I-Beam and H-Beam – What’s the difference?

10-Jun-2016 13:50 pm 0

Known in India as I-beams and H beams but also commonly referred to as universal beams. These beams are named after the I and H-shaped look of their cross section. The vertical middle section of the beam is called ‘web’ and the horizontal section is known as ‘flange’.

h beami beam

These beams are designed to hold a lot of weight. Beams are used as an element in framing floors, and they can also be used with joists and beams wherever extra load bearing capacity is needed. But what’s the difference between an H-beam and an I-Beam? The two beams look similar but used for different parts of the construction and different types of construction.

Flanges of Beams

Both the beams have top and bottom flanges, the only difference is on an H-beam the flanges stick out farther from the web. On an I-beam, the flanges are shorter and not so wide. The distance from the end of the flange to the web is comparatively shorter.


For longer spans, H-beams are much useful than I-beams because they can be fabricated to any size. H-beams can be used for spans up to 330 feet whereas, I-beams are suitable for spans of 33 feet to 100 feet.

Fabrication of I & H Beams

The fabrication processes used is another difference between these two beams. I-beams are made by milling and rolling steel, and they are limited by the capacity of the milling equipment, which is the reason why I-beams have smaller flanges. H-beam can be built up to any size or height.

However, it is crucial to use the optimal beam for the application. The thickness of the web is very important since it takes all the pressure.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *