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You may have a variety of options for the structural material on your next building project, such as concrete, aluminum or even a composite plastic. But before you make your choice, consider the proven benefits of the most commonly used metal in the world – steel.
Structural steel is an extremely strong building material. More specifically, typical structural steel has a tensile strength of 50,000 pounds per square inch, which is usually referred to as 50 ksi. By comparison, standard concrete's strength is 3 to 5 ksi, while even steel-reinforced concrete only measures 12 to 15 ksi.
Steel also boasts a high strength-to-weight ratio, allowing you to use a smaller amount of steel to achieve the same results, when compared to most alternative materials. For example, a steel building frame is roughly 50 percent lighter than a concrete frame of the same size, which saves money because a lighter structure can use a smaller foundation.
The individual structural steel components are fabricated away from the building site, meaning they can all be made in advance. Once on-site building begins, the steel elements can be delivered to the site as needed. Because you don't have to build any frame parts on-site, your construction period is shorter and, therefore, more predictable. For example, a shorter on-site building schedule reduces the risk of delays due to extreme weather conditions.
Steel is a highly versatile material that can be used in a wide variety of projects, in part because it can be fabricated into many different shapes. You'll find flat steel plates or bars, round or square steel rods, L-shaped angles, I-shaped beams and many other options.
Classic, But Still Green
You may not think of steel as a "green" material, but it is eco-friendly in many ways. For example, steel is not only the most frequently used but the most commonly recycled metal in the world. The structural steel you buy today will likely include about 88 percent recycled material. Also, the amount of energy it takes to manufacture steel is approximately 30 percent less than it was 30 years ago. And because steel lasts so long, it will likely be many decades before anyone has to use more energy to replace the building.
Steel, therefore, combines the best of the old and the new. It remains a premier building material today, as it has been for many decades, and yet it continues to improve and grow with the times. And, if you need a final reason to choose structural steel, remember that it's an American-made product, with 7.5 million tons produced in the U.S. in 2013.
For more information, contact Garelick Steel or a similar company.