Steel Beam Calculator - User Guide

Our Calculator is designed to be easy to use, but it does require some understanding of steel beams and structures. To make your life easier, this User Guide carefully explains what information is required for each section of the Calculator.

What you need to know to use the Steel Beam Calculator – a Step-by-Step Guide!

1.1 Enter the steel beam span length

Enter the length of the steel beam.

1.2 Select steel beam size

Select the steel beam size from the dropdown list. You have a choice of ‘W Beams’, ‘S Beams’ or ‘American Standard Channels’. If you're not sure what beam size to use, you can use the auto beam select feature.

1.3 Minimum Yield Stress

Select either 36,000 psi or 50,000 psi. (New steel is usually 50,000 psi.)

1.4 Confirm lateral bracing

You are confirming that the beam is laterally braced along its full length. (Beams that are not braced are outside the scope of the Steel Beam Calculator.)

2 Enter load details

Select from the following load types on the dropdown menu: ‘Uniformly Distributed Load’, ‘Partial Uniformly Distributed Load’, or ‘Point Load’.

For Uniformly Distributed Loads and Partial Uniformly Distributed Loads, select ‘Loading Details’ from the dropdown menu, and enter the tributary width of the load. If you wish to use a load that is not on the dropdown list, select ‘Other’.

Multiple loads can be added by clicking ‘Add More Loading Details To This Load’. You can add Partial Uniformly Distributed Loads or Point Loads by clicking ‘Add Another Load’.

For Point Loads, enter the dimension to the Point Load along the length of the beam, the name of the Point Load and the Loads.

You do not need to add the self-weight of the steel beam, as the package automatically allows for this.

For Other Loads, you can manually enter the name of the Load and its weight.

3.1 Live load deflection limit

This is how much the beam sags when it is loaded. Normally this is restricted to span/360; however, you can change this if required.

3.2 Total live and dead load deflection limit

We recommend that is usually span/240; however, you can change this if required.

4 Run Calculation

Press the ‘Run Calculation’ button at the bottom of the page to generate the Beam Calculation Report. If you are using the auto select feature, you will be shown a list of all the steel beam sizes that are suitable for your requirements.

Watch an overview