Monday, October 28, 2013

Spindle Shopping: How to Get the Rails You Want

Figuring out the right designs for your stairway is a very important part of any building project. While you can go with just a traditional steel stair railing, there are literally hundreds of different options that you can choose that will set your stairs apart from other railings that you have seen. When it comes to your stairs, fences, and other railing, getting the perfect look is often a matter of getting the perfect balance of style and function.

The Stairs Make the Room
Your stairs are such an important architectural part of your home. Whether you are looking for a new stair railing for indoor stairs that are part of your entryway, or you need a railing to go on stairs outside the home, the look you choose will say a lot about your style. It’s important to know what kinds of railings are available and explore all the options so you can pick the perfect look that complements your home style, and doesn't take away from it.

Other Railing Applications
In addition to stair railings, there are many other ways you can use spindles around your home. You might want to put a fence around your entire property, or have something that lines your front porch and entryway. You may have a railing that encircles a back porch, which can add a lot of visual detail and interest to your home and backyard, and improve your home's appeal when you decide to sell.

Spindle Choices
No matter what kind of railing you are building, you need to have the perfect steel spindles to complete the look. The great thing about railing options is that there is something for every style. If you have a more modern home, you can choose geometric shapes and basic styles that will allow the simplicity of the style to stand out. If you prefer a more classic look, there are a myriad of decorative options you can choose. You can find swirly styles, or go for something that has ornamental nature accents on it, such as leaves and flowers. You can also choose something besides just a straight up and down spindle, by going with a potbelly look. Wasatch Steel also has unique options that include more abstract designs, using hammers to create special patterns or twisting the spindles for a different appearance.

Finding the Right Size
The next step after deciding whether you’re looking for classic or modern, abstract or artistic, is to figure out what size you need. The length and width of the spindles will be determine by what you want the finished product to be like. You can also find balusters that are made of steel to complete a stair railing, or get pieces to put together a fence that will protect your home and your yard.

The last piece of the puzzle when buying steel spindles from Wasatch Steel is to find the right tools to make your project a success. Wasatch Steel is a one-stop-shop to get you everything you need to create the perfect fence or railing for your home.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

4 Questions to Ask When Buying Steel

There is a reason that steel is so often used in our modern world—it is one of the best materials to combine strength and durability with a light weight and economical cost. Today it is used in everything from constructing skyscrapers and homes, to building roads and bridges, in the medical field and food service, home décor, and even in consumer goods and vehicles. If you are thinking about purchasing steel for a project that you are working on, it’s important to know the four things to consider before you make a purchase.

Figure Out the Application
There are so many different kinds of steel out there today that you first need to figure out why you are purchasing it. Obviously the type of product you need from Wasatch Steel is going to depend on how you want to use it. If you are looking for a good surface for a medical application, you will need different steel than if you are planning to build a pipeline. Part of deciding the kind of steel that you need is determining whether you need to have brand new steel, or if you can save some money by using excess prime or used steel.

Determine Strength
Steel is a material with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios in the world, but it’s important that you first know what exactly you need in terms of the total strength for your project. If you are building a skyscraper, you will need steel that has a higher capability to resist tension than if you are planning to use the steel for decorative purposes. The strength of any steel is often dependent on what other materials are in it, such as nickel, aluminum, chromium, and carbon.

There are three measures to look at:
  • Ultimate tensile strength, which is the maximum amount of stress that the steel will be able to withstand before it breaks.
  • Yield strength, which is the maximum load that each unit area of the steel will endure before it becomes deformed.
  • Elongation, or how much the material can stretch before it fractures (usually measured as a percentage of the original length). 
Material Hardness
If you are using steel in a situation where you want it to retain its original look, hardness can be an important measure to consider. Hardness is how well the steel can resist indentations and scratches, and while the harder materials at Wasatch Steel will tend to be more durable, they may also cost more because they are more difficult to manufacture.

Calculate Costs
Whenever you are shopping, whether it is for steel at the steel supermarket, or for food at the regular supermarket, you are always concerned about the price. Wasatch Steel offers one of the biggest selections in the state, and often has the best prices available. We purchase lots of different types of steel, including brand new, used, and excess prime. Choosing from these options can save you time and money.

