Comparing Steel Construction and Concrete Construction

Concrete and steel are two of the most popular construction materials. Most buildings today are either steel or concrete construction projects. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are wondering which one is better for your project, here’s a quick comparison of the difference between steel and concrete structure.

Strength of steel vs concrete construction

Image of concrete construction project

If you’re comparing steel vs concrete strength, below are some things to keep in mind:

  • Plain cement concrete structures have virtually no tensile strength, but very high compressive strength. For this reason, they are the ideal material for roads and walls because these structures can carry heavy, compressive loads. Thus, in the battle of strength between steel vs concrete wall, the latter is a clear winner.
  • Reinforced concrete buildings are able to resist winds that are more than 200 miles per hour. They even perform well when subjected to flying debris.
  • Steel structures are extremely stiff and also feature a high strength-to-weight ratio. This strength makes steel the ideal choice for buildings located in seismic zones.
  • Steel framing also fares well under heavy wind conditions because of its ductility. It can easily bend without breaking.

Cost of steel vs concrete construction

When it comes to steel structure vs RCC structure cost, the cost of ready-mix concrete has been comparatively stable. Despite the constant price fluctuations in other building materials like steel, the prices of concrete remain relatively steady.

On the other hand, the initial cost of using steel for building projects can be very high. It does, however, make up for it in terms of returns on investments. Steel buildings last a long time so this helps reduce the cost differential.

Material availability of concrete vs steel

When comparing concrete block vs steel building, both materials are easily available to the public. Concrete does tend to be cheaper and, hence, more easily accessible. Developers also tend to use concrete frames for most buildings in the country, so people can always count on this material if they’re looking for stable availability and pricing.

Weight of concrete vs steel

In terms of concrete vs steel weight, concrete tends to be heavier. If the building project is located in a seismic-prone area, using concrete may not be the wisest choice.

In contrast, steel has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any building material. It’s the top choice for developers that are building offices or multi-family homes. On top of that, since steel is lightweight, they’re easier and cheaper to transport and handle.

Sustainability of steel vs. concrete construction

One of the easiest ways to differentiate between reinforced concrete structures and steel structures is by considering their environmental impact. Below are some important points to consider:

  • Concrete comes from local sources. This means that you use less energy transport to construction sites.
  • At its end of life, concrete can be recycled but this recycled material is seldom used for new structures.
  • Steel is often manufactured at a considerable distance from most construction sites, meaning that more energy is required for transportation.
  • 85 percent of steel gets recycled.