Steel I Beam Cost
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How Much Does a Steel I Beam Cost?

Last Updated on June 6, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Steal I beams are used by engineers and architects for certain important parts of residential constructions, although they are usually used for commercial building construction. They are intended so that important parts of the house will stand for long periods of time.

The I-beam is among the most important types of steel materials that will be used for your house’s foundation. So if you’re considering reinforcing your foundation with it, here’s a guide to the steel I-beam prices.

Steel I-Beam Prices

Steel I beam costs anywhere between $110 and $450 per foot to install. Your average residential construction will require $1,200 to $4,200 worth of steel I beam. You’ll likely spend between $5,000 and $10,000 to replace a load-bearing wall with a support beam, according to the United States Water Proofing. Steel I-beam prices for the materials alone are $6 to $20 per foot.

Adding underpinnings for support, rerouting utilities, or knocking down walls will incur additional costs.

Support Beam Cost Installed Type Per Foot Installed Total Cost Installed
Steel I-Beam (Complex) $550+ $6,600 – $11,000
LVL Beam $55 – $220 $880 – $2,750
Steel I-Beam $110 – $440 $1,320 – $4,620

Steel I-beam material prices per foot

Steel I-Beam Prices Size Weight Per Foot (pounds) Material Cost Per Foot
S6 x 12.5 12.5 $13.20 – $19.80
S4 x 7.7 7.7 $7.70 – $13.20
S3 x 5.7 5.7 $6.60 – $8.80

Switching from wood structural beams to steel beams offers you several advantages, including:

  • You can extend roof lines and make longer balconies even without getting support columns below when using steel beams. Steel provides engineering options unmatched by any other type of material.
  • You will increase your home’s structural strength when using steel beams, as well as give you design options that can support heavier building materials or open up some walls.
  • They are fire-resistant, and rot-resistant, and provide a higher weight-bearing capacity.

You can contact a general contractor around you for a free, accurate estimate.

Cost To Install A Steel Beam

The average steel beam installation cost is anywhere between $100 and $400 per foot, or $1,200 to $4,200 in total. This cost includes delivery, permits, engineer’s inspection, and installation.

If you use very complex steel beam installations with long spans or underpinnings, expect prices of $6,000 to $10,000, or around $500 per foot.

Cost To Install A Steel Beam National Average Cost Minimum Cost Maximum Cost Average Range
$3,190 $880 $11,000 $1,320 to $4,620

When you install a steel support beam, you will have to get a custom-order steel beam type that is given by the structural engineer.

Steel Beam Installation Cost Breakdown

Cost Breakdown To Install A Steel Beam Average Cost
Structural Engineer $330 – $1,100
Steel I-Beam $66 – $198
Delivery $88 – $440+
Installation $550 – $2,200
Permits $82.50 – $550
Total Cost $1,116.50 – $4,488

The total cost and method of installing a new beam can include:

  • Labor and materials you will need when refinishing the walls, floors, and ceiling after the installation of the beam is complete
  • If you need a crane to lift the new steel beam in its place, you have to consider crane rental fees
  • The delivery fees associated with having the beam brought to you, as well as the beam itself, when you need LVL beams or custom steel beams
  • Labor costs related to adding more support if you need columns or underpinnings
  • If you need to replace a load-bearing wall with a beam or remove it altogether, this will incur additional fees
  • If you need to remove an old beam, you will pay labor and disposal fees
  • An inspection by a structural engineer to see the exact type of beam you need
  • Your city council’s permit fees

You might also like our articles about the cost of steel buildings, block foundation repair, and house framing.

Steel I Beam Cost Calculator

If you need to calculate the weight the beam will have to support and the space your building design will allow for the beam, you will have to get a structural engineer inspection. This inspection will cost somewhere between $300 and $1,200. The steel beam prices will depend on factors like:

  • The weight of the beam will influence the local shipping or delivery costs
  • A galvanized beam coated with zinc or a painted beam will come at different prices
  • The current stock of the beam supplier, as well as the current market value of steel
  • The quality of the steel, along with its grade and weight
  • Whether you go for a U-beam, H0beam, I-beam, or something else
  • The thickness of the metal beam and its length, as well as whether you need a wide flange or not

Steel Beam Cost Per Foot

H-beams are usually stronger than I-beams, which is why the first ones are $11 to $90 per foot, while the second type is $7 to $20 per foot. The differences in weight-bearing capacity, span, weight, and shape, also make the H-beams more expensive than I-beams.

Steel Beam Cost Per Foot Type Size Weight Per Foot (pounds) Cost Per Linear Foot
H-Beam W12 x 65′ 65 $26.40 – $88.00
H-Beam W6 x 12′ 12 $13.20 – $15.40
H-Beam W4 x 13′ 13 $12.10 – $17.60
I-Beam S6 x 12.5′ 12.5 $13.20 – $19.80
I-Beam S4 x 7.7′ 7.7 $7.70 – $13.20
I-Beam S3 x 5.7′ 5.7 $6.60 – $8.80

Steel Support Beam Prices By Length

You will spend anywhere between $200 and $570 on a 30′ I-beam, a 10′ steel I-beam will only cost $75 to $200. As H-beams support spans that are 3 times longer and are considerably stronger, they are also much more expensive, having almost double the price of the I-beams or junior beams. The market conditions will always cause the Steel beam prices to fluctuate.

