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I-beam vs. Wide Flange beam: Explanation and Application

Walking through the stockyard, you may not initially notice the difference between two common beams – the I-beam and the wide flange beam – however, even though they may seem very similar, there are key differences that make choosing the right product vital for certain projects.

1) What's the difference between I-beam and wide flange beam?

Let's start with the basics: The horizontal pieces are known as flanges, and the vertical piece is called the web. The flanges resist bending while the web takes on the shear force.

An I-beam has tapered flanges with a narrower flange than most wide flange beams, making it a lighter building material. A wide flange beam, with wider flanges and web than the I-beam, can handle more weight, but this makes it heavier overall.

2) What type of beam should I use for certain projects?

People often ask which is better, but the truth is that it really depends on your project. Engineering is important when deciding what to use and where to use it. Both I-beams and wide flange beams are basic weight-bearing materials that can be used when developing a structure – depending on your blueprints. For smaller support weights, lighter junior beams are available.

3) Where can I get help deciding which is right for my needs?

At Texas Iron & Metal, we have knowledgeable and experienced sales associates who are always ready to help. We take the time to learn about your project and make recommendations to meet your needs. And don't forget, buying surplus or Less-Than-Prime© is a great way to save 10 – 40%.

We pride ourselves on being your ally for Prime and Less-Than-Prime© I-beam and wide flange beam of all sizes and thicknesses. If you have any questions, give us a call at 713.672.7595 today. As always, you want it, we've got it. Now that's supply on demand!