How Much Does A Steel Beam Cost To Install?
$100 – $400 Per Foot Installed
$1,215 – $4,180 Total Cost Installed
$1,215 – $4,180 Total Cost Installed
A steel beam costs $100 to $400 per foot to install or between $1,200 and $4,200 on average. Installing a more complicated steel beam or replacing a load-bearing wall with a support beam costs $4,000 to $10,000. Steel I-beam prices are $6 to $18 per foot for just the materials. Get free estimates from general contractors or view our cost guide below.
Steel I-Beam Cost
A steel I-beam costs $6 to $18 per foot for just the materials. Steel support beams for residential construction costs $100 to $400 per foot to install or between $1,200 and $4,200. Extra costs apply for knocking down walls, rerouting utilities, or adding underpinnings for support.
|Type||Per Foot Installed||Total Cost Installed|
|LVL Beam||$50 – $200||$800 – $2,500|
|Steel I-Beam||$100 – $400||$1,200 – $4,200|
|Steel I-Beam (Complex)||$500+||$6,000 – $10,000|
*Depends on if it's installed flush or hidden, and if underpinnings are added for support.
|Size||Weight Per Foot||Cost Per Foot|
|S3 x 5.7||5.7||$6 – $8|
|S4 x 7.7||7.7||$7 – $12|
|S6 x 12.5||12.5||$12 – $18|
Steel beams offer many advantages over traditional wood structural beams. They provide higher weight-bearing capacity and are fire and rot-resistant. Steel beams will increase the strength of your home's structure, and give you design options to open up walls or support heavier building materials.
Steel beams allow you to use extended roof lines or longer balconies without support columns below. No other material can match the engineering options provided by steel.
To get a free, accurate estimate contact general contractors near you, or read our guide below for the types of beams and their costs.
Table of Contents
- Steel I-Beam Cost
- Cost To Install A Steel Beam
- Steel Beam Cost Calculator
- Steel Beam vs. Wood vs. LVL Cost
- Steel Support Beams For Residential House Construction
- Types of Steel Support Beams
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Hiring A Structural Engineer & General Contractor
- General Contractors Near Me
Cost To Install A Steel Beam
The average cost to install a steel beam is $1,200 to $4,200 or between $100 and $400 per foot, which includes a structural engineer’s inspection, permits, the beam, delivery, and installation. Highly complex steel beam installations with underpinnings or long spans cost $500+ per foot or $6,000 to $10,000.
|National Average Cost||$2,851|
|Average Range||$1,215 to $4,180|
Steel beams are long-lasting, require little maintenance, and are the strongest and best option for long spans. To install a steel support beam, you first need to have a contractor custom-order the steel beam type specified by a structural engineer.
Steel Beam Installation Cost Breakdown
|Steel I-Beam||$60 – $180|
|Delivery||$80 – $400+|
|Installation||$500 – $2,000|
|Structural Engineer||$300 – $1,000|
|Permits||$75 – $500|
|Total Cost||$1,015 – $4,080|
The total cost and method of installing a new beam can include:
- Your city council’s permit fees.
- Inspections from a structural engineer to determine the type of beam needed.
- Labor and disposal fees for removing any old beam when replacing.
- Fees to remove a load-bearing wall when replacing it with a beam.
- Labor costs to add more support, such as underpinnings and columns.
- The cost of the beam itself and delivery fees for ordering custom steel or LVL beams.
- Crane rental fees to lift a new steel beam into place.
- Labor and materials to refinish your ceiling, floors, and walls after the beam installation is complete.