Shopping and Using Steel I-beams

Steel beams are a very important part of building when you are planning to use steel as the base of a structure. There are a lot of different options that you have when you are ready to buy steel beams at Wasatch Steel, and knowing how to shop for them and use them properly in your next construction project can keep your project moving.

Shopping for an I-beam

An I-beam can go by many different names:
  • I-beam because it looks like a capital “I” from one angle
  • H-beam because it also looks like a capital “H” when it is on its side
  • W-beam, which stands for “wide flange”
  • Universal Beam because of its universal application for construction
  • Rolled Steel Joint
  • Double-T, again because it resembles two capital “T” letters put together 
The breakdown of the I-beam includes the two horizontal elements, which form the top and bottom of the “I”, and are referred to commonly as flanges. The vertical part that spans between the two flanges is called the web. When you are shopping to purchase an I-beam, you are looking at three different dimensions: the width of the flanges, plus the depth (length) and thickness of the web. Steel I-beams at Wasatch Steel can be made from rolling (hot rolling, cold rolling, or extrusion), or they can be made from welding the flanges and the web. It’s important to know which you are getting when you are ready to purchase, so you get the one that is better suited for your application.

Using Steel I-Beams
The benefit of a steel beam is that the design can protect against both shear forces and bending. The web of the beam is what can protect against the shear forces, while the flanges are efficient at protecting against bending.

Because of the way they are built, steel I-beams are especially effective at spanning distances, for example when you are constructing a large building, creating a road, walkway, or other transportation application, or building platforms that need to be structurally sound. They are often used a reinforcement for concrete, and when used together these two materials make a very strong combination.

To find the right size of I-beams, you need to know several different things about the project, such as how you plan to use it, what size you need, and what kind of reinforcement is appropriate. There are tables that can provide you with information about available sizes to help you get the right beams, but there is more than just the size. You also need to know:
  • Deflection (minimizing deformation)
  • Vibration (preventing vibrations in sensitive construction projects)
  • Yield stress and lateral torsional buckling (preventing bending failure from either of these issues)
  • Local yield (for concentrated loads)
  • Shear failure
To find the I-beams that you need, visit Wasatch Steel and check out the selection at the steel supermarket. If you don’t see what you need, you can even get custom sizes for your specific project. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The History of Steel

Steel has become one of the most important materials in our modern society, building everything from homes and skyscrapers to machinery, cars, and roads. It is also used in many healthcare supplies, and in places like restaurants and factories for sterile food preparation surface. There are a number of steel products available now from steel mills and at places like Wasatch Steel. With all of these modern applications, it is sometimes easy to forget where it came from and how it has become such an amazing and versatile material. Here is a brief history of steel, and some steel basics on how we use it today.

It Started with Iron
The use of one of the core ingredients in steel—iron—began several centuries ago, with the earliest known use about 2000 B.C. For centuries, iron was used to implement weapons and build fortresses because it was stronger and more durable than bronze, which was the previously preferred metal, and it can be fashioned into a sharper edge. It is also one of the most abundant natural elements on the earth, account for more than five percent of the Earth’s crust.

For centuries, blacksmiths would take iron ore and through a process of smelting, extract the iron and fashion it into something useful. The end product was wrought iron, meaning iron that someone had hammered and worked on.

The Industrial Revolution
The process was refined over several centuries, and the creation of things like a blast furnace made iron production easier and more efficient. All iron contains carbon, and a carbon content between 0.2 and 1.5 percent is the ideal range to get strong, durable, flexible steel that is not as brittle as cast iron. Although many knew about the superiority of steel over other iron, it required a long and tedious process to create the metal, and thus steel production was very limited.

In the mid-1800s a British metallurgist Sir Henry Bessemer developed what became known as the Bessemer process, which blew compressed air through molten metal, emptying the iron of carbon and silicon in a matter of minutes and maintaining the high level of heat that kept the iron malleable. The process was refined over the next few years to ensure the right levels of carbon, phosphorus, and other elements to create strong, durable steel. Industries like the railroad provided instant demand for the new product, and the list of products that have been made better or more affordable because of cheap steel is growing.

Steel In Our Modern World
Today the presence of steel is everywhere, from public transportation and railroads, to pipelines, oil refineries, power plants, increasingly taller and safer skyscrapers, transportation, vehicles, buses, appliances, tools, military vehicles, farm equipment, basic utensils, surgical instruments, and much, much more.

It is often preferred over other metals because it is widely available, affordable, and recyclable, making it an eco-friendly choice. In addition, it has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios, so it’s a tremendous value for the money.

No matter what you are planning to build today using steel, you can find what you need from the steel supermarket at Wasatch Steel. Find out why it has become the preferred building material of both large and small contractors, as well as do-it-yourself enthusiasts everywhere. Check out all of the new, used, and excess prime selections when you need to buy steel.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Perforated Steel: What is it, and How is it Used?

There are many different ways that you can use metal in your daily life, whether you work on construction, or you are just looking for unique ways to add beautiful décor to your home and yard. One common type of metal you can find at Wasatch Steel that is often used in a variety of applications is perforated metal. If you’re not sure what it is, and how it differs from other metals like expanded metal, here is an overview of this sheet metal manufacturing process, and some ways you might want to use it in your life.

What is Perforated Metal?
Perforated metal is a sheet metal that undergoes a manufacturing process of stamping to add holes or other perforations to the surface, in a variety of shapes and sizes, to use in your home, business, or building application. It is a functional steel, and comes in a wide variety of different elements, including lightweight applications for decorations around the house or yard, to heavy-duty applications you can use as load-bearing structures. Since it’s made of steel, this decorative metal offers the same combination of strength, durability, and beauty that other steel provides no matter how you are planning to use it.

Defining Perforated Metal Types
When discussing or buying perforated metal at Wasatch Steel, there are a few different terms you should be aware of so you can get the exact sheet and pattern you prefer.
  • Staggered pattern, which offer holes that are diagonal or nested in their orientation, so they offer an offset pattern that gives you the maximum amount of open area in the metal sheet. 
  • Straight pattern, which has holes aligned in straight rows and columns for a very symmetrical look. 
  • Unfinished ends, which has a pattern that is not extended all the way to the edge of the sheet. It can give the ends of your metal sheet a bit of a rough look.
  • Finished ends, which takes the pattern to the edge of the sheet in the same form as the rest of the metal so it appears constant and complete.
  • Margins are the areas on the top, bottom, and sides that will not have perforations. These margins help preserve the strength and structural integrity of the sheet. 
  • Safe side margins allow you to perforate right to the edge of the sheet, while leaving a small amount of metal on the end so the perforation doesn’t go over the edge.
  • Perforated tools are the interchangeable die cuts that give you the size and shape of holes that you expect for different patterns. 
  • Hole size describes the shape and diameter of the holes you want in your metal sheet. 
Uses for Perforated Metal
There are a wide variety of ways that you can use perforated metal, whether it’s more functional or it is a more decorative use. Construction and other building or facilities projects may use it for HVAC systems, noise control, security ceilings, sunscreens on the outside of windows, building facades, in-fill panels, ceilings, stair treads and risers. If you like it as a decorative piece, you can use it for interior design, furnishings, screens, and fencing. There are also some applications for the chemical and energy industries, mechanical and manufacturing plants, and food production and brewing, for things such as beehives, grain dryers, wine vats, farming, hammer mill screens, silos, threshing machines screens, malting floors, hop screens, vegetable and fruit presses, and more.

These metal sheets offer several benefits, including light weight, containment, heat dissipation, anti-skid, and the best acoustic performance. Whether you’re planning to use it as something functional or simply beautiful, perforated metal gives you a lot of options.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Choosing Steel Angle for Use in Construction

Steel angle is a very common material that many builders use in a variety of different construction projects. At Wasatch Steel, we offer many options for getting just the right steel angle, also called angle bar, to get your next building project done right.

The Basics on Steel Angles

Steel angle, or angle bar, gets its name from its shape. They come with two steel segments that form an "L" shape with a 90 degree perpendicular angle. Angle bar comes in two different configurations—the first is equal length on both sides. The second has one leg of the “L” that is longer than the other, for an unequal angle. Whether they have equal or unequal leg lengths, the thickness of the angle is always the same for both sides.

What Steel Angles are Used For
Steel angles, or angle bar, is often used for support when building objects, buildings, or rooms that require support at the corners. Because of its unique “L” shape, it makes an ideal support system for two adjoining walls in any type of corner. Many construction professionals know that angle bar, like the ones you can find at Wasatch Steel, are a great way to easily boost the support system within a structure.

