What Type of Steel is Used in Steel Buildings?

Wondering what type of steel is used in steel buildings? Well… Steel buildings can be built using various types of steel. While quite often quonset arch panels and steel cladding on straight wall buildings will be made of GalvalumeTM, there are other options and can be different types of steel for different purposes. We’ll review the most common options below.

steel rolls being made

Steel has a high tensile strength and a relatively low cost. This along with its wide availability makes it quite popular and ideal for steel building kits.

Types of Steel Used in Buildings

Galvalume Steel

These days, the overwhelmingly best choice for quonset arches and the cladding of straight wall buildings alike is Galvalume Steel. While similar to the more traditional galvanized steel, it has slightly different characteristics that provide better resistance to corrosion and weathering.

This type of steel is coated with an alloy of 45% zinc and 55% aluminium for a durable rust-resistant finish. One of the nice benefits of this material is that it also generally contains up to 35% recycled steel for a more eco-friendly option.

Structural Steel

red iron buildings This type of steel forms the inner framing of a straight wall-style building and is known for its high strength, ductility and toughness. It can be welded, bolted or riveted together depending on the location and strength required. The most iconic type of structural steel would be found in red iron building i-beams.

Structural steel is thick and durable. It’s known for its water resistance, and resistance to corrosion even in harsh environments. Structural steel is also surprisingly eco-friendly, and it can be reused or repurposed much easier than other construction materials.

Rebar Steel

Rebar is riged steel rods that are most commonly used to reinforce the concrete elements of a building. They’re used in concrete pillars, foundations, etc. to reinforce and keep the concrete from cracking. It’s more commonly used in large structures but can be quite useful in minor projects and smaller buildings as well. Rebar steel would be best placed in areas that can handle repeated abuse and any abrasion. This type of steel therefore would work for areas in your building that are high traffic and that need the extra bit of strength/mesh to hold the concrete together.

Alloy Steel

When you hear of the alloy steel, it means the steel is blended with other metals or compounds to produce a material that’s better suited for your purpose. In other words, specific properties are enhanced. Thus, several alloy steel blends may be used throughout the steel building project to their maximum benefit.

Some examples of alloys that are commonly used are:

  • Tungsten Blend – Has the advantage of increasing heat resistance
  • Nickel Blend – Has the advantage against corrosion and increase toughness
  • Manganese – Improves strain resistance, shock and tough against hammering
  • Chromium – Increases hardness, and wear resistance of steel
  • Chromium-Vanadium – Enhances tensile strength while enabling the ease of bending and cutting.

Depending on what conditions your steel building is going to encounter, these various blends can be selected as needed by the engineers.

Carbon Steel

This type of steel blend has – as the name suggests a fair measure of Carbon that is generally higher than in other steel types. The amount of carbon dependent on the manufacturing process, can be as high as 2.5%. This makes it much stronger and a bit more ideal for heavy construction, and buildings requiring this nature.

Carbon Steel is classified broadly in three grades, these being – mild, medium and high carbon steel.The higher the percentage of carbon, then the harder the texture of the steel. This steel blend can be found in various shapes from flat sheets to structural beams.

Uses include:

  • The construction of buildings in hurricane-prone and earthquake-prone areas. This also holds true for tornado zones. This type of material is good for buildings that need to be fire-proofed.
  • This material can be touted as an economical alternative to other materials. It is found to be less expensive than building materials offering similar characteristics. You also have the advantage of affordability coupled with versatility.

Weathering Steel

This type of steel gets its characteristic name from the impact of being exposed to the weather and environmental conditions. The weathered steel because of its exposure to moisture and oxygen forms a protective layer of rust. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it really does help protect the underlying metal. This eliminates the need for painting, while offering protection to further corrosion of the metal.

The weathering steel contains trace amounts of copper, nickel, phosphorus, chromium, and even silicon. It is these small amounts which enables the “weathering” of the steel to happen.

Two benefits of this type of steel:

  • Low maintenance
  • High strength

These are just a snapshot of what is available and their broad uses. Of course in your steel building the factors such as location, and environmental impact as well as strength and structural requirements are important.

What needs will you have? Corrosion resistance? Ductility? Tensile strength?

It is always good to get our expert advice on your project and find out about what type of steel is best suited for your steel building.