How much does a steel beam cost to install?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a steel beam cost to install?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a steel beam cost to install?

$100 – $400Cost per foot installed
$1,200 – $4,200Average total cost installed

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$100 – $400 Cost per foot installed

$1,200 – $4,200 Average total cost installed

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Sarah Noel
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Sarah Noel
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Steel I-Beam Cost

A steel beam costs $100 to $400 per foot to install or $1,200 to $4,200 on average for residential construction. 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.

Extra costs apply for knocking down walls, rerouting utilities, or adding underpinnings for support.

Support beam cost installed -chart
Support beam cost installed -chart
Support Beam Cost Installed
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.

Steel I-beam material prices per foot

Steel I-beam material prices per foot - chart
Steel I-beam material prices per foot - chart
Steel I-Beam Prices
Size Weight Per Foot (pounds) Material 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

*Beam only.

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.

Get free estimates from general contractors near you.

Cost To Install A Steel Beam

The average cost to install a steel beam is $1,200 to $4,200 or $100 to $400 per foot, including 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.

Average cost to install a steel beam - chart
Average cost to install a steel beam - chart
Cost To Install A Steel Beam
National Average Cost $2,900
Minimum Cost $800
Maximum Cost $10,000
Average Range $1,200 to $4,200

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

Cost Breakdown To Install A Steel Beam
Item Average Cost
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

Steel support beam installation for house residential construction
Steel support beam installation for house residential construction

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

  • 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

structural engineer inspection costs $250 to $1,000 to calculate 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 I-beams cost $6 to $18 per foot, while stronger H-beams cost $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.

Steel Beam Cost Per Foot
Type Size Weight Per Foot (pounds) 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' steel I-beam costs $60 to $180, while a 30' steel I-beam costs $180 to $540. H-beams can cost as much as double but are stronger, and support spans up to 3 times longer. Steel beam prices are always fluctuating based on the current market conditions.

Steel I-beam prices by length - chart
Steel I-beam prices by length - chart
Steel I-Beam Prices By Length
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 $1.60 per pound, $2.00 to $3.40 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.

Structural Steel Prices
Unit Average Cost
Per Lb. $0.90 – $1.60
Per Kg. $2.00 – $3.40
Per Ton $1,800 – $3,100

Steel Beam vs. Wood vs. LVL Cost

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.

  • 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.

  • Attaching the home's components to wood is much easier compared to steel. Steel needs fabricator-formed holes for bolts, which requires architectural planning up front.

Steel beam vs. wood vs. LVL cost - chart
Steel beam vs. wood vs. LVL cost - chart
Steel Beam vs. Wood vs. LVL Cost
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

LVL beam installation for residential construction
LVL beam installation for residential construction

Load-Bearing Support Beam Cost

A load-bearing support beam costs $5 to $20 per foot for the beam alone, or $50 to $200 per foot. 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

An engineered beam costs $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.

Engineered beam cost - chart
Engineered beam cost - chart
Engineered Beam Cost
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; resizing requires sending them back to the factory.

LVL Beams Cost

LVL beams cost $3 to $12 per linear foot. 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.

LVL beams cost per foot
LVL beams cost per foot
LVL Beams Cost
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

*Materials only

Glulam Beam Cost

Glulam beams cost $6 to $34 per linear foot. 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.

Glulam beam cost - chart
Glulam beam cost - chart
Glulam Beam Cost Estimator
Size (Inches) Cost Per Linear Foot*
3 x 6-12 $6 – $14
5 x 12-18 $17 – $34
6.75 x 12 $23 – $38

*Materials only.

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 wood type and beam size. Lightweight softwoods are in greater supply, which is a major cost factor.

Wood support beam cost - chart
Wood support beam cost - chart
Wood Support Beams Cost
Wood Type Size (Inches) Cost Per Linear Foot*
Softwood 6 x 6 $5 – $30
Softwood 6 x 12 $10 – $60
Softwood 12 x 12 $20 – $90
Hardwood 4 x 2-19 $9 – $18
Hardwood 6 x 6 $9 – $21
Hardwood 6 x 12 $19 – $33+

*Materials only.

  • Softwoods – Light structural lumber is typically cheaper but bears the least weight of all beams. Species include Spruce, Hemlock, Pine, Douglas Fir, and Cedar. 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, denser, 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" x 6" reclaimed wood beams is $6 to $15 per linear foot, while 10" x 10" upcycled beams cost $45 to $60 per linear foot. 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.

Concrete beam prices - chart
Concrete beam prices - chart
Concrete Beam Prices
Size (Inches) Cost Per Linear Foot
12 x 6 $7 – $8
12 x 12 $14 – $16

Get free estimates from general contractors near you.
  • 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" tall, up to 8" wide, and lengths from 10' to 20'. 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, wall size, house structure, permits, inspections, beam transportation, preparation, labor, and finishing costs.

Installing a steel beam may require support columns 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 $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 to 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 the attic or crawl space to accommodate the construction

  • Adding 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 job complexity. 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 jack posts 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:

  1. Reinforcing foundation footings if needed to bear the extra weight when switching to a steel beam

  2. Installing stronger temporary support walls

  3. Removing and disposing of the old beam

  4. Relocating HVAC ductwork

  5. Installing the new beam

  6. 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, beam size and type, and the foundation's current state. Most crawl spaces are only 1' to 3' 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.

Luxury kitchen with exposed wood beams
Luxury kitchen with exposed wood beams

Types of Steel Support Beams

Steel beams come in two main beam designs, the I-beam and the H-beam. I-beams are the most common choice for residential construction and are available up to 100' in length. H-beams are heavier, stronger, and support weight up to 300', 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 cost $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 have a longer beam height than their 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.

New steel I-beams up close
New steel I-beams up close

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 as I-beams.

H-Beams / W-Beams

Get free estimates from general contractors near you.

H-beams cost $11 to $16 per linear foot, 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' 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.

  • H-beams are used in large houses, deep foundations, or framing commercial buildings.

Steel Beam FAQs

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 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 beam's 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, depending on the size. Steel H-beams weigh 13 to 65 pounds per foot and are mainly used for commercial projects.

Hiring A Structural Engineer & General Contractor

Always hire a qualified general contractor to 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.

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.

  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Look for licensed, bonded, and insured companies that have been in business for 5+ years.

  • Always get painting estimates in person, and be skeptical of low bids.

  • Schedule payments beforehand. Never pay the full amount up front.

  • Get a copy of your contract and warranty in writing before the work begins.

Questions To Ask

  • Are you bonded, licensed, and insured?

  • How many years have you been in business?

  • Will you provide references from recent customers with contact information?

  • Is prep work and cleanup included in your bid?

  • Do you offer a warranty? If so, what does it cover?

  • How much of a down payment is required?

  • Will you be using subcontractors?

  • When can you start and finish?