What is Steel? Different Types of Steel Used in Construction

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Update: August 28, 2023

What is this blog post about?

This blog post details about steel and it's types. Here we have described about what is steel, 4 classification of steel and different types of steel used in construction.

Steel is one of the most used construction materials because of its qualities and ease of maintenance. For decades, steel has become backbone for all types of constructions. It reinforces the concrete structures and protects theme from getting worn-out from any natural calamity.
In construction field, steel is used in the form of various products. Some of these products include flanges, angle, rebars, plain rods, doors & windows, steel sheets, pipes and tubes, channels, corrugated roofing, sheet piles, masonry tools, etc.

But, steel is not only used in civil construction, you can find a lot of products around you which are made of steel.

What is Steel? Different Types of Steel Used in Construction

Different Types of Steel Used in Construction
Table of Contents   (toc)

Read through this article one by one about what is steel, 10 different types of steel used in construction and some important faqs on this topic. Continue to know.

What is Steel?

In fact, steel is an alloy made of a combination of iron and carbon with various other elements. It has improved physical properties like strength as compared to iron and also has some special properties like corrosion resistance and thermal resistance.

Aluminum, manganese, silicon, nickel, copper, chromium and titanium can be found in steel in very small and varying amounts and are considered alloying elements.
Sulfur and phosphorus are also present in steel in small amounts but are considered impurities.
The amount of carbon, these alloying elements and impurities in the steel decide the types of steel and their properties.

Different Types of Steel Used in Construction

As we mentioned above, steel is used for manufacturing various products that are widely used in construction for different purposes. For manufacturing of different products different types of steels are used. Some of the different types of steel used in construction are:
  1. Carbon Steel
  2. Alloy Steel
  3. Stainless Steel
  4. Tool Steel
  5. Rebar Steel
  6. Structural Steel
  7. Mild Steel
  8. Light Gauge Steel
  9. Galvanised Steel
  10. Weathering Steel
Now read about the features and applications of these types of steel one by one.

1. Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is a type of steel with highest carbon concentration that composed manganese, silicon as alloys and sulfur & phosphorus as impurities. The amount of carbon present in the steel determines the hardness, strength and elasticity of the steel. Higher the carbon concentration higher the strength and hardness of steel. It is one of the 4 main types of steel.
Low carbon steel is used in construction for bridgework, railways, tunnels and steel piping, etc.

Types of Carbon Steel

Carbon steels can be further classified into the following 4 groups depending on the level of carbon content:
  1. Low Carbon Steel (0.05% to 0.3% carbon),
  2. Medium Carbon Steel (0.3% to 0.6% carbon),
  3. High Carbon Steel (0.61% to 0.99% carbon),
  4. Ultra-high Carbon Steel (1% to 2% carbon).

2. Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is one of the 4 main types of steel that contains alloy elements like aluminum, chromium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and silicon in varying proportion. These elements significantly improve the properties of the steel by increasing its hardness, tensile strength, ductility, weldability, malleability and corrosion-resistance. Yet, all of these properties might vary in resultant steel according to the presented proportion of different alloy metals.

Types of Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is categorised into two groups: High Alloy Steel and Low Alloy Steel. High alloy steel is used in manufacturing tools, buildings, infrastructure, machines, etc. Low alloy steel is used in manufacturing seamless rolling ring forging pipes, automotive and aerospace bodies, railway lines, offshore and onshore structural engineering plates and studying outlets.

3. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the 4 main types of steel. It is a form of (high) alloy steel that contains chromium (10% to 20% in ammount) as the main alloying element. This chromium content provides stainless steel its excellence in corrosion resistance and oxidation resistance. That's why it can be used as the better alternative to materials like wood.
Due to its high resistance against corrosion and oxidation and smooth and shiny surface, stainless steel is widely used in open areas for aesthetic appeal in building construction. For example, atriums, canopies, staircases, railings, window casements, doors, roofing material, swimming pool sheds and security barriers.

Types of Stainless Steel

Based on its crystalline structure, stainless steel can be further classified into three groups:
  1. Austenitic,
  2. Ferritic and
  3. Martensitic.

4. Tool Steel

Tool steel is also one of the 4 main types of steel. It contains hard metals like cobalt, molybdenum, tungsten and vanadium in varying quantities. It has high resistance against abrasion, deformation, and extreme temperatures. It is a highly durable steel.
Tool steel are mostly used for manufacturing tools that are also used in construction field like dies for cutting hard alloys, forging presses, shearing blades and mandrels.

