Universal beams are also known as ‘H’ or ‘I’ beams as their cross sectional appearance looks similar to the letters ‘H’ and ‘I’. The horizontal part of the beam is known as ‘flanges’ while the beam’s vertical central section is known as the ‘web’. Beams with wide flanges are also known as ‘W’ beams. These offer stronger vertical force support as compared to a standard beam though they do not work well against twisting and horizontal movement. They are an integral aspect of every construction project and are used wherever there is a requirement for intensive and hardwearing weight support. They support the very foundations of housing structures and normally go under walls which have to bear high loads.
Several variations of these beams are available in the market. The beams vary depending upon the web length, material or depth of the flanges. Their measurements will differ based on the different areas and weight loads. They can also be customized depending upon the user’s requirements. If the beams have a longer web length then they can withstand a greater force in the vertical direction whereas those with wider flanges can withstand a greater force from side to side.
Normally, the beams are made of cold or hot rolled steel though sometimes aluminum is also used for the purpose. Though using steel as a material for your beams is a costlier option than the wood, it still proves cheaper in the long run. This is because steel beams are highly durable and can be drilled, hot dip galvanized, prime painted to take care of the rust factor. Steel beams do not warp nor do they sag or bend due to many years’ of holding the pressure of weight. The only thing that has to be borne in mind is not to use them in torsion bearing loads. Otherwise, a building built using universal beams is sure to stand tall for many years together.
Wooden beams cannot withstand heavy-duty pressure and are not at all useful for holding a building’s foundation. At the most they can be useful for smaller structures or for the second storey of a two storey home. Moreover, greater quantity of wood is required in order to provide continued stability.
There can be no option to steel as a material for universal beams due to its long-lasting durability. Steel as a metal, has a lot of variants depending upon its basic composition and accordingly, you have mild steel, stainless steel and carbon steel. Each of them has specific applications such as carbon steel fittings or carbon steel pipe fittings made from carbon steel while sheaves of v belts are made from stainless steel and so on.
Customization is provided by almost all manufacturers and hence, every user can get steel beams as per their exact specifications.