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American Steel vs. Imported Steel

Steel is essential for many construction projects—its strength, beauty, and resistance to natural elements make it a hot commodity for the building materials industry.

Because steel is so widely used in building projects due to its durability, it is important to make sure you’re using the best type of steel. After all, the type of steel you choose to use can literally make or break your project.

So, should you go with American-made steel or imported steel? The answer to this question relies on a variety of very important variables: safety, durability, cost, and thickness should all be considered when making your decision.

Manufacturing Standards

One of the biggest differences between American steel and imported steel are that the steel produced is held to different standards. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and other American organizations have created set standards to determine the appropriate chemistry mixes for different types of steel. These standards are crucial to steel production as a safety precaution to ensure the right metal is being used in the fabrication process.


In addition to strict manufacturing standards, American steel companies also require rigorous testing before steel can be sold. Much like the manufacturing standards put in place, these tests help with the following:

  • Natural disasters. Quality steel helps keep buildings standing after natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.
  • Welding. Stronger and thicker steel will prevent cracks and brittleness during welding.
  • Carbon emissions. Did you know that carbon emissions in China are two times greater than that of America? That’s because American steel companies adhere to environmental guidelines to protect the planet and our people.

When it comes to overall quality, American steel knocks it out of the park every time.

Supply Chain

Since last year’s COVID-19 lockdowns, metal prices and lead times have been constantly rising. Steel costs are impacting everyone who is buying or selling steel products, making the supply chain difficult to work with.

Why are we experiencing supply chain issues for the industry? During the shutdowns, most steel production facilities were forced to shut down and halt production. While the demand for steel slowed during this time, it quickly increased as cities and businesses began reopening, creating an unexpected need that facilities cannot keep up with. Along with a pause in production, these shutdowns also brought budget cuts and low availability in workers within the industry.

Supply issues are causing havoc in the construction industry. From structural use, bridges, appliances, and concrete work, steel is used in almost every construction project and is a staple in the industry.

Build with the Best with Barton Supply Steel

The choice should be clear: when buying steel for your project, go with American-made when possible. American steel is safe, strong, durable, and more eco-friendly than imported steel due to stricter guidelines and testing. Since steel is at the center of a building, it is crucial to make sure you are building with the best.

At Barton Supply, we offer various steel products including structural steel, fabricated rebar, residential steel, and more. Our team of steel experts ensure the highest quality product for our customers with the use of the latest technology, expertise, innovative design, and efficiency.

To learn more about the steel products we supply and how we can help with your project, contact a member of our team today.