Steel Beam Cost Calculator
A structural engineer will recommend the right beam for you by calculating how much weight your beam needs to support and how much space your building design allows for the beam. Steel beam prices are influenced by:
- The length, flange width, and thickness of the beam
- Whether it’s an I-beam, H-beam, U-beam or another shape
- The weight, grade, and quality of the steel
- The current market value of steel, or current stock of the beam supplier
- Ordering a painted beam or a galvanized one, coated with zinc
- Shipping or local delivery costs depending on the weight of the beam
Steel Beam Cost Per Foot
Steel I-beams cost $6 to $18 per foot on average, while stronger H-beams range from $11 to $80 per foot. Steel I-beams are cheaper than H-beams due to their differences in shape, weight, span, and weight-bearing capacity.
|Type||Size||Weight Per Foot||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|I-Beam||S3 x 5.7||5.7||$6 – $8|
|I-Beam||S4 x 7.7||7.7||$7 – $12|
|I-Beam||S6 x 12.5||12.5||$12 – $18|
|H-Beam||W4 x 13||13||$11 – $16|
|H-Beam||W6 x 12||12||$12 – $14|
|H-Beam||W12 x 65||65||$24 – $80|
*Beam only. Steel prices fluctuate according to the current world market values.
Steel Support Beam Prices By Length
A 10 ft. steel I-beam costs $60 to $180, while a 30 ft. steel I-beam costs $180 to $540 on average. H-beams can cost as much as double but are stronger, and support spans up to 3 times longer. Steel beams prices are always fluctuating based on the current market conditions.
|Length||I-Beam Cost||H-Beam Cost|
|8’||$45 – $150||$80 – $130|
|10’||$60 – $180||$110 – $160|
|16’||$95 – $290||$175 – $255|
|20’||$120 – $360||$220 – $320|
|24’||$145 – $430||$265 – $385|
|30’||$180 – $540||$330 – $480|
|40’||$240 – $720||$440 – $640|
*Beam price only. Does not include shipping fees, local pickup charges, or crane rental fees for installation.
Structural Steel Prices
The cost of raw structural steel for common-size I-beams is $0.90 to $1.55 per pound, between $1.98 and $3.41 per Kg when buying by the beam, or $90 per ton in bulk. Buying structural steel based on weight is reserved for bulk orders only, and prices change regularly due to market conditions.
|Per Lb.||$0.90 – $1.55|
|Per Kg.||$1.98 – $3.41|
|Per Ton||$1,800 – $3,100|
Steel Beam vs. Wood vs. LVL Cost
When comparing material costs, softwoods and LVL beams are typically the most-affordable beams. Concrete beams are mid-range priced, while heavy timber and steel are the most expensive, but are the strongest.
|Material||Average Cost Per Linear Foot|
|Steel||$6 – $18|
|LVL (Engineered)||$3 – $12|
|Glulam (Engineered)||$6 – $34|
|Wood - Softwood||$5 – $30|
|Wood - Hardwood||$9 – $21|
|Concrete||$7 – $16|
However, the most significant cost difference is in the installation and delivery, not the beam. Steel beams require higher shipping fees and may need cranes on-site to lift the beam into place. These factors make steel the highest-priced beam option.
Also, attaching the home's components to wood is much easier compared to steel. Steel needs fabricator-formed holes for bolts, which requires architectural planning upfront.
Load-Bearing Support Beam Cost
A load-bearing support beam costs $5 to $20 per foot on average, or between $50 and $200 per foot installed. Support beam materials other than steel include engineered beams like LVL or Glulam, wood, and concrete. LVL beams cost $3 to $12 per foot, while wood beams run $5 to $20.
Builders may combine and use multiple materials to create a custom beam that meets the building code requirements. Steel beams are the most popular due to their durability and fire-resistance.
Engineered Beam Cost
The average cost of an engineered beam is $3 to $34 per foot, depending on the size and type of composite structural lumber. Composite wood beams are multiple layers of wood bonded with strong glues. Glulam and LVL beams are the most popular type of engineered beams.
|Type||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|LVL||$3 – $12|
|Glulam||$6 – $34|
Engineered beams are stronger than standard lumber and preferable to steel because they can be trimmed on-site to fit into irregularly shaped areas. Steel pieces must fit exactly, or else you must send them back to the factory for resizing.