Most of the time when angle beams are used, they are welded to the structure, or attached with drilled fastening methods. By reinforcing the edges or a surface, the structure is better able to support a much heavier load than it would be able to hold without the support. They can also be used on the exterior of a building as a way to reinforce edges and reduce weathering or erosion, which can lead to significant damage over time. Quite simply, angle beams can protect any corner or surface that needs to hold its shape over time.

Another common use for angle bar is for support of all-steel structures, such as radio towers, broadcasting equipment, construction scaffolding, and more. Their ability to resist weathering, and their high tensile strength, contribute to a stronger structure.

How to Shop for Steel Angle

When shopping for angle bar at Utah’s steel supermarket, Wasatch Steel, there are a couple of measurements you want to be familiar with. Angle beams are identified by the length of each of the legs, and by the thickness of the angle, with the longer leg always identified first. For example, a unequal angle bar might have the dimension of 6 inches x 4 inches x ½ inch. That means the longer leg measures 6 inches, the shorter 4 inches, and they both have a thickness of ½ inch. Whenever you measure leg lengths, be sure to measure along the back side, where it is longest.

Both equal-angle and unequal-angle beams are available in a wide variety of thicknesses and sizes from Wasatch Steel, starting around 1 inch x 1 inch and going up to 10 inches or more on each leg. Come find out why more people buy angle bar from the steel supermarket at Wasatch Steel than anywhere else.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Common Uses for Expanded Metal

Expanded metal is a material that many people have seen throughout their daily lives, but may not be aware of how beneficial it can be for several different building and construction applications. At Wasatch Steel, we have a wide selection of expanded steel that you can choose from to meet pretty much any need you might have. Here is a brief overview of expanded metal, how it’s made, its uses, and its benefits.

Making Expanded Metal
When you see expanded metal, you might be under the impression that it started out as a large piece of sheet metal, then a machine poked holes in it to get the mesh look. While it is true that it starts out as sheet metal, there is no process to poke holes in it (partly because it would be tedious, and partly because it would waste a lot of precious steel in the process).

To begin the process, a small sheet of metal is inserted into the expanding machine (since it’s going to be stretched, a small sheet of solid steel can make a large sheet of expanded steel). Inside the machine there is a knife pattern that cuts into the metal sheet. There are several different knife patterns available, generally in vary diamond or square shapes, and you may be able to get a custom knife pattern if you need something different.

The knife cuts into the steel and then the machine stretches the metal either vertically, horizontally, or both, to create a diamond mesh pattern. The machine ensures consistency so you get uniform metal cuts throughout the entire sheet. Shearing and stretching a small metal sheet into a large expanded metal sheet also saves a lot of steel and leaves very little waste, making it an environmentally-friendly and wallet-friendly process.

Advantages of Expanded Metal
There are hundreds of expanded metal uses in our daily lives, and many advantages to this type of metal:
  • The process creates very little waste and eliminates scrap metal.
  • Expanded metal allows air, fluid, or light to flow through so you can protect an area from intrusion without closing it off entirely. 
  • Air, water, fluid, and dirt can easily pass through to maintain a safe non-slip surface.
  • It comes in a wide variety of different steel and other metals to meet whatever specific needs you might have, whether it’s grating on the outside of an air conditioning unit, or a more durable metal that will be used for walkways. 
  • Because it’s made of steel, it has an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio, it is durable, and can withstand just about anything. 
  • The process to create expanded metal uses a single sheet of steel from the beginning, so the finished product is seamless and won’t unravel.
  • There are many different options for getting it cut to the shape and size that you need, especially when you buy from the steel supermarket at Wasatch Steel

Common Applications

Some of the most common places where you will see expanded metal include:
  • Air or fluid filters
  • Battery cells
  • Ventilation systems
  • Satellite and radar antennas
  • Outdoor cooking or grills
  • Speaker covers
  • Securing walls, fences, ceilings, and floors
  • Covering appliances, such as an air conditioning unit
  • Reinforcing concrete
  • Basement window well covers
  • Stairs and walkways, especially in industrial settings
  • Benches
  • Heavy-duty shelving

There are so many uses for expanded steel, whether it’s for a small project around your house, a decorative accent piece in your yard, or a huge construction site, stop by the steel supermarket at Wasatch Steel to check out the enormous selection of different expanded metal available.