0000 FBi Buildings vs Morton: Who's Best for Your Project?
FBi Buildings vs Morton: Who
Angie Dobson

By: Angie Dobson on November 11th, 2019

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FBi Buildings vs Morton: Who's Best for Your Project?

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Our builder comparison for this week is featuring Morton Buildings.®

Arguably one of FBi’s biggest competitors, Morton constructs post frame buildings for ag, commercial, residential, community and equine facilities. They’re firmly committed to being the industry leader with a focus on innovation, service, and quality.

Morton pledges to construct only high-quality, post frame structures that help make your dreams come true.

In this blog, we will be presenting the facts and strengths of each builder. Our goal is to help you have a better understanding of how FBi compares to Morton before you make a final decision.

FBi Buildings vs Morton: 7 Key Differences to Look For

1. Customer Service

FBi Buildings

CTA_Customer

From the first call into the office, all the way to the last call with your Project Manager, FBi tries to ensure that you’re aware of what’s going on with your post frame building project every step of the way. 

Each customer is assigned their own personal Project Sales Consultant that lives in their area. FBi currently has 14 Project Sales Consultants that are spread throughout Illinois and Indiana covering designated territories. This allows them to meet with you not only to understand your needs in person, but walk your property and help you identify the best location for your building.

Once the project is finalized and you’re ready for construction to start, you will be given a personal Project Manager. They are responsible for the scheduling of FBi’s crews along with providing resources to help check your site prep or answer other questions you might have.

FBi’s Project Managers help outline your project in four specific phases:

  • Processing: Is an overview of the first steps to your construction project. This is also where FBi will be going over site preparation, permitting, and approximate start time.
  • Design & Permit: FBi will follow up with you about your building permits and site prep updates. Your Project Manager will also be reviewing your construction drawings and validating the expected construction start date. 
  • Pre-Mobilization: Involves your Project Manager in completing the steps to set up the date the crew and material will arrive.
  • Construction: This phase details the main milestones that will happen during construction that you need to be aware of along with the finishing steps after completion. 

Morton Buildings

Morton’s customer service approach is slightly different from FBi’s. Instead of having a designated Project Sales Consultant and Project Manager you will only have one point of contact throughout the entire construction process. Your Morton Sales Consultant will also be responsible for scheduling the construction of your building as well as the delivery of your materials and any other services that might be needed (dumpster rental, porta potty, etc).

Who has the best customer service?

Both companies offer assistance every step of the way, but with different approaches. Having one point of contact with Morton from start to finish can help reduce change and be a value add upfront. FBi’s approach of switching from your Project Sales Consultant to your Project Manager can be a negative change at first when compared to Morton’s consistency. 

However, FBi’s Project Managers are able to spend all their time on sold contracts and assisting you through your entire construction process. In contrast, Morton’s sales representatives are still tasked with selling other projects and can be harder to get ahold of due to their multiple roles. 

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

2. Service Areas

FBi Buildings

FBi is a family-owned company that started in 1958. Their corporate headquarters is located in Remington, Indiana. During that time they’ve been known as the preferred pole barn builder in the Midwest. 

Currently, their service area is limited to Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Southern Michigan. However, if you have a unique project that is outside of their building territory, they will look into pursuing other options to see if it is feasible for them to be your pole barn builder. 

Morton Buildings

Founded in 1903 as the Interlocking Fence Company, Morton’s core function was to sell fencing by mail to farmers. In 1949, they created their first machine storage building for farm use. By 1964, what was once known as the Interlocking Fence Company became Morton Buildings. 

With their headquarters located in Morton, Illinois, Morton operates over 100 employee-owned construction centers and have offices located in over 30 states. 

Who has the best service area?

Morton easily wins this area. With eight manufacturing plants and pole barns spread across 30 states, their service area coverage can’t be beaten. 

FBi vs Morton_Morton Wins

3. Pole Barn Materials

Steel

FBi buildings_steel gauage_tensile strength-1FBi Buildings

FBi’s panels are 29 gauge, heat-treated, full-hard, high-tensile steel with a minimum yield point of 80,000 PSI (pounds per square inch). That’s 60 - 78% higher than what’s commonly used. 

