8 Types of Steel Used in Construction

types of steel

We all know that steel is the most commonly used material for construction, of course, due to its high strength and durability. Due to its high tensile strength coupled with relatively low cost, steel has been a popular material for civil and structural engineers.

Depending on the nature of the construction project, the types of steel used in construction vary. However, the main types are weathering steel, structural steel, alloy steel, carbon steel, rebar steel, light gauge steel, tool steel, and stainless steel, Calculate steel bar weight before buying TMT steel for getting unique quality.

Are you wondering what exactly is the difference between these and more? In this article, we’ll discuss in detail the types of steel and their uses in construction.

  1. Weathering Steel

This is a unique type of steel that contains small amounts of chromium, copper, nickel, and silicon, therefore, once exposed to the weather this allows the weathered steel to form a protective rust layer consequently eliminating the need for paint.

Once the weathered steel is exposed to oxygen and moisture, there forms a rust layer, this rust acts as a protective layer from further corrosion. Consequently, the rust layer acts as a shield protecting the weathered steel from the elements that caused rust.

Advantages of Weathering Steel

  • Low-maintenance: This steel doesn’t require regular maintenance. The steel’s internal part will be protected once the stable rust barrier is formed. A little maintenance is required for bridges built from weathering steel and they are usually strong enough to outlast concrete bridges.
  • Cost Effective: Both short and long terms savings are possible by using weathering steel. It is pocket friendly in the short term since weathering steel is relatively cheaper than most types of steel. In addition to its low maintenance and the cost of purchase, weathering steel doesn’t need painting which reduces the overall cost of construction.
  • High Strength: Due to weathering steel’s properties of the main components, structures built with weathered steel tend to last long. It is an ideal option for open structures, roofing, and building bridges.
  1. Structural Steel

Steel that is produced with a particular shape, cross-section, and chemical composition is called structural steel. The strength, size, composition and shapes of structural steel are usually controlled in most industrialized countries. Structural steel can easily be transformed into different shapes like L shape, Z shape, I-Beam, and T Shape. Even though high-rise building relies heavily on structural steel, it also makes a great option for light construction work. 

Benefits of Structural Steel

  • Affordability: Structural steel is likely to last longer than other materials since it is naturally stronger, hence it returns the initial investment 
  • Strength: Structural steel is known for its ductility, high strength, and toughness. It is the most common use material for both large-scale and small-scale projects due to its favorable features.
  • Recyclable and Reusable: Structural steel can easily recycle and reused, hence it promotes green construction. 

4. Alloy Steel

Carbon steel combines with one or more alloying elements like nickel, chromium, aluminum, manganese, and titanium. A carbon steel’s construction value usually increases by adding these alloying elements.

These elements usually add in varied proportions or combinations depending on the nature of the construction when producing alloy steel.  Some alloys help increase weldability, ductility, corrosion, overall strength, hardness, and resistance. 

Due to alloy steel increases hardenability and corrosion resistance, they uses for construction projects. Also, they are perfectly capable of retaining their hardness and overall strength over time.

Benefits of Alloy Steel

  • Increased toughness: Alloying elements can make steel more resistant to heavy loads and tougher, due to heat treating. Buildings with stronger steels were more structurally sound.
  • High tensile strength: Alloy steel bars have a high compressibility rating and tensile strength compared to mild steel. Alloy steel bars have increased versatility when used in construction projects because they are usually small in size than most steel.

5. Carbon Steel

 Steel with higher carbon concentration than other steel types calls carbon steel. Carbon steel is ideal for heavy construction since it has significantly high steel strength due to the fact that the carbon content in this type of steel can reach up to 22.5%.

Benefits of Carbon Steel

  • Weather-resistant: Carbon steel is the best material for constructing homes resistant to earthquakes, fires, hurricanes and tornadoes. 
  • Available in different forms: Carbon steel is available either as high carbon steel, low carbon steel or medium carbon steel. It is ideal for different types of construction projects due to its wide range of options. 
  • Highly durable and strong: Due to its high carbon content carbon steel is highly durable and strong. Products made from carbon steel are extra strong due to their high carbon content.

6. Rebar Steel

Rebar steel, or reinforcing bars, is a mesh made of steel bar or wires. RCC (Reinforced Concrete) structures commonly use hot-rolled deformed bars. Besides RCC, this is another major type of steel used in construction.

Benefits of Rebar Steel

  • Strong and Durable: Stainless steel rebar can withstand reported abuse and abrasion during construction work and is among the most durable types of steel. Its ability to make a smooth and strong bond with concrete makes it ideal for use in reinforcement.  
  •  Eco-Friendly: Besides being reusable, rebar steel can also be melted down, promoting green construction.

6.  Light Guage Steel

Due to its lightweight characteristics, this type of steel stands out. When thin gauge materials are cold formed into specific section profiles light gauge steel is produced. While section sizes and profile shapes vary, they are usually strong enough to prevent local buckling and premature failure.

Benefits of Light Gauge Steel

  • Cost Effective: Light gauge steel is highly sustainable and easy to handle due to its affordability. In terms of labor and savings, using this type of steel allows for significant savings.
  • Safe: Light gauge steel is safe in comparison to other steel due to its lightweight characteristics. it can carry around the construction site with ease.

7. Tool Steel

Tool Steel use for tool manufacturing and is still crucial in construction. Due to its ability to retain shape at hardness, high temperature, and abrasion resistance, tool steel stand out. 

8. Stainless Steel

Compared to alloy steel or carbon steel, stainless steel is a steel alloy with increased corrosion and weather resistance. Some of the common materials used in stainless steel include nickel, chromium, and molybdenum. 

It has impressive corrosion-resisting properties due to its high chromium content. Steel’s corrosion resistance enhance by chromium oxide, a rough film formed from chromium.

Benefits of Stainless Steel

  • Highly Ductile: Stainless steel responds better to seismic movements than other construction materials like concrete. In primary structural components like suspension systems and decks, its use for their overall strength and durability. 


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