Steel is a crucial part of construction, however, there are many different forms of fabricated steel that come together to finish a project. The two main forms of steel that you will likely encounter are reinforcement steel and structural steel, and each form has their specific variants that are required for certain projects.

reinforced structural steel

If you are considering steel for a construction project it’s important to know what type you need. Here’s some information comparing the differences between structural steel and reinforcement steel to help get you started.


Structural Steel

Structural steel is a crucial material in forming the frames of buildings and is considered one of the most flexible building components available. Structural steel can accomplish many incredible feats of engineering, from colossal bridges to towering skyscrapers.

There are many types of structural steel including beams, braces, plates and columns, with each of these components usually referred to as sections. These pieces are the building blocks of steel-based construction, and come three main variations of steel:
• Carbon-manganese steels, commonly used for their strength, ductility and economy
• High-strength, low-alloy steels, a recent development with chemical elements to improve
• High-strength tempered and quenched alloy steels, commonly used for structural purposes.

Each section of steel is identified by a letter that refers to its cross-section shape. Some examples are:
• The S shape, a rolled beam section with two parallel flanges
• The L shape, also known as an angle. It employs two faces that come together at a 90-degree angle
• The H shape, also known as a bearing pile is often used to construct deep foundations
• The C shape, also known as a structural channel
• The I beam, also known as a universal beam, is great for carrying horizontal loads
• The Hollow steel section or HSS, can come in square, rounded or circle sections
• The T beam, a load bearing beam with a T shaped cross section
• Pipe beams, hollow cylindrical beams, often used for projects that have oil, water or gas needs.

Structural steel is extremely versatile and can be used in buildings containing concrete and wood. Also, there are many situations where structural steel can be combined with reinforced steel, especially in creating solid structures on concrete foundations.

Reinforced Steel

Reinforcement steel differs from structural steel as it is generally used in combination with concrete and masonry structures to strengthen and reinforce. In these situations, the steel provides tensile strength, which concrete generally lacks, while the concrete offers compressive strength.

Reinforced steel comes in the form of steel bars, however, there are a few different types, each appropriate for different situations:
• Hot rolled deformed bars are the most commonly used type of reinforcement, they are rolled in mills to give them deformations on their surface, which bond and grip with the concrete.
• Mild steel plain bars have no ribs on them, they are generally used in small projects where economy is prioritised and require concrete hence hooks at their ends.
• Cold worked steel reinforcements are hot rolled bars that undergo a cold working process. These bars have lower ductility and are generally used in projects that require straightness as a primary factor.
• Prestressing Steel is formed from bars of multiple steel strands that act as tendons through the concrete. These wires are cold drawn and have a high tensile strength making them ideal for prestressed concrete projects such as bridges and building slabs.

If you’d like to find out more about reinforced steel or structural steel or if you are considering steel for construction purposes and would like a professional opinion, we’re here to help.

Our team of experts have the experience and knowledge to answer any of your questions and will ensure that you find the best solution to suit your needs. To contact us today, simply call, fax, email for information or a steel fabrication quote, or drop by our Brookvale location.