A high yield is nearly twice as strong as other steel and can improve the structural integrity of your building by providing greater resistance to impact damage from hail, rocks, etc.

Their buildings also feature galvalume walls and roofs. Depending on what pole barn color you choose, FBi will also use galvanized steel panels on their walls. 

Galvalume is a combination of aluminum, silicon, and zinc coating that fights corrosion. This is different from galvanized steel where once their galvanized coatings wears down or is penetrated, corrosion will begin to spread.

Morton Buildings

Unlike FBi, Morton uses 26-gauge commercial quality Hi-Rib™ steel that is manufactured at their own plant.

Morton’s panels have rib height up to 33% higher and steel thickness that is up to 25% thicker than panels used by other builders. To protect their steel, Morton uses two different types of coating (zinc or a mixture of zinc and aluminum). 

Galvanized steel is 100% zinc, while Galvalume is 30% zinc and 70% aluminum.

In order to get the strength needed to carry roof loads, flat sheets of steel are run through a roll-forming machine. To form the ribs, the steel is stretched and bent.

Who has the best steel?

There’s a lot of back and forth between builders on the importance of steel strength and what type of steel gauge you should be using for your post frame building. However, we do have to give a nod to Morton for manufacturing their own steel and offering a stronger steel.

When you compare the two metals, FBi’s steel has a higher yield strength (80,000 PSI) compared to Morton (40,000 PSI). This rigid material will better withstand projectile damage (e.g., hail and rocks). 

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Watch the video below to see how FBi and Morton’s steel compares when put under the typical pressure of a post frame building.

Wood

FBi Buildings

The type of wood that FBi uses is dependent on the building design. For example, if you’re going to build a pole barn that will have large clear spans than FBi will use Machine Stress-Rated (MSR) lumber for their trusses. Each piece of MSR lumber is tested for stiffness and strength prior to being used.

FBi will also use #1 lumber for jobs that require smaller trusses.

Morton Buildings

Morton’s wood selection process is identical to FBi’s. They also use MSR lumber that is tested for stiffness and strength prior to being used on any job. 

Who has the best wood?

Both companies are equal when it comes to the type of wood being used. Therefore, this section is a tie between FBi and Morton.

FBi vs Morton_Both Win

Structural Integrity eBook_FBi Buildings

Screws

FBi Buildings_Screws_vs_Nails_Post_Frame_BuildingFBi Buildings

FBi uses a stainless steel capped, self-sealing screw. The screw fasteners encapsulate the sealing washer to protect it from the elements and to improve aesthetics. 

The washer maintains its seal and is more reliable than commonly used neoprene, and offers the best heat, cold, weather, and ozone resistance.

Morton Buildings

Morton developed their own stainless steel screw - the Stainless Steel Internal Drive® Screw.

This screw was created to provide a color-matched fastener that would look better and virtually eliminate the possibility of rust. This fastener features a solid stainless steel head and shank, as well as a separate stainless steel and EPDM washer. The screw also revolves independently to reduce damage caused by metal shards during installation.

Who has the best screws?

Morton gets a nod for developing their own screws, but the winner of this category goes to FBi. FBi is the better choice for screws because the screws that they use are stainless steel. The head of the screw is formed to “umbrella” the washer to protect it from the elements and dry rot, longer. If you are worried about roof leaks, you’ll want to make sure that you have a screw that is protecting the water sealing washer. FBi’s stainless steel head is guaranteed to never rust.

Morton’s hex head is flat and there’s no UV protection for their washer. Their shank of the screw is also softer because it’s full stainless steel. This also makes it a prime candidate for rust. 

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Trusses

FBi_Truss_PlantFBi Buildings

FBi trusses are made in their own plant and engineered specifically for your building. Their truss plant is also certified by a third party Truss Plate Institute inspection service to ensure the quality fabrication of all trusses. 

The lumber used to build the trusses is joined with heavy-duty steel plates. These plates have a dense concentration of long teeth providing excellent grip on the wood.

Morton Buildings 

Similar to FBi, Morton also builds their trusses in-house. Each truss is built specifically for the type of building, meaning no two trusses are built the same. 

