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American Steel Is Better Quality

By Camille Grayson
on February 12, 2019

Think price is the only factor when choosing steel? There are actually many reasons why manufacturers, contractors and distributors choose American steel over imported steel. Most importantly, American steel is better quality. Here’s why:

Our steel is made better.
American steel producers must adhere to a specific chemistry mix outlined by the American Standard for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for each kind of steel they manufacture. Other countries sometimes veer from standard mixes. As recently as 2015, Chinese steel manufacturers were found putting boron in their steel, which weakens the welds and presents a safety hazard.

Our steel is thoroughly tested.
American manufacturers must also follow ASTM guidelines when testing steel and steel products, but other countries don’t necessarily adhere to these standards. Chinese companies, for example, are not required to test steel to ensure that it can be welded without cracking or that it can withstand a hurricane or earthquake when used in a building.

Our steel is safe.
A few years ago, California tried to save some money by buying Chinese steel for a new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The design featured steel anchor rods, which would allow the bridge to roll along with the ground in the event of an earthquake — a real possibility based on the bridge’s proximity to two major fault lines. But a seismic test revealed that 32 of these rods had to be replaced because of their inferior quality. Additionally, welds in the Chinese steel had cracked and 750 panels required repair work. The imported steel simply was not safe. In the end, the bridge span was completed 10 years late and $5 billion over budget.

And of course this bridge is just one example of how steel source impacts safety; buildings made of inferior imported steel might lack structural integrity — jeopardizing the safety of all who use them. You get what you pay for — and paying for quality assurance is worth it when you’re building structures that millions of Americans rely on.

Quality is just one of the many reasons to choose American metal. If your job requires sourcing steel or steel products, be sure they’re American-made.