The steel industry helped to shape our great nation. Today, steel continues to surround us and is widely used in the manufacturing of vehicles, appliances and heavy equipment. It is an architectural and construction industry necessity from tiny nails, screws and bolts to mammoth skyscrapers and pipelines.

With steel being such an important part of our economy and the world we live in, it’s important to know some key differences in the types of steel that exist. The term steel refers to iron in which 0.02 to 1.7% carbon has been added. The types of steel vary and there are many different alloys and applications for each type of steel. Steel continues to be a low cost building material and is generally easy to finish with paint or coatings.

Steel is manufactured through the process of rolling. Metals pass through either hot or cold rollers. Steel is often classified by which process it is created from. But which type of steel is right for your application? Let’s compare hot rolled steel and cold rolled steel.

Metal is passed through rollers and it is below its recrystallization temperature.

Cold Rolled Steel vs. Hot Rolled Steel

Cold Rolled Steel

Hot Rolled Steel

Metal is passed through rollers and it is below its recrystallization temperature. Hot Rolling is the process that occurs when the metal higher than its recrystallization temperature.
Cold rolled steel has a smooth finish with square corners. Hot rolled steel has a scaly finish and round corners.
Cold rolled steel often has a greasy finish. Hot rolled steel is generally preferred in the welding and construction industries.
Cold rolled steel is preferred in the machining industries. Hot rolled steel is typically less costly than cold rolled steel.
Cold rolled steel holds tighter tolerances than hot rolled steel. Hot rolled steel is mainly used to produce sheet metal or cross sections.
Cold rolling typically requires a series of shaping operations. These operations may be sizing, roughing, finishing and more.
Cold rolled steel is easier to process but it is typically more expensive than hot rolled steel.