Steel vs. Concrete Construction

September 14, 2021 2:02 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Steel and concrete are two of the most prominent construction materials out there. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and they’re both crucial to the infrastructure of America and the world as a whole.

But whether you’re performing steel frame construction or concrete construction, it would be helpful to know and understand the pros and cons of each material. This article will examine the characteristics of steel and masonry construction materials, including several important factors and how they stack up against each other.


Concrete: The cost of concrete doesn’t fluctuate very much, meaning you’ll likely know what you’re going to have to pay for the materials. Labor costs might be slightly higher with concrete construction because the project might take a while, but that cost is offset by lower insurance premiums. Insurance companies charge 25 percent less to insure concrete structures than they do for other types of structures.

Steel: While steel is stronger and often lasts longer than concrete structures, its price is more susceptible to market forces, frequently causing it to rise and fall quickly as well as fluctuate over time. Overall, it can be cheaper than concrete, and this is because projects can be completed more quickly, shrinking labor costs. Steel is also cheaper because most of it is recycled material. However, insurance premiums are usually higher on steel structures because of the risk of fire damage.

Environmental impact

Concrete: Most of the time, concrete is mixed relatively close to the construction site, reducing the amount of energy and fossil fuels used to transport it. Once demolished, concrete can be broken down, recycled and used for gravel, paving materials, landscaping and erosion control. It’s also made from natural ingredients, unlike some other types of building materials.

Steel: We touched on this above, but around 85 percent of all steel used in construction is eventually recycled. The scrapping and sorting processes have made recycling steel not only simple, but also cost-effective, as formulating scrapped steel into new steel uses 1/3 the energy that forging new steel does. These factors combined with its longevity make steel one of the more sustainable building materials in use today.


Concrete: Although it possesses great compressive strength (ability to withstand a crushing force), concrete doesn’t have much tensile strength (ability to withstand a stretching force). This is counteracted by installing reinforced steel bars into the concrete itself, bolstering the concrete structure’s sheer strength.

Steel: Steel frame construction is often used due to its superior tensile strength. While overall proper structural design is the best way to ensure an edifice can hold its weight, the strong, tough and ductile nature of steel also goes a long way toward increasing a building’s longevity.

Call to discuss your steel construction project today

As you can see, there are several differences between steel and masonry construction, and they each have their own pros and cons. But if you’d like to begin a new steel construction project, give Benchmark Fabricated Steel a call to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs. We offer a litany of construction services, ranging from project consultation to full-building construction.

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