Types of Tool Steel

There are 7 types of tool steels:
  1. Water-Hardening Tool Steel
  2. Shock-Resisting Tool Steel
  3. Mold Steel
  4. Cold-Work Tool Steel
  5. Hot-Work Tool Steel
  6. High-Speed Steel
  7. Special Purpose Tool Steel

The above four types are classified as the 4 main types of steel.

5. Rebar Steel

The rebar steel, the most popular steel type in construction industry, is used to reinforce concrete structures that can withstand with greater tension. It appears in the form of rods having a uniform ribbed pattern on the entire surface. Rebars come in various sizes (diameter) 6mm to 50mm and grades with different parameters like yield strength, tensile strength, ductility, chemical composition and elongation percentage.
Rebar steel offers resistance to corrosion, heat and earthquake and provide high durability and aesthetic appeal to structures. So, rebars are widely used in construction of all types of RCC structures for reinforcement purpose.

6. Structural Steel

Structural steel is a type of steel used for manufacturing steel frames, beams, columns, bars, girders, plates, and many others which are used in the construction industry. It is flexible, strong and durable. It can be molded into almost any desired shape depending on the construction requirement.
Structural steel is used for beams, columns and frames for bridges, skyscrapers, pre-engineered buildings, warehousing, parking spaces and other large structures.

7. Mild Steel

Mild steel (aka MS) is a low carbon steel contains 0.05% to 0.25% carbon content. Mild steel is extremely flexible, bendable and malleable in nature. That makes mild steel suitable to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes without generating cracks in the steel.
Mild Steel is a primarily used steel in construction field. MS angles, MS pipes, MS tubes, wires, nails, hollow section pipes, MS flat bars, MS channels, etc. are forms of mild steel that are widely used in the construction sector.

8. Light Gauge Steel

Light-gauge steel (LSG) is actually cold-formed steel also known as cold-rolled steel. It is used to make structural frames that are called Light Gauge Framing System (LGFS). Light-gauge steel is a lightweight, durable, high strength, quality product that gives fast and clean construction.
Light Gauge Framing Systems (LGFS) can be used throughout a structure, including load-bearing exterior walls, non-load bearing interior walls, curtain walls, floor joists and roof trusses.

9. Galvanised Steel

Galvanized steel is the steel that undergoes the process of galvanization (the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel) at the end of the manufacturing process. Galvanization process makes the steel highly resistant to corrosion and oxidation that is almost 40 times more when compared to carbon steel. Due to the galvanization process, Galvanised Steel costs a bit more than TMT steel rebars.
The extreme resistance against rust, corrosion and oxidation makes galvanized steel very suitable for construction in harsh and corrosive environments.

10. Weathering Steel

Weathering steel (often referred to as COR-TEN steel or corten steel) is a copper chromium alloy steel that displays a high level of resistance to atmospheric weathering. Weathering steels are developed to provide enhanced mechanical properties and eliminate the need for painting.
Weathering steel is frequently used for exposed steel structures such as: bridges, load-bearing structures, utility towers, ornamental sculptures, facades and roofing.


According to the “World Steel Association”, there are over 3,500 different types of steel. Here we have highlighted the 10 types of steel used in the construction sector. Each type of steel has different properties and chemical composition, and consequently their applications may also vary.


What are the 4 classifications of steel?

Steel can be classified into mainly four groups depending on their chemical content or metal alloy contents. These are: (1.) Carbon Steel, (2.) Stainless Steel, (3.) Alloy Steel and (4.) Tool Steel.

What are the four main types of steel?

The four main types of steel are: (1.) Carbon Steel, (2.) Stainless Steel, (3.) Alloy Steel and (4.) Tool Steel.

Which type of steel is used for construction?

Rebar steel (reinforcement steel), structural steel, mild steel and stainless steel are the main type of steel used for construction.

How many types of steel are used in building construction?

Mainly 4 types of steel are used in building construction. These are rebar steel (reinforcement steel), structural steel, mild steel and stainless steel. But there are also some other types of steel used in construction sector which are mentioned above in this blog.

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  1. Steel is a versatile and indispensable material in the world of construction, playing a pivotal role in shaping the modern infrastructure we rely on every day. In essence, steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron and carbon, with small amounts of other elements like manganese, silicon, and sometimes even trace amounts of other metals. It is the careful manipulation of these ingredients that gives rise to the various types of steel used in construction, each tailored to meet specific structural and functional requirements.

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