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H-Beam Vs I-Beam

Structural steel has been used extensively in the construction of commercial buildings since the first steel-framed building, the Rand Mcnally Building erected in 1890.

Since then, steel has been used for major construction projects. The availability of steel makes it much easier to use.

First, it bonds well to concrete and has many features that make it even better than concrete when it comes to construction projects.

Steel is still one of the preferred material options in construction, as it takes less time to build and contributes to a perfect combination of lightness, high strength, and ease of manufacture.

It has been an important component in commercial construction projects. Speaking of steel, H and V beams are two of the most common structural members used in construction to provide support for buildings and walls.

i Beam

What Is H-Beam?

H beam is a structural beam made of rolled steel. It is incredibly strong. It gets its name because it looks like a capital H over the cross-section.

H-beam has wider flanges than I-beam, but I-beam has tapered edges. The width is the flange and the height is the web.

The difference between the H and I beams is the flange per band ratio. The H beam tends to be heavier than the I beam, which is why some say it is better than the I beam, but this is subjective, as the H beam is generally heavier.

What Is I-Beam?

An I-beam is shaped like an I. The I-beam consists of two horizontal planes, known as flanges, connected by a vertical component or the weft.

I-beam has tapered edges and gets its name because it looks like a capital letter when you see it through the cross-section. With an I-beam, the height of the cross-section is greater than the width of its flange.

Difference Between H-Beam and I-Beam

H-Beam and I-Beam: Basics of

The H beam, as the name suggests, is an H-shaped structural member made of rolled steel and is known as a wide flange beam.

It is one of the most used structural members in the United States. It looks like an ‘H’ over the cross-section and is incredibly strong and has a larger surface area in the cross-section of the beam.

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I beam, on the other hand, is also known as an H beam, but it looks like an ‘I’ of the cross-section. It is basically a beam of rolled steel or a beam with a cross-section in the form of the capital letter I.

H-Beam and I-Beam: Projects

In terms of design, H beams have longer, wider and heavier flanges than I beams, but both terms H beam and I beam can be used interchangeably most of the time and are commonly called laminated steel beams (RSJ) The horizontal element at the top and bottom of a beam is called a flange, which is usually narrower on I-beams, but is almost equally wide as such.

The height of a beam is the web, which is thicker in H beams, which makes them relatively stronger than I beams. 1-beams, on the other hand, have thin webs and conical flanges.

B-beam and B-beam: Strength

The H-beams are made of economically sectioned steel, with a more optimized cross-sectional distribution area and a reasonable strength-to-weight ratio, which means it can provide more strength per unit weight.

This makes welding the H-beams relatively simpler than that of the I-beams. And due to its larger surface area in the cross-section, it is considered to have a high strength rate.

However, I-beams are generally deeper than wide, which makes them quite good for supporting load under local buckling. In addition, I beams are lighter than H beams, which means that they will not be able to withstand as much force as H beams.

H-Beam and I-Beam: Applications

Since H beams have thicker walls and flanges, they are ideal for mezzanines, platforms, bridges and other common residential and commercial buildings.

Wide flanges are commonly used in residential projects. The internal dimensions of the H-beams are constant, in order to make them the preferred choice of material in the structure of the trailer and truck.

I-beams, with their greater resistance to flanges, are the preferred form choice for structural steel buildings, bridges, and other civil projects.

In addition to commercial and residential construction projects, they are also used to make structures and support columns for rails, elevators, beds for trailers and trucks, winches and elevators.

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Which Is The Heaviest?

  • The H beam is generally much heavier than the I beam, which means it can receive more
  • In some buildings where weight and strength on the wall can represent a structural problem, the I-beam may be better, as it is generally lighter.

Web Center

  • An H beam has a thicker central web, which means that it is generally stronger.
  • An I beam generally has a thinner central web, which means that it is often not able to receive as much force as an H beam.


  • An H beam can be mounted, which means that it can be mounted at any size or height.
  • An I beam can only be constructed as long as the manufacturer’s milling equipment allows.


  • H beams can be used for spans up to 330 feet.
  • An I-beam can be used for spans from 33 to 100 feet.


  • H-beam: H-beams have top and bottom flanges that stick out further from the web than the flanges on I-beams.
  • I-beam: I-beams have top and bottom flanges, and they are shorter and are not as wide as H-beams.

Number of Pieces

  • The H beam looks like a piece of metal but has a chamfer in which three pieces of metal come together.
  • An I beam is not made by welding or riveting metal sheets together and is just a piece of metal throughout.


Although the terms beam H and I are often used interchangeably in the construction industry, saying that one is better than the other is quite subjective.

Both are the two most common structural steel beams used in various structural steelmakers, as support beams for the construction of commercial and residential buildings.

Both look almost the same on the outside, except that they differ in geometry. These are the two versions of steel structural beams used in a wide range of applications.

The H beam has an H-shaped cross-section, while the I beam has a cross-section in the form of the capital letter ‘I’.

Technically, an I-beam can be referred to as an H-beam with slightly different mechanical properties, such as strength/weight ratio, load capacity, tensile strength and so on..

Source: civiljungle

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