Length H-Beam Cost I-Beam Cost
8’ $88 – $143 $49.50 – $165
10’ $121 – $176 $66 – $198
16’ $192.50 – $280.50 $104.50 – $319
20’ $242 – $352 $132 – $396
24’ $291.50 – $423.50 $159.50 – $473
30’ $363 – $528 $198 – $594
40’ $484 – $704 $264 – $792

Structural Steel Prices

If you want to buy raw structural steel for common-size I-beams, you will spend around $90 per ton in bulk, $3,40 per kg if you buy by the beam, or $.90 to $1.70 per pound. You will probably only be able to buy structural steel based on weight in bulk orders and the price will likely fluctuate regularly due to market conditions.

Structural Steel Prices Unit Average Cost
Per Lb. $0.99 – $1.76
Per Ton $1,980 – $3,410
Per Kg. $2.20 – $3.74

Steel Beam vs. Wood vs. LVL Cost

The most affordable types of beams are usually LVL beams and Softwoods. The most expensive types, although the strongest as well, are heavy timber and steel ones, while concrete beams are somewhere in the middle when it comes to their price.

  • It will be a lot harder to attach the home’s components to steel than it is to do this to wood. You will need quite the architectural planning up front in the case of steel, as it needs fabricator-formed holes for the bolts.
  • You might need cranes on-site to lift the beams in their place in the case of steel beams. They will also have higher shipping fees.
  • The delivery and installation will represent the most important cost difference, and not the beam itself.
Material Average Cost Per Linear Foot
Wood – Hardwood $9.90 – $23.10
LVL (Engineered) $3.30 – $13.20
Steel $6.60 – $19.80
Glulam (Engineered) $6.60 – $37.40
Wood – Softwood $5.50 – $33.00
Concrete $7.70 – $17.60

Load-Bearing Support Beam Cost

You will likely spend $50 to $200 per foot to have a load-bearing support beam installed, while the beam alone will only cost $5 to $20 per foot. There are other support beam materials aside from steel. These include engineered beams like concrete, wood, Glulam, or LVL. Wood beams cost $5 to $23, while LVL beams are priced at $4 to $13.

  • The durability and fire resistance makes steel beams the most popular.
  • Builders are also known to combine multiple materials that they use to create a custom beam that would meet the building code requirements in your location.

Engineered Beam Cost

Depending on the type of composite structural lumber and the size you need, you will likely spend somewhere between $5 and $37 per foot for an engineered beam. Composite wood beams are made of several layers of wood that are bonded using strong glues. LVL and Glulam beams are some of the most popular engineered beam types.

Engineered Beam Cost Cost Per Linear Foot
Glulam $6.60 – $37.40
LVL $3.30 – $13.20
  • When it comes to steel pieces, these will have to be made to fit exactly right, as resizing them will require sending them back to the factory.
  • Engineered beams are preferable to steel and are considered stronger than your standard lumber. They can be trimmed on-site, which means they will fit into irregularly shaped areas.

Glulam Beam Cost

Expect prices between $7 and $35 per linear for of glulam beam. The word Glulam comes from “glued laminated timber,” a type of beam that contains multiple thin layers of wood. These are bonded together using strong glues. Aside from being very strong, this type of engineered beam is very customizable as well. YOu can even find curved shapes for vaulted ceilings.

Glulam Beam Cost Estimator Size (Inches) Cost Per Linear Foot
6.75 x 12 $25.30 – $41.80
5 x 12-18 $18.70 – $37.40
3 x 6-12 $6.60 – $15.40

LVL Beams Cost

LVL beams would cost somewhere between $4 and $14 per linear foot. LVL beams are stronger and more affordable than your average wood beams. They are also very easy to install even in long lengths, shrink-proof, and fire-resistant.

“LVL comes from laminated veneer lumber. This is a thick plank that is made from multiple layers of thin plywood bonded together. Professionals also call them micro-laminated beams, or Microlam for short.

LVL Beams Cost Size (Inches) Cost Per Linear Foot*
1.75 X 14-24 $6.60 – $12.10
3.5+ $11 – $13.20
1.75 X 7.25-11.25 $3.30 – $5.50

You should never cut the LVL beam when you’re installing it. Any cut will be considered as compromising on its strength by building inspectors, which will require you to replace it with a new one.

How to Save Money With I-Beams

IBeam SteelYou might think that installing the steel beams yourself will help you save some money, but this is hardly ever the case. For starters, a job involving working with these types of materials is far from a job that DIY enthusiasts can take on. This type of project can only be done if you hire a professional contractor. It is vital for the integrity of your home for the job to be successful, as the installation will be part of the foundation of your house.

But if you still want to cut down on prices, you should understand that using I-beams saves you money in more subtle ways.

  • Innovations in steel production. As manufacturing of the materials becomes easier, the steel I-beam costs also get lower for the final product. This is because laborers will spend fewer hours producing the I-beam. This means that the price is still bound to go down as more innovations will help hasten the processes behind manufacturing.
  • Standard steel lasts quite a lot. Your foundation will last for a long time if this material is used. You will have basically no maintenance when installing I-beams, which will also help you save some money.
  • Steel is recyclable. This means no landfill fees as you have in the case of non-recyclable construction waste. You can also talk with steel companies to collect the leftovers of your project so that they can use them in making other beams, which means transporting the waste at no cost to you.
Alec Pow
1 reply
  1. Claire Masters
    Claire Masters says:

    I understand why steel beams can be beneficial especially because they can be recycled and when you are ready to dispose of them, certain companies would gather them for you for free. I also wonder if there are services that do custom fabrication of this construction material. This is because my husband once had a unique architectural design for our future home that may need a specific shape of the beam.

    Reply

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