types of beam

25 Types of Beam | What Is a Beam | Types of Beams In Civil Engineering | Types of Beam pdf14 min read

What Is A Beam?

A Beam is a horizontal structural element that runs horizontally to withstand vertical load coming off the building frame. Beam takes the load & distribute it to ends and transfer to column, wall, posts on both sides of the beam. it only withstands laterally applied loads on the axis of the beam.

Read More: What is a Grade Beam & Its Construction Method

Types of Beams

The following are different types of beam used in civil engineering,

A. Based on Construction Material

1. Timber Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use
Timber Beam Frame Structure

The timber beam is generally used in the wooden roof truss construction. They are used in combination with columns and posts which support beams in the wooden frame structure.

The timber beam runs horizontally between two posts on both sides of the wooden truss.

They are also used to support floor slabs in old houses made of timber materials. Timber is a strong and durable building material if proper treatment and care are taken.

But, With the introduction of advanced construction materials like concrete, their application is now limited.

2. Steel Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use
Steel Beam

Steel Beams are manufactured from molten steel poured into molds and rolled out in a variety of shapes like Beams.

Steel beams are strong, durable and high-strength material compares to other construction materials.

Steel beams are used in different types of construction like building, workshops, steel roof trusses, bridges, ropeway, etc.

3. Reinforced Concrete Beam

Reinforced concrete beams are the important structural element of a building that are designed to carry transverse external loads. 

This loadable to cause bending moment, shear forces, and in some cases torsion across their length.

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use
RCC Beam

As we know that the concrete is strong in compression and very weak in tension. Therefore, to counteract balance these defects the Steel reinforcement is used to take up tensile stresses in reinforced concrete beams.

The RCC beam is generally designed to support the loads from slabs, other beams, walls, and columns and transfer the loads to the columns supporting them.

Read More: Structural Components of Building & Their Standard Dimensions

4. Composite Beam

It is a structural component that is made by using two different materials joined together to act as a unit.

An example in building construction, there is steel and concrete composite beam used. This concrete slab is attached with a steel wide flange.

B. Based on Loads & Supports

5. Simply Supported Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use
  • A simply supported beam is one of the important and simple types of beam. As its name suggests, it is supported on both the end, at one end it is pinned and the other is either pinned or rollers are used.
  • This beam is generally experienced both bending and shearing and sometimes translational moment only when the roller end is used.
  • According to the type of such as UDL (uniformly distributed load), UVL (uniformly varying load), concentrated load, etc., beams bending and shearing will liable to vary.

6. Fixed Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

These are the types of beams in which both ends are fixed and the rotational movement is restrained. Also, The type of Beam in which has no freedom to rotate at ends is a Fixed Beam.

The End Connections of beams are provided with reinforcements to restrict the end rotation or tilting.

In reality, all the high-rise buildings are made of the fixed beam but the only way of fixing looks different.

The 110 stories high world trade center building can be considered a fixed beam. This may not be seen clearly due to the presence of intermediate columns and beams.

Read More: Top 15 Civil Engineering Software

7. Overhanging Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

The overhanging beam is one like a simply supported beam, but it’s one end overhand or extended from support to some distance.

Generally, every end of the beam is supported by the column. In the case of an overhanging beam, one end of a beam supported by a column and the other end is overhang without support.

Overhanging beams generally used to make shades or balconies, can vary from 40–120 cm in common residential buildings.

8. Double Overhanging Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

As its name suggests it is a double overhanging portion on both the ends of the beam. In short, These types of Beams will have overhang portion at both the support.

There is roller support and rotational moment on both the ends of the beam

9. Continuous Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

A Beam that has more than two or more support is called a continuous beam. It is like a simply supported beam.

A beam is called a continuous beam when it is simply supported at both ends with intermediate support too.

These types of the beam have more than one span.  Continuous beam is most commonly used in bridge construction. A beam of this type has more than two supports along its length.  


  • It has lesser maximum deflection than a simply supported beam.
  • With a continuous beam, we can use span or distance as compared to simply supported beams.
  • It has a lesser maximum positive bending moment than a simply supported beam.

10. Cantilever Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

A cantilever beam can be defined as a beam that is fixed at one and free at the other end. In other words, Beam is fixed at one end and the other end is extended beyond to hang free in the air.

In these types of the beam, the load coming on it transfers to the support where it can manage the moment of force and shear stress. 

The cantilever beam’s free end is the ability to move when the load is applied but no rotation or translation will occur at the end fixed end (end in the concrete).

It is mostly used in car parking areas, construction of bridges, towers, etc.