Morton’s specially engineered trusses are made from premium-grade lumber. For added strength and corrosion protection, the factory fabricated trusses include heavy-duty zinc galvanized gusset plates that are rolled on during construction. The predrilled, factory-cut continuous purlin system adds strength, rigidity, and uniformity. 

Who has the best trusses?

FBi wins this narrowly as they press their steel plates on their trusses instead of rolling them on. Using this technique allows FBi to be even more precise when engineering truss strength when compared to Morton rolling their truss plates on.   

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Paint

Paint Comparison_FBi BuildingsFBi Buildings

FBi’s side and roof panels are finished with the Kynar 500 Fluoropolymer paint system. This system isn’t just a wet dipped or sprayed on paint, it’s baked on paint that has a strong resistance to fading, chalking, and corrosion. 

Developed in the 1960s, Kynar was initially produced by a single manufacturer for use on historic and monumental buildings. Their panels are known to retain their rich color for 40 years or longer.

Morton Buildings

Morton offers the FLUOROFLEX® paint system. FLUOROFLEX 1000 consists of a 70% polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) topcoat or “color coat” and polyurethane primer that is coated onto a heavy GALVALUME® or a heavy hot-dipped galvanized steel substrate. 

Their panels are known to be virtually maintenance-free, easy to clean, and will maintain their rich color for 35 years or longer.

Who has the best paint?

Both paint systems are extremely well known in the post frame industry, and have a strong resistance to fading, chalking, and corrosion. This one is a tie between FBi and Morton. 

FBi vs Morton_Both Win

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings

Columns

Perma_Column_2FBi Buildings

There are two types of ground contact for your columns that you can choose from when pricing your building: Laminated and Perma-Column

Similar to FBi’s trusses, they also build their laminated columns in-house. Laminated columns have greater strength in standard post frame buildings and longevity against rot than solid posts. Each layer of ground contact lumber is completely permeated with wood preservative and kiln-dried. 

Not all column treatments are equal. FBi uses a .80 treatment in their columns which is 33% greater than industry standards. This treatment prevents rot and termite damage. 

Alternatively, you can use Perma-Columns which are precast concrete columns. This sustainable solution is guaranteed to withstand insect damage, decay, and rotting as no wood goes into the ground. 

Using 10,000 PSI precast concrete, perma-columns are 3x stronger than standard concrete. Then, the columns are reinforced with 60,000 psi rebar welded to a ¼’’ steel bracket.

Morton Buildings

Morton believes that you can extend the life of your post frame building by using concrete lower columns in your foundation, rather than wood. By removing wood from the ground, they believe you’ll get a stronger, more durable building.

They call this evolution the Morton Foundation System™ (MFS). All Morton buildings come standard with this system. 

They key benefits of the MFS are:

  • Removes wood from the ground
  • No need for treatment, providing an eco-friendly option
  • Their pre-form concrete column strength is 2.5 times greater than a typical concrete foundation wall
  • 50-year warranty
  • Increased durability to corrosion, shock, freeze and thaw cycles

Who has the best columns?

Morton comes out on top with this one. Both companies offer a concrete column option that are known to last longer than any laminated column. However, the difference is FBi’s Perma-Column is an upgrade and Morton’s MFS comes standard with their buildings.

FBi vs Morton_Morton Wins

Doors

FBi Buildings

Step_Saver_Latch

Sliding Doors

FBi’s EasyMotion sliding door was introduced in 2010. One of the perks that’s included with this door is the StepSaver Latch. This system saves you time and energy.

No more running around to the walk-in door to disengage cam latches and snugger chains. Just turn the key and grab the handle. It’s that simple! 

The EasyMotion door also features the Posi-Guide Track. This guide doesn’t collect rain, ice, snow, or debris (i.e., bird nests and leaves). A unique low-friction polymer roller is protected behind and underneath the track. This system keeps the door snug to the building as it operates.

Overhead Doors

Overhead doors are something that is not standard with FBi’s buildings. If you’re interested in having overhead doors on your building we will work directly with our preferred vendors to supply you with the style and size needed. 