LVL Beams Cost
LVL beams cost $3 to $12 per linear foot on average. LVL beams are more affordable and stronger than wood beams. They're also fire-resistant, shrink-proof, and easy to install in long lengths.
“LVL” stands for laminated veneer lumber, which is a thick plank made of layers of thin plywood bonded together. They are also called “Microlam” or micro-laminated beams.
|Size (Inches)||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|1.75 X 7.25-11.25||$3 – $5|
|1.75 X 14-24||$6 – $11|
|3.5+||$10 – $12|
When installing an LVL beam, be sure to never cut into the beam. Building inspectors consider any cut as compromising the strength of the beam and will make you replace it with a new one.
Glulam Beam Cost
Glulam beams cost $6 to $34 per linear foot on average. Glulam means “glued laminated timber,” and contains multiple thin layers of wood bonded together with strong glues. This type of engineered beam is very strong and highly customizable. It's even available in curved shapes for vaulted ceilings.
|Size (Inches)||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|3 x 6-12||$6 – $14|
|5 x 12-18||$17 – $34|
|6.75 x 12||$23 – $38|
Wood Support Beams Cost
Wood support beams cost $5 to $30 per linear foot on average, with some exotic wood species ranging between $30 and $90 per foot. Wood I-beam prices mainly depend on the type of wood and beam size. Lightweight softwoods are in greater supply, which is a major cost factor.
|Wood Type||Size (Inches)||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|Softwood||6x6||$5 – $30|
|Softwood||6x12||$10 – $60|
|Softwood||12x12||$20 – $90|
|Hardwood||4x2-19||$9 – $18|
|Hardwood||6x6||$9 – $21|
|Hardwood||6x12||$19 – $33+|
- Softwoods – Light structural lumber is typically cheaper but bears the least weight of all beams. Species include Spruce, Hemlock, Pine, Douglas Fir, and Cedar. Softwoods can shrink in dry climates, pulling away from the joists and making your drywall crack. Builders may combine multiple softwood beams to make a custom beam, but only once they have approval from a structural engineer.
- Hardwoods – Hardwoods or heavy timber beams are typically stronger, more dense, and more fire-resistant than softwoods. Common hardwood species include Hickory, Oak, Maple, Mahogany, Walnut, and Teak.
Cost of Reclaimed Wood Beams
The cost of 6"x6" reclaimed wood beams ranges from $6 to $15 per linear foot, while 10"x10" upcycled beams run $45 to $60 per linear foot on average. The most common reclaimed wood beams are hickory, oak, and maple wood, which can support greater loads and are more fire-resistant.
Concrete Beam Prices
Precast or prestressed concrete beams cost $7 to $16 per linear foot and are reinforced with rebar inside for extra structural strength. For additional soundproofing, order “ICF” beams, or insulated concrete forms with insulation foam hiding the steel rebar frame and concrete inside.
|Size (Inches)||Cost Per Linear Foot|
|12x6||$7 – $8|
|12x12||$14 – $16|
Builders make custom concrete beams by pouring concrete into handmade forms and then mounting them after the concrete cures. Masons also construct concrete-block columns to support beams since they are stronger than wood posts, and can be made in any size needed.
Steel Support Beams For Residential House Construction
Most residential steel beam installations use sizes of 4 to 6 inches tall, up to 8 inches wide, and lengths from 10 to 20 feet. However, every home’s load-bearing structure is different. A larger support beam for your house may be required to bear extra weight in a basement or a home with multiple stories.
Replacing Load-Bearing Wall With Steel Beam
The average cost to remove a load-bearing wall and replace it with a steel beam is $4,000 to $10,000. Prices depend on the beam size needed, wall size, house structure, permits, inspections, beam transportation, preparation, labor, and finishing costs.
Installing a steel beam may require columns for support depending on the span, or rerouting the plumbing and electrical utilities after removing the wall. Hiring a structural engineer costs $300 to $1,000 and is required to inspect, design, and size the new beam.
