As you have finally decided to go for steel for your next project, one of the first things to keep in mind is selecting the appropriate steel building base condition to ensure its longevity. In fact, every steel building has this girt or some sort of lateral member covering the whole perimeter at or near its foundation. It is necessary for a number of reasons.
In particular, you need to make sure that the panels or vertical sheeting of your structure are properly connected to a concrete foundation to avoid weather elements causing serious damages. Simply put, a steel building base condition is vital in maintaining the durability of your structure. A build-up of moisture, for instance, may cause rusting to an unsecured foundation.
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For those who may not be familiar with it, a steel building base condition is the type of component that determines how the base of your wall panel is attached. It is made up of a lateral structural support component and an optional base trim. It runs the whole circuit of the structure forming a direct connection between the foundation and wall panels to serve as a structural support. The concrete is usually poured with a ledge or a 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” notch to enable panel expansion below the floor.
A steel building base condition is not particularly required for your structure. But if you want an extra protection against infiltration of water and air, it is highly recommended.
Since it comes with various functions and types, it will help if you would discuss the most appropriate base condition for your steel building with your manufacturer and contractor. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different base condition options work in different situations.
Below are a few options available for you. Study them before choosing a quality base condition for your steel building.
1. Base angle. The default base condition that is generally used for steel buildings is the base angle which typically has concrete anchored to the foundation. In fact, building estimates usually take base angle into account unless you choose another option. Bent at a right angle, this single member with exposed fasteners attaches to the slab and the wall sheet. To increase further its longevity and durability, you may opt to have it galvanized.
On a negative note, however, in order to extend the sheets below the top of the slab, a base angle requires that it forms with a 1” sheet notch. This is a downside since a chemical reaction resulting in discoloration may occur with the wall sheets usually ending up in direct contact with the concrete. Moreover, the cost of extending the slab by adding 1” for the notch is usually higher than any other steel building base condition options. It is important to remember that a base angle that is too small has its concrete more vulnerable to chipping or breaking as the fasteners become more close to the edge of the slab.
2. Base Girt. Structures that rest on piers generally used base girt rather than a solid slab foundation. In contrast to other base condition options that attach directly to the foundation, a base girt attached to the steel columns. It is typically placed 6-8” from the column base. It is generally a Zee member that match the other wall girts. It is liner ready.
3. C-Shaped Base Channel. This option is typically used for steel buildings with an interior wall installation or a liner panel. The C-shaped member that rests on the concrete slab forms the connecting point for the interior panels. Similar to base angle, however, it requires a sheet notch in the slab. It is also liner ready.
The C-section’s inside leg offers a venue for fastening the bottom of the liner through a self-drilling screw. It is also worth noting a stem wall can be used with base channels if a solid concrete is not poured on the wall.
4. Base Trim. As the name implies, included in the steel building base condition is a trim piece that keeps air and moisture out of the structure. It provides a connecting point to the slab and at the same time a ledge for the panel to sit atop. It helps in preventing pests from entering through the structure’s base. Another great thing about this type of condition that makes it perfect in areas with severe weather conditions is that it prevents rusting and discoloration of the steel building in the future. It does this by providing a better barrier that may prevent a direct contact of the wall panel to the concrete. They are designed to function without the use of a foundation notch. Nevertheless, they are still mostly used together for an additional level of protection.
On functionality, a base trim makes installation of wall panels easier without a notched foundation and requires less labor to install. It also helps you save money on the foundation as you save time installing wall panels. Compared with closure strips, base trim seals the building’s base better.
5. Deluxe base trim. This base condition option provides maximum protection by combining the base trim and the base angle. It is able to conceal the wall fastener while providing all the benefits of using a base trim. It is usually the most recommended as it provides the most cost-effective protection for the structure.
6. Base Trim and Base Channel. Two problems are being solved by this combined steel building base condition. First, the connection point for the liner panels is provided by the base channel. Secondly, the base trim eliminates the need for a sheet notch in the slab.
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