Clearing Up Terminology

Clearing Up Terminology

Clearing up Terminology

You say tomato, I say "toe-mah-toe".


In the building industry, we hear different names being used for various roofing and/or building elements. It’s important for us to be aware of these different terms because we want to serve our customers as best as possible! We’ve compiled a list of terminology that we often hear being used interchangeably.


Metal vs. Tin

Instead of metal, some people still use the word "tin," which is not recommended. The word "tin" insinuates the possibility of rust, and we've come a long way in the metal world. In fact, Reed's Metals offers painted metal that has a 40-year paint system warranty. No fading, chalking, or rusting!


Slab vs. Pad

We often hear the word "slab" or "pad" being used interchangeably, specifically when referring to concrete. However, the word "slab" is typically meant for concrete work and "pad" is primarily used for dirt work. Knowing this key difference could save you some big time and even bigger money!


Purlins vs. Girts

Often customers will refer to purlins for roofing and metal buildings. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a purlin as “a horizontal member in a roof.” So, to be accurate, purlins are really only found in roofing. When looking at a metal building, one may notice purlins on the roof and on the walls. The “purlins” seen on the walls are correctly termed “girts” or “wall girts”


Steel Trusses vs. Chicken Trusses

Another term we hear customers use interchangeably is "chicken trusses". Customers may be used to seeing trusses in chicken houses, and have, in turn, dubbed metal trusses as “chicken trusses”. These two terms most often have the same meaning, but it’s important to know that steel trusses from Reed’s Metals are made from 1/8” thick angle iron and built to engineered specifications.


Red-Head vs. Wedge Anchor

These are another pair of terms that seem to be used interchangeably. “Red-head” is actually a common brand of wedge anchors, so the term has become synonymous with “wedge anchor” A wedge anchor is a type of shorter anchor bolt used in solid concrete. Wedge anchors allow the installer to drill a hole in the concrete and insert the anchor. The item expands, wedging itself secure.


Post-Frame vs. Pole Barn

Again, another pair of terms that are often used interchangeably. These two terms have similar meanings, but have one key difference. A “post-frame” building is just that, a frame made of wooden posts. A Reed’s Metals pole barn is also designed with wooden posts. The key difference between these two structures is the truss. When referring to a post-frame building, customers may also be considering a wooden truss. A Reed’s Metals pole barn is made with a steel truss. Defining the truss material is a key part of the communication process.

Image title

Pole Barn.

Image title

Post Frame.


Metal Building vs. Steel Building

Metal buildings, whether residential or commercial, are a specialty of Reed’s Metals. Our metal buildings, otherwise known as “rigid frame” buildings, are framed using steel beams and metal purlins and girts. Roofing and siding materials come standard with our 26ga PBR metal panels, unless otherwise specified. Both metal and steel are used in our metal buildings, but for the ease of communication and the fluidity of verbiage, we refer to them as metal buildings. These two terms are used interchangeably with the same meaning.

Back to News