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What Are the Different Types of Steel Beams?

October 17, 2018

A steel beam is understood as a piece of structural steel that is specially designed to support a heavy load. Steel beams are crucial in the construction of buildings and structures, however there are many different types that offer different uses.  Each of these beams has their own unique characteristics, ensuring that you get the correct support that your structure needs.


Our steel beams at Scarboro Steel are durable, reliable, and will help you on your next construction project!


Structural steel beams are classified based on their geometry and how they are helping support structures. Their shape can either be straight or curved, however straight beams are the most common.


Here are the three most popular steel beams used in construction:


  • I-Beam: The shape of these steel beams resemble the capital letter “I”. They are characterized by their tapered flanges and are typically found in industrial structures. They appear in two unique styles, parallel flange surface cross section I-beam and a sloping inner flange surface S-beam. There are alternative versions of this beam that are commonly used in residential properties, often referred to as a W-beam with wide straight flange beams.
  • H-Beam: These beams have longer flanges in comparison to the I-beams. Additionally, they are usually heavier but are still mistaken for I-beams because of their similarities. However, keep in mind that the name implies the shape that is associated with the letter “H”. These beams have flanges and webs that have a uniform thickness typically.
  • Channel: These steel beams are known for their C-shaped cross-section channel. Both the top and bottom components of these beams have a sloping inner flange surface. Due to this form, they are not as sturdy and strong as its steel beam counterparts.


These are just a few types of steel beams that are popular in construction projects. There are many other beams to consider for your industrial applications. At Scarboro Steel Works, we are more than happy to answer questions about what beams will be perfect for your next project. Call or email us today to learn more about our steel beams and the other services we offer!