FBi’s in-house engineers carefully evaluate the entire building system and will specify the necessary foundation, column and header sizes to carry the expected loads for each door. 

Morton Buildings 

Sliding Doors

Similar to FBi, Morton also has their own sliding door system. They call this system the AlumaSteel® Sliding Door System. This door system also includes an exterior opening system similar to StepSaver.

Their sliding doors open and close easily and are warranted for five years with no wind velocity limit. They’re also color-matched to accent your building and are available in a variety of widths (from 8’ to 40’). 

Overhead Doors

Similar to FBi, overhead doors are something that does not come standard with Morton buildings. If you’re interested in having overhead doors on your building they will also work directly with their preferred vendors to supply you with the style and size needed. 

Who has the best doors? 

Where FBi separates themselves from Morton is their posi-guide track. FBi’s track being off the ground helps eliminate rocks, sticks, or leaves from jamming the door and needing to be cleaned. 

However, if you prefer to use overhead doors then both companies are capable of finding preferred vendors to work with.

FBi vs Morton_FBi wins with * Morton

EasyMotion_Sliding_Doors_eBook_Blog_CTA

Windows

FBi Buildings

Window Options_FBi BuildingsBelieve it or not, there’s a lot of decisions to make when choosing windows for your pole barn. The windows that we offer are energy-efficient and come in popular styles.

Some of your choices could include the following:

  • Double-hung
  • Single slider
  • Eyebrow
  • Half-round
  • Gothic
  • Full Circle
  • Hexagon
  • Quarter-round

Morton Buildings

Morton also offers a wide variety of energy-efficient windows that come in several popular styles. Whether you’re looking for windows with grids, windows with shutters, or horizontal sliding windows...you’ll be able to choose from a variety of sizes.

Who has the best windows?

This is a tie between FBi and Morton as they both offer windows with their buildings. We do offer one piece of advice though...don’t be afraid to shop around. Sometimes you’ll find similar windows for a cheaper price at your local hardware store. 

FBi vs Morton_Both Win

Who has the best materials overall?

Out of the eight different material categories FBi comes out the winner. They win five out of the eight categories; those being steel, screws, trusses, doors and paint. Morton ties FBi with their wood, columns, and windows.

FBi vs Morton_Material Winners_Blog Update

Design Your Pole Barn_FBi Buildings

4. Delivery

FBi Buildings

Site_Access

The same day that your construction starts, your material will be delivered on-site. FBi doesn’t prefer to deliver your materials to your site and have them sit out in the elements until the crew shows up. Depending on the size of your project will also determine the size and type of equipment that will be showing up. 

FBi normally brings the following equipment to a job-site:

  • A semi for material and delivery
  • Gradall / telehandler
  • Crew truck and trailer
  • Skid-steer. if applicable
  • And a crane, if applicable

Their materials are delivered with company employed drivers straight from their own lumber yard.

Morton Buildings

Morton’s delivery approach is slightly different from FBi’s. Yes, they do have their own delivery trucks and personal drivers, but they do not direct ship their materials in conjunction with their construction crews showing up. 

Their salesman schedules when the material will be shipped and the driver stages it when he arrives on site. This could be a con because the crew foreman isn’t there to help the driver stage the material and the material could be on site longer than what it needs to be.

Who has the best delivery?

Morton gets a nod for their wider range of delivery service, but the winner here is FBi. FBi takes this one due to a more personalized and comprehensive approach to delivery that is in conjunction with their crews showing up onsite.

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

5. Construction

FBi Buildings

Crew_Win

FBi’s average crew person has been employed for over 13 years. Experienced men make fewer mistakes, giving you a higher quality building. We also have a Crew Management team of construction veterans who oversee and support the foremen and his crew.

They also have a rigorous SafeStart safety training and Core 54 (apprentice carpenter training) programs that all of their crews go through.

Morton Buildings

Morton also employees their own construction crews, and their crew foreman are provided with continuous education on safety, quality, and productivity. On average, their crew foreman have 16 years of experience.

Similar to FBi, they also have their training program called Morton 36. 

Who has the best construction?

Both companies provide experienced construction crews, therefore this section is a tie. Between the continuous training courses and the experienced Construction Management teams, your building is in good hands if you choose FBi or Morton.

