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Universal Beams
Universal beams can be identified as the widely used steel section in the construction.
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    Order Right Steel Beam Sizes for Your Project

    Check out the options for ordering structural steel beams in Chicago, to get the right ones at Structural Beam! Call 773-917-8998 for a free quote today!

    Get Any Steel Beam Sizes in Chicago IL from Structural Beam!

    Structural steel beam sizes and nomenclature can be baffling for laypeople. Yet, it’s quite easy to understand to make the right choice. And, it’s easy to shop for your structural steel beams supply for your project in Chicago IL with Structural Beam! You need it, we’ve got it!

    Size does matter!

    Universal beams, ever heard of those?  This usual construction site suspect, also known as RSJ (rolled steel joist), I-beam, W-beam, UC (universal column), and H-beam, is the true staple of the structural steel construction industry.

    You find it everywhere, neither industrial nor commercial or residential structural steel construction can be done without its participation. Huge bridges, steel frames of giant industrial buildings, multi-floor condos, and private houses, it’s literally everywhere.

    Made of standard steel, for hot-rolled beams, it’s mostly ASTM A36 mild structural carbon steel, universal beams are both rigid and ductile, and thus a perfect material for the lasting load-bearing and structural support.

    Universal beam, and universal designation

    As diverse are the structures it takes a part in, as diverse are the sizes of the universal beams. For any type of universal beam mentioned above, the standard size designation formula will look the same. It is expressed in a designation that combines the depth of the beam, and the weight to foot ratio, lb/ft.

    Whether it is I-shaped cross-section, or I-beams, H-shaped cross-section, or H-piles, wide-flange, or W-beams, the designation is the same, but wide-flange beam sizes would be different from I-beams, due to the difference in the beam types.

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    Thumb rule!

    The choice of the beam size is determined by the open space you need to span and it is commonly calculated by the thumb rules.

    Say, you are looking to determine the depth of the steel I-section beam you’d like to span 20 feet open space for the floor support with.

    For that, you need to divide the span, measured in inches, by 20. A simple calculation of 20×12/20 gives you 12 inches. For a girder to support those beams, the choice of the depth would be the same, but the flanges will have to be thicker, which will increase the lb/ft ratio. By the same rule, the width of the beam will have to be 1/2 to 1/3 of the depth, depending on the dead and live weights it is going to be supporting. Thumb’s not gonna be enough to figure those ones out, though.

    The rule of the opposing thumb

    You see, you can still go by thumb rule, but at some point, it just starts to be more complicated, and calling first for the opposing thumb rule, and then straight for the AutoCAD program.

    That’s the beauty of getting your beams at Structural Beam, your professional metal beam supplier in Chicago IL.  Whatever is the size or the type of the structural beam you are looking to get for your project, small or big—we’ve got it covered!

    Our steel beams have good machinability, corrosion resistance, and weldability properties.
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What sizes do steel beams come in?

    There’s a wide variety of hot-rolled structural steel beam factory-produced sizes for different applications, from tiny and super-light bantam beams to mighty  WF beam W 16×45 lbs, of 45 lb/ft ratio, and greater. For some industrial applications, exceptionally large custom-built-up steel beams are produced.

    How do you read steel beam sizes?

    The designation W8x21 means that the beam will be  8 inches in depth, and 1 foot of it will be 21 pounds in weight.

    What size steel beam can span 20 feet?

    A simple calculation by the thumb rule, the span in inches divided into 20, will give us 12×20/20=12 inches of depth. So, you’ll need an I-beam with a depth of 12 inches, with the lb/ft ratio depending on the live and dead loads your beam is going to support.

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