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Structural Steel – the Superior Building Material?

October 07, 2019

There’s no doubt that proper structural steel fabrication yields durable, long-lasting building outcomes. From steel beams, bars, rails, and rods – structural steel plays a pivotal role in maintaining the structural integrity of many of the buildings we interact with on a daily basis. But can we say the same about other popular building materials?


How does structural steel fabrication stack up against wood, when we weigh each type of building material's various pros and cons?


In this blog we will assess how structural steel stacks up compared to wood when it comes to durability, constructability, cost-effectiveness, and safety.



Durability describes the ability of a structure or its various components to perform its required application over a period of time without un-planned costs associated with maintenance and repair.

  • Structural steel fabrication is the superior choice when it comes to durability, as it offers increased strength. Structural steel also ages well without facing decay or deterioration in comparison to other building materials
  • Wood will require regular maintenance and monitoring, as it is more prone to decay or deterioration due to insects, moisture, and mold.



Cost-effectiveness is another key factor in the planning stages of construction. Allocating funds to a structurally sound building material without having to negotiate on durability and strength is an important consideration.

  • Structural Steel when stacked next to wood, structural steel may not be the most economical choice, but cost-effectiveness should never be the sole decision factor when it comes to the selection process.
  • Wood is the more cost-effective choice when it comes down to the numbers. But depending on your project needs, you may have to opt for a more structurally sound building material to meet the architectural demands which wood construction may not meet.



Ensuring safety when working with the building material of choice, and in the aftermath of a newly constructed building should be a no brainer. It is of the utmost importance to adhere to the necessary building codes, regulation and restrictions when it comes to the entire construction process – including the construction materials that are to be used.

  • Structural Steel is a non-combustible material, but must still be coated in a fire-resistant substance to ensure its structural integrity is not compromised in the event of a fire. Structural steel also lacks the porosity needed for the growth of mold and mildew – making it a safer building material option when compared to wood.
  • Wood is a combustible material and is therefore more prone to compromised structural integrity in the event of a fire. When faced with water, wood is also more prone to developing mold and mildew – which can also negatively impact its structural integrity in the long term. While there’s no doubt that wood is a great building material, it is best used in conjunction with other building materials to yield safer and more durable outcomes.