Sheds, Barns, Crop Storage
- Industrial - Manufacturing Facilities, Material Storage
- Commercial - Warehouses, Cold-Storage, Storefronts
Each of these buildings is manufactured for your needs and custom sized to fit whatever you need it to. Widths range from 20 to 100+ feet and lengths are almost limitless. Some commonly requested sizes and their uses are:
- 1 Car Garage 20 by 20 feet
- 2 Car Garage 24 by 24 feet
- Hobby Shop 24 by 30 feet
- Storage Shed 20 by 20 feet
- RV Storage 20 by 24 feet
- Metal Barn 40 by 60 feet
The wall and ceiling panels are shipped in pieces and then bolted together to form the arches. Each arch is bolted to existing arches to form the structure. No special experience or equipment is required once you have the foundation prepared.
The building may be slightly more than a stick frame one up-front but you save money on labor with a quick and easy assembly. You also continue to save over the years with virtually no maintenance cost and benefits like lower insurance premiums.
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Projects can be dusty, dirty and tools take up a lot of space. Worry no more with a quonset workshop. Get the space you need to do the things you want. Live in a cold climate? Insulate to work year-round!
From garden sheds and toolsheds to even livestock sheds, these buildings can do it all. Get one custom-sized for your storage needs and when you need additional space, just order up some more arches.
They're a great option for commercial warehousing. They're sized for your needs and can be expanded over time. These structures are also pest, fire, and break-in resistant.
Since Quonsets are custom-sized, one can be made for almost any purpose.
Price a Building for Your Needs
Quonset Hut Profiles
While the structures used to come exclusively in a semi-circular shape, modern-day quonsets come in a wide variety of shapes that can vary slightly by manufacturer.
A / P Model
The A or P model (depending on the manufacturer) features straight walls and a peaked roof that best matches traditional buildings. They're generally a good option for 20 to 40 feet in width.
If you love that traditional arch look, then you want a Q Model. This semi-circular building is capable of spans over 100 feet wide and is also the most economical option.
The X model is a great hybrid for anyone who wants a bit more useable space by the side walls, but also needs strength due to high snow or wind loads. The slanted roof looks great and gives it a gambrel barn feel.
Our personal favorite, the S model gives you a beautiful arched ceiling like the Q. It features straight side walls however so on smaller buildings, you get full useable space right up to the walls given there's no downward slope to contend with.
The R Model is a roofing system that relies on either structural steel beams to hold it up or is commonly used as a shipping container roof. It's ideal for pavilions or covered awnings.
The T model is what you might describe as a lean-to with one side of the arches affixed to the ground and the other side raised using steel beams or another structure.
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How Much Do Quonset Huts Cost?
Since they're customized and engineered for local codes, their price is dependent on many factors. Pricing typically ranges between $5 and $20 per square foot. The price of steel is rising, however, so it’s best to request a free estimate for your building.
The larger your building, the lower the cost per square foot. If you live in an area with high snow loads or wind loads (hurricane-prone regions) then building codes will likely dictate that the thickness, or gauge, of steel used, is thicker. This will again impact pricing.
If you're considering a quonset, we recommend getting a free no-obligation quote by clicking here.
What Sizes are Quonset Huts?
Each one is custom-built specifically for a client's needs. You can do widths of anything from 10 feet wide to 100 feet plus, and lengths of anything in 2 foot increments. We'll look into the details more below.
While widths may be possible at 10 feet, you'll be unlikely to find a factory that's willing to produce it. In general, widths will start at 20 feet and go to 150+ feet. Some have been made over 150 feet in width, but at that point, you'll require internal framing and it's less expensive to go with a steel framed type of building.
The length is always in 2 foot increments since that is the standard width of a quonset arch. Theoretically, there's no limit to length as you can continuously add additional arches to make it longer.
The height is dependent in part on the width and profile you select. A general rule of thumb for heights would be:
- 20 foot wide - 12 feet tall
- 30 foot wide - 15 feet tall
- 40 foot wide - 17 feet tall
- 50 foot wide - 19 feet tall
There's an almost infinite number of ways to customize your quonset. Accessories are available from the manufacturer but will vary from one to the next so be sure to speak with your provider to see what options are available. Common accessories include:
Standard man doors, overhead doors and roll up doors of a variety of sizes and configurations.
Add light to your building with windows. Specialized steel frames bolt right into the arches and allow you to use virtually any standard window.
Venting can be important for uninsulted quonsets to avoid condensation buildup when humidity is high. There are a variety of vents available from power vents to passive ones so be sure to speak with your building rep about them.
Custom-made skylight panels can bolt right into place. They're a great way to add natural light to your building and save on your electricity bill.
