Ever walk into a warehouse and look up? What you will find more times than not are I-beams. Those I-beams are most likely being utilized as the framework for the building and other support structures. A beam, metal or wooden, essentially serves the same function. The steel beams also provide support across the primary framework as they possess the ability to sustain a large amount of weight from varying directions. This allows the I-beam to be more versatile in how it is utilized upon installation, allowing for contractors and engineers alike to experience a simpler solution.
Now, the exact reason why I-beams are being used rather than the traditional wooden beam framework may leave you with some questions. Are the steel beams stronger? Do the steel beams last longer? Are steel beams more cost-effective? Those questions and more will be answered below as you read about the purpose and use of I-beams!
Reasons to Use I-Beams in Construction
On the surface, steel I-beams seem like a no-brainer when needing to support a large amount of weight because they are made of metal. But, I-beams with the way they are constructed, are the reason they can withstand large amounts of weight along with the material they are made of. I-beams are comprised of two horizontal flat surfaces called flanges connected by a horizontal component called a web. The flanges and webs of I-beams vary on thickness and width as the sizes are dependent upon the application. The shape of I-beams are ultimately designed to reduce and resist shear stress as the flanges act as a preventative to bending movement. Not only are I-beams designed to resist bending and shear stress, but also vibration, yielding, and reflection due to their shape.
One of the main reasons people enjoy installing wooden beams is due to the versatility it provides. You can drill holes, mount objects, and hang lighting without sacrificing any of the integrity of the wood. However, with steel beams you cannot do so as puncturing the beam in any way will reduce its structural strength. Dependent on your needs, wood beams and steel beams will be your options – but I-Beams will always be stronger.
For steel I-beams, you’re taking out a lot of guessing work of how long the material will last. In comparison to wood, where wood is subject to aging, rotting, mold, and warping, I-beams are resistant to such decay. I-beams will not falter in the way of cracking or splitting as they age. Also, one of the main reasons the durability of I-beams is superior to that of wood is that with the creation of each I-beam there are rules and regulations each must meet prior to being sold. This is much better than relying on nature as wood does as there is many more variables to their creation.
When it comes to any construction project, you want to stay at or below budget. How do you do that? Buying the exact amount of material you need or buying bigger sizes in lieu of smaller sizes if possible. That’s not the only way, however. You can also be budget-conscious by targeting to accomplish a project faster than expected if you have less material to install.
That said, I-beams’ strength comes to the forefront as construction sites can rely on less of the material with the increased amount of weight it can sustain. You will not only be able to buy fewer steel beams in comparison to wooden beams, but you will also be able to save on the overall cost of materials and shipping/freight as there will be fewer of them. Also, as you will be installing less material, there will be more free space for interiors if that is a concern.
I-beams do not have to be only for new projects. They are great for stabilizing a structure in need. Whether the building you’re working on needs additional support or modifications to existing support, I-beams serve as the optimal replacement for old wooden beams. As further renovation projects continue in the future, the use of I-beams will be commonplace due to their strength and adaptability.
Now that you understand how I-beam is utilized, you will be able to purchase with confidence. Remember to communicate with your engineer or architect to ensure you are getting the correct size of I-beam when working on a project. Once you do that, you will be on your way to creating a building with the utmost support that will not waver under most conditions. Good luck!
Visit Tampa Steel & Supply for I-Beams
Are you in need of steel supplies? Look no further than the professionals at Tampa Steel and Supply. We stock an extensive list of steel products for whatever project you need to tackle. We’re proud to have served our customers for nearly four decades and are ready to assist you with your steel needs. Have questions? Give us a call today to learn more, or stop by our beautiful Tampa showroom.