Question: Is it better to use wood or steel for the basement beam?
Answer: The material used to make basement beams is usually selected by the engineer, architect or building designer. Most basement beams can be made of either wood or steel, but wood beams generally require support posts that are placed more closely together. This makes steel a more flexible option since its support posts can be spaced more widely apart. We typically use three 2” x 10”s nailed together to make our beams. We stagger the joints in the 2” x 10s in order to make a more solid beam. Many times wood beams can be built in place and are easier to put in place and cost less. There is now a third option with the development of engineered wood beams, however they are generally taller than either the 2” x 10” or the steel beam.