You'll be shocked by how easy it is to insulate. Insulation is a highly requested add-on for buildings in cold northern climates or hot southern ones. While there are a variety of insulation options for a Quonset hut, that we'll go into detail about below, the type that is offered by most factories will be a fiberglass batt type that has a mylar or plastic film on one side. This type is held to the walls by pins that screw onto the end of the existing wall-panel bolts.
There are three different components to quonset huts that you can get custom colored from most factories. They are the arches (walls/roof), end walls (front and back walls) and the trim (the piece that caps off the first and last arch and joins up with the end wall). Each factory will have different color options available but the most common ones will be:
Quonset Hut Insulation Options
There are many ways to insulate a Quonset Hut. One thing to note is that you'll need to have a vapor barrier. Without one, condensation will occur on the inside of the walls and will wet the insulation, and potentially lead to additional issues. The main options to insulate are:
These factory-provided insulation kits are designed specifically for quonsets and make insulation easy. It's generally fiberglass insulation with a plastic vapor barrier film on the inside and comes in long rolls. The factory will provide pins that screw onto the existing wall bolts. The pins pierce the insulation and a screw-on cap holds the insulation in place at the perfect distance. This allows the insulation to be unbroken and more efficient than when you have batts in between studs as the wood doesn't insulate as well.
Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam is another great way to insulate. Sprayed directly onto the interior of the walls, the foam acts as both insulation and vapor barrier in one. The foam hardens to give an interior finish where things can be butted up against it.
Insulation Batts or Panels and Framing
Another option, which we wouldn't necessarily recommend is to add wood framing to the inside. Once that's in place, you can add essentially any insulation as you would with a traditional wood-framed structure; fiberglass insulation, natural fiber insulation, foam panels, etc.
Benefits of a Quonset Hut Building
There are many reasons to choose quonset hut buildings. We'll go through some of the primary ones below:
Quonset huts are a surprisingly affordable option when you factor in all related costs. The savings come from quick assembly, factory engineering, and cheaper long-term maintenance costs.
Ease of Construction
Building assembly doesn't get any easier. Panels are pre-cut and drilled at the factory. You get a package with all of the panel components along with the necessary bolts and nuts. Once your foundation is prepared, the building is simply bolted together one arch at a time.
These buildings are made of 100% steel and get added strength from their arch design. It's incredibly difficult to dent a panel. If you do, however, you can easily hamer it back out, or get a replacement panel to repair the spot.
The structures are engineered buildings, meaning they are designed based on local codes for wind, snow, etc. The steel can be gauged thicker as need be. Drawings are generally included, but if you need them engineer stamped please check with your provider to ensure that's included.
Simpler Building Permits
For some buildings, you may require building permits from the local building department. Often this is for building over 100 square feet in more urban areas. Quonset huts make this process simpler since you can receive engineered drawings from the factory prior to receiving the building. These plans make the permitting process much simpler.
Made for Your Needs
Buildings are custom-sized to fit your needs. They generally range from 20 to 100 feet wide and can be any length in 2 foot increments. You're not stuck working with a predefined size so you get a building that fits your space perfectly.
Tons of Customizations
You can make the building your own by choosing from tons of different accessories. You can add doors, windows, sunlights, vents, and more. There are also many custom colors available.
If you're framing in a building yourself, or even having a contractor do so, there are often tons of issues that arise and a daily trip to the hardware store to pick up that necesary part. These buildings have essentially everything you need, shipped right from the factory to your job site. This saves you time and is incredibly convenient.
These buildings are known for their versatility. You receive the arches which make up the walls and roof, but the interior is a wide-open space left for, however, you want to customize it.
Wide Open Space
Wood or masonry construction is quite limited in how wide the open space can be without needing a support column. You'll have no such problem with a Quonset hut building. These structures provide clear-span space that requires no interior columns. This leaves wide open unobstructed space for whatever your purposes may be.
You may not think of this point as something a building can be, but it's true! Quonset steel buildings are often both made with recycled steel, and able to be recycled themselves. The Galvalume plus steel that is generally used in these buildings often contains up to 25% recycled steel.
It's surprisingly simple to expand your building should you require more space. The factory will likely have your dimensions on file and you can simply ask them to manufacture additional arches. These arches can be added on to your existing building to give you as much extra space as you need.
Common Quonset Misspellings
"Quonset Huts" is not exactly a common household term so many people misspell the term when searching for them online. Some popular misspellings we see (included here to help people find what they're actually looking for) are:
- Kwanzaa Huts
- Q Huts (not really a misspelling, but another term)
- Quanset Huts
- Kwansa Hut