5 Common Uses of Structural Steel in the U.S.

For a variety of reasons, structural steel is often an ideal material when it comes to the construction of buildings, bridges and other large structures. This high quality metal is used for many purposes in the US., but there are some applications that rely upon structural steel more often than others. Here is a comprehensive list of five of the most common ways that structural steel is used in the United States today.

Large Buildings

Cityscape with many skyscapersSteel’s low weight and immense strength makes it ideal for use when building high-rise buildings. While high-rise buildings (heights between 75-491 feet) are generally made up of reinforced steel and concrete, skyscrapers (heights over 492 feet) are nearly always strictly composed of a steel frame.

Another added benefit to using steel in these massive buildings is the speed of construction that steel lends itself to. With the right team on your side steel can be fabricated quickly, allowing for an accelerated rate of production. A very well known building, the Empire State Building, is primarily composed of steel-60,000 tons worth!

Industrial Buildings

Industrial building exampleSteel is one of the most ideal materials to use when constructing industrial buildings. There are a few reasons for this, including cost, strength, durability, and more. The strength that steel provides is beneficial in more ways than just structural integrity. It’s durability means that less labor costs are required throughout the project, minimizing to potential impact of repairs.  Also, steel is one of the strongest building materials available on the market.

With the highest strength to weight ratio out of any construction material, steel provides stability that is excellent for even the largest of industrial buildings. Additionally, it is prized for its durability and weather resistance. With the ability to withstand all types of weather, even earthquakes, steel is a great choice no matter what your area’s climate might be.

Residential Buildings

Steel frame Residential house being built.During the construction of residential buildings built with steel, a process called light gauge steel is used to help maximize the structure’s level of strength. During light gauge steel construction, wood 2x4s are replaced with steel. This is similar to a traditional wooden framed building, but much more dependable and long-lasting. Essentially any residential building, be it an individual home or a multiunit property, can be enhanced through the usage of steel.

Parking Garages

Parking Garage with steel meshSteel is an ideal material when building structures such as parking garages for many of the same reasons that it is desirable for large building. Benefits include low construction cost, shortened construction time, and long-term durability, all very important qualities to have in parking garage construction. Also, the light weight and ease of construction that steel provides makes it an ideal material for constructing parking garages in a short period of time, and it is durable enough to withstand the weight of the many cars that will soon fill your space.


Sydney Harbor Bridge at duskSteel is commonly used to build large bridges. Its outstanding strength to weight ratio is highlighted yet again when it comes to building these massive structures, and its level of durability ensures that it will be able to withstand the weight of cars and pedestrians atop it. The Brooklyn Bridge, the oldest suspension bridge in the US at 127 years old, is made up largely of steel-wire suspensions.

The benefits provided by using steel in your next project are countless, and with an impressive strength-to-weight ratio you can be rest assured that your steel project will be soundly constructed enough to stand the test of them. If any of these common steel structures are in the works for your next project, you will have a hard time finding another material that can provide so many great benefits.  From towering skyscrapers to endlessly stretching bridges, steel is definitely one material that will not let you down.

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