You have likely seen steel beams at some point. However, did you know there are different types of steel beams, each having unique uses and capabilities? Steel beams are an essential part of constructing any type of building or structure, like bridges. They are also available in several shapes and sizes. While several factors must be considered, the right steel beams for your application depend on the specific construction requirements.
Check out our Steel Beams size chart at the end!
Any type of supportive structural beam that crosses over a specific area and that is designed to support a load can be categorized as a “steel beam.” Every steel beam option provides unique properties, which means you have to consider how it will be used to determine which beam you need.
The actual classification of a steel beam is dependent on geometry and how they are supported. You can find steel beams that are curved, straight, or both; however, the most common type that is used is straight beams.
Are you ready to learn more? If so, keep reading. Here you can learn more about each of the popular types of steel beams, what they offer, and why they are so popular. Being informed will help you get the steel beam that you should use.
The Different Types of Steel Beams
There are several different types of steel beams to choose from. Keep reading to learn what these are.
As the name implies, this type of steel beam is shaped just like the capital “I.” They are most commonly used for industrial applications and come with tapered flanges. The I-shaped steel beams are available in two styles. One includes a flange surface that runs parallel (which is wider) and the other one includes a slope that is on the inner flange surface, called the S-beam.
The I-beam is used for industrial projects. They have become more abundant in specific residential projects. This is due to the growing urban landscape that requires stronger and taller structures that are able to withstand all types of conditions.
W-Beam (Wide Flange Beam)
The W-Beam is very similar to the I-beam. They are also referred to as the wide flange beam. They include a straight flange and commonly used for residential construction projects.
A W-beam is easy to weld, rivet, and bolt things to. This will help improve the efficiency and speed associated with completing any type of construction project. While a traditional I-beam is considered the more durable and larger option for larger projects, a W-beam is much smaller and is a more accessible version that will let the steel be integrated into a residential project without issue.
Usually, the H-beam is longer and heavier than an I-beam. They look like the capital “H,” as the name implies, and feature longer flanges. Sometimes, the H-beam is mistaken for the I-beam, which makes identifying it properly somewhat tricky. An H-beam will have flanges and webs that include the same level of thickness in many situations.
The H-beam is suited for larger residential projects, including construction of high-rise condos. These types of larger buildings must have a strong foundation to ensure structural integrity. This makes the H-beam a smart option. In fact, a single, large pile can sustain up to 1,000 tons of weight. As more high-rise construction projects being handled through different portions of the world, the H-beams are still in high demand.
A channel is about half of an I-beam. These include a C-shaped cross section, too. Both the bottom and the top of the beam include sloped inner flange surfaces that only come out of one side of the beam. Usually, a channel is used for supporting much lighter loads because they are not considered as strong as the other beam shapes.
These are commonly used for a load bearing section. This T-section beam can be used as a type of interlinking point and provide a support base between steel and wood beams. These are commonly seen in any residential projects and the beams provide several sections of W- or I-beams for installation in a larger area without impacting the structural integrity and that allows projects with multi-levels to be constructed.
Bolts and rivets can be used to link all the beams together, offering a sturdy base that will support the base structures around it. Usually, T-section beams are found on top of steel beams and pillars, too, offering a more balanced steel internal structure.
These are also referred to as an angle beam. The L-section beam is in the shape of a 90-degree angle and can include legs that are unequal in length, which creates that distinct L-shape. This particular beam is well-known for the exceptional weight to strength ratio and makes it a smart option for use with residential construction projects.
These types of beams are also used for the corners of housing and condominiums, which help to improve the durability of an essential part of any residential building. An L-shaped beam can also be used for reinforcing other steel beams, too. This offers a clamp-like structure that helps prevent the larger steel beams from breakage or stress.
Purchasing Steel Beams
When it is time to purchase steel beams, there are more than a few factors that must be considered. It is a good idea to purchase these important building components from a quality and reputable dealer like Hamill Metals.
This is going to help ensure that the desired results are achieved and that you enjoy all the benefits that are offered by quality steel beams.
Remember, though, the building project you are doing will dictate the type of steel beam that you need to use. By knowing your options, you can make an informed decision regarding what type of beam should be used.
When it comes to steel beams, be sure to keep this information in mind. By knowing your options, you can make an educated decision. Also, working with professionals means that you can enjoy the benefits that high quality steel beams offer for the construction process.