Beam analysis is very important for building safety and there are various types of beams to choose from. Sometimes choosing the best beam for each architectural structure can be a tough job even for an experienced engineer. Various shapes, materials, and sizes support different types of structural loads. Some of the commonly used beams are I-beam, H-beam, flitch, and cantilever.
In residential architecture, cantilever is often used for building balconies. In such structures weight is distributed onto the foundation beams. They are also known as end load beam type since the load is mostly supported on one side.
Flitch beams are made of steel plate sandwiched between two wood beams. They are designed to be strong as well as lightweight. Flitch beams are less expensive than pure metal beams as they are not made of solid steel. Flitch beams are created to support vertical loads.
I-beams & H-beams are the most common types of beam designs used in construction. I-beams are columns that are straight in shape. They may be used to create long spans of support in roofs, walls and floors.
H-beam looks similar to the shape of the I-beam and there are some advantages to its design. The main difference between I-beam and H-beam shapes is the flange, which is wider in h-beams. They also have a bigger surface area on the cross section of the beam.