What to Look for When Buying Used Steel Beams

Used steel beams come not from the manufacturer, but from a job site or other location where it’s been previously used. Though this can sometimes mean that the steel is unusable, “used” steel beam can also be like-new. Often-times, if structural steel beams have only been driven a handful of times, they will still have plenty of working life left in them. No matter whether the used beam looks worn or new, there are a few important questions to ask for before purchasing. These include:

What’s the Integrity of the Steel?

In order to ensure your project maintains its structural integrity, an engineer should consider the steel’s mechanical properties, such as toughness, strength, weight, hardness, and elasticity, then decide if the size, condition, and shape of the steel beam is good enough to withstand the desired load for its lifetime.

What is the Steel Grade?

Steel is a combination of iron and carbon. There are more than 3,500 different grades of steel, which are determined by the amount of carbon and alloys in the steel, as well as the way it was processed. Before purchasing used steel beam, it’s important to determine whether the steel grade matches your project’s requirements.

Do the Beams Come with a Mill Certification?

Though this is not required, used steel beam that comes with a mill certification has an advantage because the certification will show that the steel complies with an international standards organization (such as ANSI, ASME, etc.) specific standards.

How Many Times Has the Beam Been Driven?

The more times the steel has been driven, the less its integrity. Before purchasing used steel beam, its important to ensure that it meets the integrity standards for your project.

Is the Beam the Right Length?

And if not, can it be cut or spliced to the correct length? By confirming this in advance, you’ll save yourself the costly hassle of reselling and repurchasing the correct steel beam size for your project.

Steel beams: wide flange, h-oile, and more

What Type of Environment Has the Beam Been Driven Into?

Even if the steel beam has been driven before, this does not necessarily disqualify it from further use. However, the type of environment in which the steel beam has been previously driven can help determine the beam’s integrity. For example, sand is softer than soil, so steel beam that has previously only been driven into sand will likely have less overall wear and tear.

Common Sizes for Steel Beam

Steel beam is sold in a wide range of sizes. Some common sizes include:

  • W8: W8x18, W8x21, W8x24, W8x28, W8x31, W8x35, W8x40, W8x48, W8x58, W8x67

  • W10: W10x22, W10x26, W10x30, W10x33, W10x39, W10x45, W10x49, W10x54, W10x60, W10x68, W10x77, W10x88, W10x100, W10x112

  • W12: W12x26, W12x30, W12x35, W12x40, W12x45, W12x50, W12x53, W12x58 ,W12x65, W12x72, W12x79, W12x87, W12x96, W12x106, W26x120, W12x136, W12x152, W12x170, W12x190, W12x210, W12x230, W12x252

  • W14: W14x22, W14x26, W14x30, W14x34, W14x38, W14x43, W14x48, W14x53, W14x61, W14x68, W14x74, W14x82, W14x90, W14x99, W14x109, W14x120, W14x132, W14x145, W14x159, W14x176, W14x193, W14x211, W14x233, W14x257, W14x283

  • W16: W16x26, W16x31, W16x36, W16x40, W16x45, W16x50, W16x57, W16x67, W16x77, W16x89, W16x100

  • W18: W18x35, W18x40, W18x46, W18x50, W18x55, W18x60, W18x65, W18x71, W18x76, W18x86, W18x97, W18x106, W18x119, W18x130, W18x143, W18x158, W18x175, W18x192, W18x211, W18x234

  • W21: W21x44, W21x50, W21x57, W21x58, W21x55, W21x62, W21x68, W21x73, W21x83, W21x93, W21x101, W21x111, W21x122, W21x132, W21x147, W21x166, W21x182, W21x201, W21x223, W21x248, W21x275

  • W24: W24x55, W24x62, W24x68, W24x76, W24x84, W24x94, W24x103, W24x204, W24x117, W24x131, W24x146, W24x162, W24x176, W24x192, W24x207, W24x229

  • W27: W27x84, W27x94, W27x102, W27x114, W27x129, W27x146, W27x161, W27x178, W27x194

  • W30: W30x90, W30x99, W30x108, W30x116, W30x124, W30x132, W30x148

  • W33: W33x118, W33x130, W33x141, W33x152, W33x169

  • W36: W36x135, W36x150, W36x160, W36x170, W36x182, W36x194, W36x210, W36x232, W36x256

  • HP8: HP8x36

  • HP10: HP10x42, HP10x57

  • HP12: HP12x53, HP12x63, HP12x74, HP12x84, HP12x89, HP12x102, HP12x117

  • HP14: HP14x73, HP14x89, HP14x102, HP14x117

  • HP16: HP16x88, HP16x101, HP16x121, HP16x141, HP16x162, HP16x183



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