How Much Does a Steel I Beam Cost?

Although more popular for commercial buildings, steel beams are also employed by architects and engineers to complete certain parts of residential constructions. That is, to make sure that certain parts of your house will remain standing for long periods of time

One of the most popular types of steel materials for a house’s foundation is the I-beam. Want to reinforce your foundation with it? Here is a guide on the steel I-beam cost.

Average Steel Beam Prices


The average steel I-beam cost depends on market conditions. For instance, if there’s a high supply of materials but buyers are few, the price will be lower. On the other hand, limited supply and lots of projects requiring metals at the same time will result in higher steel beam prices.

Though fluctuating, it will help if you can have an idea of the cost of steel and how it changes. According to, the price of the commodity has reached as high as $1,265 per ton in 2008. The fluctuation was so emphatic when the average dropped to $90 per ton in 2016.

Steel Beam on a bridge

Cost Factors


The I-beam prices, as said earlier, will be primarily influenced by the movement in the market. Aside from that, other factors include:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Strength
  • Supplier of the beams

Sample Costs

To know more about the I-beam prices, let’s use the cost calculator provided by Midwest Steel and Aluminum in Minnesota. The supplier can show you the estimated price of one I-beam.


Here are some of the figures we generated by inputting the size of the beam (with a fixed length of 8 feet):

  • 4 x 13: $99.43
  • 5 x 19: $125.44
  • 6 x 20: $131.77
  • 8 x 15: $113.81
  • 10 x 12: $94.16
  • 12 x 19: $142.55
  • 14 x 30: $216.81
  • 16 x 26: $188.70
  • 24 x 55: $383.69

Aside from the size of your beams, how you will use the material will influence the cost. For instance, a warehouse building made from steel has a price range of $13,800 ($11.50 per SF) to $460,800 ($7.51 per SF) according to Buildings Guide. The figures include both the installation and materials.


Cost Considerations

Of course, buying the I-beams is not the end of a construction project. Aside from the budget for the materials, you have to prepare for other expenses including installation, labor costs, and replacing your steel beams.

According to Home Advisor, installing the steel beams typically costs $1,185 to $3,909. That is provided that you hire a professional for the installation.

Speaking of professionals, the labor costs as estimated by Home Advisor include:

  • Engineer: May charge $400 to $600 for determining the proper size and strength of the metal beams


  • Contractor/s: May charge $200 to $400 for installing each beam
  • Delivery service: May cost around $600 to $1,200 for labor and equipment rental per day

There are instances when you need to replace existing steel beams. According to US Water Proofing, that may cost about $7,000 to $8,000 for a simple installation and $20,000 to $25,000 for a complex job.

Saving Money With I-Beams

Maybe you can save money by installing the steel beams yourself, right? Wrong. First of all, working with these materials is not a job suited for DIY enthusiasts. Your project will only be successful if you hire a professional contractor. Remember that the installation is part of the foundation of your house, so making sure that it will succeed is of paramount concern.


Well, if you’re concerned about spending too much, know that using I-beams can save you money in subtle ways:

  • Steel is recyclable. That means you won’t have to pay for landfill fees due to non-recyclable construction waste. Moreover, steel companies would want to collect what’s left of your project so they can use it to manufacture new beams. Of course, at no cost to you.
  • Steel lasts long. This material is capable of being your foundation for a long time. And aside from its durability, I-beams require little maintenance, saving you some money.
  • Innovations in steel production. Easier manufacturing of the materials results in lower costs of the final product. That is due to the fewer hours needed for laborers to produce a single ton of I-beam. So, as long as there are innovations that will help hasten the manufacturing process, the price of I-beams will likely continue to decrease.


A renowned home improvement expert with almost 20 years of experience in building and repairing beautiful homes in the USA. He's a civil engineer by profession.

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