FBi vs Morton_Both Win

 

6. Warranty

FBi Buildings

A pole barn warranty is simply a promise to stand behind a product or service. All warranties are limited, and there is no standard warranty in the post frame industry.

Here’s what’s covered under FBi’s warranty:

    • Columns: Lifetime
    • Roof Structure: 20 Years
    • Red Rust: 15 Years
    • Paint: 40 Years
    • Gloss Loss: 5 Years
    • Roof Leaks: 5 Years
    • Sliding Doors: Lifetime
    • Workmanship: 1 Year

Morton Buildings

Morton also offers a warranty on their pole barns. As mentioned above, there is no standard warranty in the post frame industry so when you’re comparing builders it’s important to ask for the builder’s warranty before making a final decision. 

Here’s what’s covered under Morton’s warranty:

    • Columns: 50 Years
    • Roof Structure: 50 Years
    • Red Rust: 20 Years
    • Paint: 35 Years
    • Roof Leaks: 5 Years
    • Sliding Doors: 5 Years
    • Workmanship: 1 Year

Who has the best warranty?

FBi wins this with having a more comprehensive list of warrantied features and their coverage is longer lasting on average. 

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Structural Integrity eBook_FBi Buildings

 

7. Cost

FBi Buildings

FBi is well aware that they aren’t the cheapest post frame builder out there, but they also aren’t the most expensive. 

A standard pole building shell can cost anywhere from $15 to $45 per square foot. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Why is there a big difference in price per square foot?” 

Here’s why...

The following factors will determine if your pole barn is leaning towards the low/high side of the cost spectrum:

  • Total square feet
  • Type of features (e.g., overhangs, windows, walk-in doors, steel liner packages, etc.)
  • Current nature of the commodities market (the price of steel)

For example, adding a porch, cupolas, and numerous doors will push you closer to the $45 per square foot depending on the size of the building.  

Morton Buildings

Similar to FBi, there is no concrete cost when it comes to pricing a Morton building. A variety of factors will influence the cost of your pole barn. Those factors are:

  • Building size
  • Building location
  • Building site
  • Building features
  • Scope of work

For example, a 42’ x 60’ x 10’ garage with 2 overhead doors, overhang, walk door, wainscot, concrete and no insulation would cost $24/square feet. That same size building with insulation would cost $29/square feet

However, a 24’ x 30’ x 10’ building with the same features would cost $41/square feet and $54/square feet with insulation. 

Who has the best cost?

When removing all factors that go into cost and just look at the raw cost between the two companies FBi will typically win this battle. 

FBi vs Morton_FBi Wins

Who’s Best for Your Post Frame Building Project?

FBi vs Morton_Overall Winners_Blog Update

NOTE: The star denotes personal preference based on the buyer. Please reference each section for specifics.

Every builder has their advantages and disadvantages, and the final decision is solely up to you and your specific needs. 

  • Morton is the way to go if you’re looking for a national builder and would prefer to have one point of contact throughout the entire construction process.

  • FBi Buildings is the right choice if you’re looking to make a long-lasting investment and would like to get a more personalized sales experience

If you’re still unsure about what to do, we recommend checking out these additional resources:

We’d be happy to work with you on your pole barn project if you’re located in Indiana, Illinois, Eastern Iowa, and Southern Michigan.

Pole Barn Quote_FBi Buildings


Do you have more questions that are not covered in this article? If you need help designing and planning, please contact FBi Buildings at 800.552.2981 or click here to email us. If you are ready to get a price, click here to request a quote and a member of our customer engagement team will help you determine the next steps of your project.

About Angie Dobson

Angie graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. Prior to joining the FBi team, Angie was a kitchen and bath sales consultant in Lafayette, IN. In 2012, she started with FBi as the Inside Sales/Marketing Assistant. Today she holds the role as Marketing Project Manager. Angie grew up in a farming community and has always enjoyed helping her family on the farm. A past 10 year 4-H Member, her passion for livestock pursued her to take a career in the agriculture field. Her and her husband live in Northwest Indiana with their two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor leisure activities and spending time with friends and family.