Cost To Install A Recessed Load-Bearing Beam
Installing a recessed steel beam costs $170 to $450 per linear foot or from $2,000 to $8,000 on average. Hiding a beam costs more because of the ceiling modifications required. Prices depend on how many underpinnings and piers are needed to support the steel beam's weight.
LVL beams are cheaper than steel beams; however, steel beams take up less space and are easier to install inside a ceiling. A cheaper alternative is painting the beam to make it blend in with the ceiling or create a trim around the beam.
Extra costs to hide a beam include:
- Modifying the ceiling joists to wedge the new beam up there.
- Using additional temporary ceiling supports during the installation
- Altering your attic or crawl-space to accommodate the construction.
- If your foundation structure needs more support to bear the added weight of the steel beam in new areas, then contractors may add new footings under the foundation.
Replacing Main Beam In House Cost
The average cost to replace the main beam in a house is $7,000 to $25,000 depending on the length, material, and complexity of the job. Replacing the main beam is difficult (and expensive) since it bears so much weight and requires extra temporary supports.
The main beam supports the internal weight of the house that runs across the foundation, usually near the top of the wall. The beam itself is supported by one or several support posts called jackposts or lally columns.
Replacing Support Beams In Basement Cost
Replacing support beams in a basement costs $6,500 to $10,000 for a simple installation up to $15,000 to $25,000 for a complex job with numerous load-bearing walls or long spans. Basement beam replacement requires an inspection and design plans by a structural engineer.
Basement beam replacement process:
- Reinforcing foundation footings if needed to bear the extra weight when switching to a steel beam.
- Installing stronger temporary support walls.
- Removing and disposing of the old beam.
- Relocating HVAC ductwork.
- Installing the new beam.
- Refinishing the walls or ceiling.
Basement beams are often replaced to add additional support for aboveground renovations or to make use of basement space for a large room without support posts. Also, wood beams can crack under pressure, become termite-infested, or rot due to water leakage, while steel beams can rust.
Replacing Support Beam In Crawl Space Cost
The average cost to replace a support beam in a crawl space is $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the accessibility, type and size of beam required, and the foundation's current state. Most crawl spaces are only 1 to 3 feet deep, which increases the difficulty and work required.
Cost To Expose Ceiling Beams
Exposing ceiling beams costs $200 to $450+ to remove and dispose of drywall from an average 350-square-foot ceiling. Refinishing the exposed rafters or rerouting any electrical lines adds to the total cost. This is different than creating an exposed vaulted ceiling, which costs $15,000 to $25,000.
If you can’t expose your ceiling beams, another option is installing hollow faux wooden beams under your ceiling for $140 to $280 each.
Types of Steel Support Beams
Steel beams come in two main beam designs, the I-beam and H-beam. I-beams are the most common choice for residential construction and are available up to 100 feet in length. H-beams are heavier, stronger, and support weight up to 300 feet, but cost more per foot.
To decode a steel beam name:
- The first letter indicates the shape of the beam.
- The first number is the beam height in inches.
- The second number is the beam’s weight per linear foot.
I-Beams / S-Beams
I-beams run $6 to $18 per linear foot and weigh 6 to 12 pounds per foot. I-beams are more commonly used in residential construction since they’re lightweight and support spans up to 96 feet. I-beams, or Junior beams, are also used to reinforce a house’s foundation.
I-beams often have tapered edges and has a longer beam height than its flange width, or the width of the flat side or base. Unlike H-beams, I-beams are not suitable for columns because they only support weight in one direction.
Subtypes of I-beams:
- S-beams – The letter “S” refers to the rounded inside corners of certain types of I-beams, which look like a C channel. Some suppliers call I-beams the “American Standard Steel Beam.”
- RSJ-beams – RJS stands for “rolled steel joist,” which means they're often made by rolling one piece of steel into the final shape. RSJ beams cost the same I-beams.
H-Beams / W-Beams
H-beams cost $11 to $16 per linear foot on average, and are stronger than I-beams, but weigh more at 13 to 15 pounds per foot. H-beams, also called W-beams, are for columns and longer beam spans up to 300 feet due to their weight-bearing capacity.
