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How Much Does It Cost To Repair Structural Problems with Steel Beams?

Whether you are constructing a new building or renovating an existing one, there are times when it's necessary to brace and support the structure to ensure stability. Commercial properties commonly use steel beams for this purpose, and steel is gaining popularity for residential buildings, as it's robust and resistant to damp and fire damage, making it good for repairing timber frame properties.

The installation of beams for replacing damaged support structures, or for additional support to rectify structural problems in an existing property, is skilled work for a professional builder. Before you start contacting builders for quotes, it pays to know the average costs associated with purchasing and installing steel beams to help you identify value-for-money offers.

Table of Contents

  1. Steel Beams Repair Or Replacement Cost
  2. Steel Beam Repair Cost Factors
  3. Possible Issues With Steel Beams
  4. Steel Beam Repair Solutions
  5. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  6. Find A Pro

Steel Beams Repair Or Replacement Cost

The cost of replacing steel beams ranges from $1,091 to $3,379, with an average cost of $2,155. However, the scale of the project and the type of beams mean that prices vary considerably from as little as $800 to as much as $5,000. These costs include the materials and the price of hiring a professional builder.

Steel Beams Repair Cost

Steel Beam Repair Cost Factors

The main factors determining the cost of installing new steel beams are the price of the beams, derived partly from the cost of raw steel, and the cost of labor.

Cost of Beams

The term "steel beam" is a general term describing several types of supporting beams used in construction work. Since size and shape varies considerably to cater for specific building requirements, prices also vary. Construction engineers and builders know which type of beam is necessary for a particular project, and their recommendations inform the purchasing decisions and projected budget. Common options are:

  • I-Beams: The cross-section of this type of beam looks like a capital "I" with tapered flanges.
  • H-Beams: Although some people user the terms "I-beam" and "H-beam" interchangeably, an H-beam is actually a different type of beam that is longer and heavier.
  • W-Beams: I-beams are common in industrial applications, but W-beams are more common in residential buildings. They have straight flanges.
  • S-Beams: The "American Standard Beam," these are similar to I-beams, but they have a sloped section on the inner part of the flange.
  • Hollow Structural Sections: These support beams have a hollow tubular cross-section that is usually square or round. They are common in frames where the members experience loading in multiple directions.

The cost of raw steel is a determining factor for the cost of the beams. When raw steel costs drop, as they did in 2016 when they fell to $90 per ton, the cost of the beams also drop.

Labor

Employing experts to install steel beams accounts for the lion's share of a project's budget. The process involves analyzing the requirements of the project to determine which type of beam is most suitable and how many beams to purchase. Your supplier cuts and delivers the beams, and contractors install them in adherence to local building codes. Common costs include:

  • Site visit from an engineer: $400 to $600
  • Contractor's rates: $200 to $400 per beam
  • Delivering and locating beams: $600 to $1,200 per day

If you are installing beams to remedy structural faults, then your project may incur additional costs. For example, your contractor has to determine the reason for the initial fault, which could be a lack of support, or problems with the building's foundations.

Steel Beam Repair Cost Factors

Possible Issues With Steel Beams

Issues may arise with steel beams if they are unsuitable for a specific application. For example, I-beams are a common type of steel support beam; they are good for carrying bending and shearing loads, but inefficient for carrying torsion, which may cause them to crack or twist.

Selecting the right beam is essential. S-beams are the most common type of beam for use in a residential property. They offer great strength at lighter densities and are usually available in lengths up to 100 feet. H-beams are common in commercial properties as they are incredibly heavy and strong, capable of bearing heavy weights at lengths up to 330 feet.

I-beams, and other beams that have a similar design, only support weight vertically, with the vertical web on the beams taking the load. Thicker webs support higher loads. None of these beams are suitable for situations where the beams are under horizontal pressure. Talk to your builder to ensure you are getting the right beam for the job.

Steel Beam Repair Solutions

Steel beams have a range of applications. They play a part in renovating existing buildings, adding structures such as extensions to existing buildings, or building completely new structures.

Weaknesses in existing steel beams undermine their structural integrity. If your existing beams have twisted or cracked, or are showing evidence of any kind of damage, then you must get an expert to replace them. This process involves supporting the structure while removing the beam and inserting a new beam. It is not safe to patch up or fix the existing beams, as the weaknesses get worse over time and eventually cause the building to collapse.

Steel Beam Repair Solutions

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

Failure to correctly install or replace a steel beam has potentially disastrous consequences. The beams provide support for the building, taking the weight of floor or roof slabs to maintain structural integrity. Selecting the wrong type of beams, or installing the beams incorrectly, may result in the building collapsing, leading to thousands of dollars of damage, and potential loss of life for the inhabitants. With something as important as your home and the safety of your family at stake, you should always entrust the work to professionals.

Find A Pro

Steel beams are an essential part of supporting the structure of your home, and it's important that installation is to a high standard. This is a job for a professional who has the knowledge to select the correct size and strength of beams and the skill to install them in the correct areas. Even if you feel confident in your abilities and have done your research, you should always hire a pro to get the work done correctly. Shop for quotes, and read reviews to find experts that meet your requirements for experience and budget.

Last updated on Nov 3, 2016

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