Structural steel is a high strength construction material, which can be made into different forms. However, the strength of the steel does not change with its shape. In structural engineering, it is common practice to produce beams, of different shapes, from structural steel. Steel I Beams are beams with its cross-section in the form of a capital letter I.


The steel I Beam comprises two flanges (horizontal element of the beam) connected by a web (a vertical aspect of the beam).

The I beam, in most modern structures, forms an H beam when turned on its side. Therefore, in some construction projects, referring to I beams as H beams is a norm.

The material (steel) together with the method of construction of these beams makes them very strong. In steel beams construction, a bulk of the material is along the axial fibers (note: the axial fibers are areas receiving the most stress.) of the beam. The shape is not irrelevant as the position of the flanges ensures the structure resists bending moment, and the position of the web resists shear stress. Therefore, handling different loads.

It is important to note that, the application or type of loads the steel beam will face, determines the properties of the beams. Features such as;

  • Weight
  • Flange width
  • Flange thickness
  • Beam height and
  • Web thickness

Steel I-beams are of different specifications. In other words, there are I-beams for various applications. For example, in modern structures like new bridges, the H-beams have thicker walls and flanges. Variations in specifications will allow a structural engineer to design the ideal I-beam for the structure based on factors such as resistance to;

  • Deflection
  • vibration
  • Bending
  • yielding
  • shear failure or buckling


The importance of I-beams in the construction industry cannot be overemphasized. These beams have significant uses in a construction project because of its ability to handle different loads. Its main applications are; 

  • As the primary framework as in steel frames, or
  • As principal supporting components.

Benefits of using steel I Beam

Replacing traditional wooden beams with steel I beams has many benefits in the construction industry. In addition to strength and resisting bending moments, I-beams can be aesthetically pleasing. The benefits of using I-beams are;


Having a robust structural component like an I-beam is in every way beneficial to a construction project. Uniquely, one of those ways is cost reduction. For high strength construction components, using fewer components is imperative. And the use of fewer components results in an overall reduction in material cost.

Additionally, fewer components mean less onsite time, as there are fewer pieces to install. And less onsite time means lower labor cost, primarily if the cost is compounding with time. What this means is the proper use of steel I-beams is cost-effective.


Another unique property of I-beams is its anti-aging property. Unlike traditional wood beams, an infestation of the I-beams by termites, mold or mildew is impossible. Therefore, they do not split or crack with age. They also do not warp, rot, or expand during the wet season.

The standards and regulations in I-beams fabrication make specifications of I-beams the same in any region of the world. Production of wood beams is from trees. Therefore, regardless of cutting specifications, it is somewhat impossible to have the same properties in all regions.  


In conclusion, it is additionally easier to adjust a structure made with I-beams since they are readily available for necessary addition or modification, for example, renovations or size expansions. Wood beams are not adaptable; for this reason, they are easily replaced by I-beams during renovations.

With a consistently improving steel industry, steel beams will continue to be one of the main parts of our cutting-edge structures; regardless of whether commercial or residential. I-beams, in particular, will remain popular due to their quality and versatility.