The most common H-beams have extra-wide flanges or bases and are more square-shaped with nearly the same height and width. Due to their size, H-beams are used in large houses, deep foundations, or framing commercial buildings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Find Structural Beams for Sale?
Buy structural beams at a local steel supplier, lumberyard, or from home-improvement stores. Custom-sized structural beams are available for sale from online warehouse suppliers who deliver nationwide. However, shipping is expensive when ordering steel beams online.
How Much Does A Steel Beam Weigh?
A steel beams weight per foot is listed as the last number in the name of the beam. A steel I-beam weighs between 6 and 12 pounds per foot on average, depending on the size required. Steel H-beams weigh 13 to 65 pounds per foot and are mainly used for commercial projects.
Hiring A Structural Engineer & General Contractor
Always have a qualified contractor install a new beam—this is not a DIY project. Faulty installation can cause severe structural damage to your home. Professionals assess your home’s structure, identify the type of beam needed, handle permits, and get the job done right.
First, have a structural engineer or architect inspect your property to recommend which beam type and size you need. Then, a general contractor can give you an accurate quote. Contractors must follow the engineer or architect’s instructions to comply with building codes.
- Make sure to get several quotes.
- Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Verify their licensing and insurance is up to date.
- Always get painting estimates in-person, and be skeptical of low bids.
- Schedule payments beforehand. Never pay the full amount upfront.
- Get a copy of your contract in writing before the work starts.
Questions To Ask
- Are you bonded, licensed, and insured?
- How many years have you been in business?
- Will you provide references from recent customers?
- Is prep work and cleanup included in your bid?
- Do you offer a warranty?
- How much of a down payment is required?
- Will you be using subcontractors?
- When can you start and finish?
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted general contractors:
- Paxton, Albert S. "2019 National Repair and Remodeling Estimator." (2019). PDF file.
- Tyler, Mark C. "2019 National Electric Estimator." (2019). PDF file.
- Hicks, Ray F. “2019 National Home Improvement Estimator.” (2019). PDF file.
- Pray, Richard. "2019 National Construction Estimator." (2019). PDF file.
- Actual Project Costs Reported By 38 HomeGuide Members. (2020).
M&K Metal Company: Wide Flange Steel Beam. (2020).
Tampa Steel & Supply: Beams. (2019).
MetalsDepot: Steel Beams. (2020).
How much should it cost to replace a steel support beam in a basement? (2015).
What is the cost to replace the main support beam that has rotted/compressed? (2015).
Steel Dynamics, Inc.: Price List. (2019). PDF File.
Northland Wood: I-Joists, LVL Beams & Glue Lams. (2019).
Hot Roll Steel I Beam: Cost Calculator. (n.d.).
How Much Does It Cost To Knock Down A Wall? (2020).
Reclaimed Lumber Pricing. (n.d.). PDF File.
I-beam Pricing. (2016).
Glulam or LVL: Which is Stronger? (2019).
Basement Beam Replacement: How Much Does it Cost? (2015).
BiggerPockets Forum: I was quoted $16,000 to replace a rotting structural support beam. (2016).
Steel Beams Vs. Wood Beams for Your Residential Building Project. (2017).
Standard I-Beams. (n.d.).
Faux Wood Ceiling Beams. (n.d.).
Boards & Beams: Timbers. (n.d.).
What is the Difference Between an H-Beam and I-Beam? (n.d.).
M&K Metal Company: American Standard Steel Beam. (2020).
A Concord Carpenter. Replacing an Exposed Beam With A Hidden Steel Beam. (2019).
What is the Difference Between an I-Beam and an H-Beam? (2019).
Home Depot Trusses. (2019).
Ultimation: I-Beams and Conveyor Tracks. (2018).
Hot Rolled Steel I-Beam Calculator. (2020).
20+ General Contractors in Ashburn, VA
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted general contractors:
Get free estimates