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A steel I beam is a great structural alternative to lolly columns or other support methods. Steel is one of the strongest building materials known to man. Steel is mostly comprised of iron, 98%. The other 2% is a hardening agent, usually carbon. It is the carbon that makes it super strong and rust resistant.
Steel I-Beam Costs
You can find a steel I-beam from your local steel supplier. If you need just one length of I-beam you may be able to have them cut you a 6' or 8' length from a scrap piece they have left over from a large shipment. This will cost anywhere from $.90 to $1.25 per pound. That means you can purchase a 125 to 150 pound beam (roughly 6 feet in length) for a cost of $112.50 to $187.50.
How much does it cost to install a steel I beam?
- You will first need to hire an engineer to come in and do some calculations and give a written sign-off on your project. He will calculate the proper length and mass of the I beam to meet code. It will cost $400 to $600 to hire an engineer for this job.
- You may look at Residential Steel Beam Column Load and Span Tables to get an idea of what size I beam you need. The engineer will certainly be using these to size up you project.
- You will then need to hire a contractor to install the steel I beam. It will probably take two people to be on site. You can hire someone under the stipulation you will assist in lifting the beam into place. That should cost you $200 to $400 and will take a half a day. If you are not going to help lift the beam it will cost $600 to $1,200 for the labor of a two man crew to get the job done.
Things to Consider
I-Beams are only good at supporting weight in one direction. The web, or main vertical section of the beam is what provides the strength for this. If there is going to be a lot of twisting or bending as a result of horizontal pressure then an I beam will not work. Ask a professional. Tutorial on I beams and how they are used.