what is Girder? How Girders are different from beams?

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Girder is a member of structure framing system. Beams and girders both have same function. Both of these members carry and distribute structure load. Many people think that both beams and griders are same thing but that is not true. Both of them have same functions but there are some key differences which separate them with each others.

In this article we will discussed about what is Girders and major differences between girder and beam. Hope you enjoy this article and all of your doubt related to both of them will clear after reading this.

So let’s begin!


What is Girder?

Girder is basically a supporting member like beam or we can say that girder is a special type of horizontal beam which support concentric loads like beams and columns. Mainly cross section of girders are I section or box type which specially design to support major concentric loads.

The load caring capacity of girders is significantly high compare to other beams. Girders are used in many structures framing system like buildings, bridges, roof etc.

Before differentiating between girder and beam, we have to learn about beam.

What is Beam?

Beam is a structure member which cross section is much smaller compare to its length and used to carrying and distributing load mainly under lateral condition.  Beams are subjected under different type of loads, bending moment, shear force etc. and mainly used in structure member like truss, bridges  etc.

Difference between girder and beam:

S.No. Parameter Girder Beam
1. Loading Girders primary function is to support other beams and  undergoes under concentric load due to beams and columns.


Beams are primary component of structure framing system. It use to distribute and carry load of the structure and undergoes bending force and moment.
2. Size Girders cannot be specified according to its size but in many cases it has seen that these are bigger than beams. Beams are smaller in size and supported by girders.


3. Types Girders are primary a beam with a special application. There is no special classification available but generally two types of girders are used.

I Cross Section Girder

Box Section Girder

Beams can be classified in many ways like

According to Support : Cantilever beam, Simply Supported beam, Overhanging beam, According to Cross Section : I Beam, T Beam, Circular Beam, According to Geometry : Straight Beam, Curved Beam, Tapper Beam etc.

4. Functionality Girders primary function is to support other beams and columns. Beams primary function is to carry and distribute load. Mainly it transfers loads to girders.


5. Strength As we know ultimately all load transfers to girder so it is required to be stronger. Beams load bearing capacity is much smaller than girders.

In the last words we can summarize that both girder and beam are structure member with small cross section and big length. Both are use to carry structure load but girder are stronger than beam and mainly horizontally placed. It is use to support other beam and columns. We can also say that all girders are beam but all beams are not girders. Both of them are back bone of any structure framing system.

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