Read More: 14 Types of Bricks and Their Advantages

11. Trussed Beam

When the beam is reinforced with a truss, it is called a trussed beam. These types of beams are used mostly for making workshop sheds, warehouse sheds, and where there is a need for a long span and open space.

C. Based on Shape Of Cross Section

12. Rectangular Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

The rectangular beam is those which have a cross-section rectangular shape. These types of beams generally experience tension at the bottom and compression at the top.

Therefore, more reinforcement is provided at the bottom beam compare to the top portion of the beam. 

Rectangular beams are the most common types of beams used in building construction from small house construction to high-rise building construction.

13.  I – Beam

  • I – Beam is simple means beam has shaped like alphabet “I”.  Also it a structural member in the shape of an “I”, meaning a central web with a crossbar at the top and bottom.
  • I – Beam may be made of steel, concrete, or fiberglass. I Beam is generally used in the construction of manufacturing plants, multi-story buildings, etc.

14. T – Beam

The beam has a cross-sectional shape like “T” which is called a T-Beam. This beam is generally cast monolithically with the slab.

 As a result, the slab acts as a part integral part of the beam and bends in the longitudinal direction of the beam. The slab portion is called a flange for T- beam. The beam portion below the flange is called the web.

T-beam allows us to select a larger span compare to the rectangular span because the deflection of the beam is greatly reduced.

Read More: Standard Height Of Window From Floor Level

15. C – Beam

It is a beam that has a channel section means “C” section.

16. L – Beam

L – Beam which is provided at the corner or around the perimeter of the slab is called L-Beam.

Also, we can define as the end beams which have slabs only on one side are called L-beam. Generally, these beams are cast monolithically with the slab and hence act as L-beam but not a simple rectangular beam.

These types of beams are generally found at the corners of buildings on which the roof/slab is not projected out of the beam, corners around the staircase, lift openings, etc.

D. Based on Equilibrium Conditions

17. Statically Determinate Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

If the forces applied on the beam can be resolve or found out by applying static equilibrium equations, then it is called a statically determinate beam.

Also, we can say that in statically determinate beam numbers of unknown forces are equal to the number of equations.

Statically determinate structures are most commonly used in bridges, mainly due to the fact that temperature changes can induce large stresses in the bridge.

18. Statically Indeterminate Beam

25 Different Types of Beams in Construction & Their Use

If the forces applied on the beam can be resolve or found out by applying static equilibrium equations, then it is called a statically indeterminate beam.

In types of the beam, the number of unknowns exceeds the number of equations, then the structure is statically indeterminate.

When we provide more support to structure than required for static stability, it makes structure indeterminate.


  • Stresses produced in indeterminate are generally lower than the determinate structure.
  • The deflection of the beam is less compared to a determinate beam due to greater stiffness.
  • Statically indeterminate beam has the capacity to redistribute the loads. In case any part or support structure fails, the entire structure will not necessarily collapse, and the loads will be redistributed to the adjacent portions of the structure.

E. Based on Geometry

19. Straight Beam

Straight beams are those which have a straight profile along the length. Most of the buildings made with a straight beam.

20. Curved Beam

The beam that has a curved shape or profile is called a curved beam. It is generally used in case of circular or curved-shaped building construction.

21. Tapered Beam

It is a type of beam with a tapered shape.

F. Based on Construction Methods

22. Cast In-situ Concrete Beam

These are the beam which is cast on-site and cured. For the casting of the beam, form-work is fixed in a definite size, and the fresh concrete is poured in the forms, the compaction is done with the help of various vibratory equipment.

23. Precast Concrete Beam

The Precast beams are those which are cast or manufactured in a plant and away from the structure in a very controlled environment, and ideal conditions are provided to castings to ensure the maximum strength of the beam.

They are cast at plants and cured in a very controlled manner with a high-quality check. These precast beams, then transported to construction to use. 

24. Pre-stressed Concrete Beam

As its name suggests they are prestressed before casting of the beam. Concrete beam formwork is set up with tension wire in it and hydraulic jacks are used to give pretension before casting.

Just before concreting in the beam, tension wire is stressed as per the requirement with help of a hydraulic jack. After that concrete is poured into it and cured. This casted beam is called a prestressed concrete beam.

As we know that concrete is strong in compression but weak in tension. There is a constant affords to reduce the tension force on the concrete members.

Therefore, the concrete beam is prestressed so that it will remain under compression more than in tension.

25. Lintel Beam

Lintel beams are generally provided on the top of the door, window, and ventilation frame. It has main function is to restrict the load that can act on the door and window frame.

It distributes the load from the upper part to the sidewall on which it is supported. The lintel beam is one of the essential components of the beam.

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