Important Differences Between Cold Vs Hot-Rolled Steel

May 19, 2021 in Blog / Rolled Steel
cold vs hot rolled steel

Choosing between cold vs hot-rolled steel is essential to achieving the best results during a project. But, not everybody knows everything that they should in order to make this decision. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Let’s take a look at everything you should keep in mind.

What Is Hot-Rolled Steel?

This type of steel is created through a process that involves a substantial amount of heat. To be more specific, the steel is rolled at a temperature that is above its recrystallization threshold.

In most circumstances, the temperatures that are used exceed 1000°F. This allows the steel to become far more malleable than it would otherwise be, something that manufacturers take advantage of when shaping the metal. When the process concludes, the steel is cooled at room temperature. Through this type of cooling, manufacturers can avoid many of the issues that typically arise from faster cooling methods like quenching.

What Is Cold-Rolled Steel?

As the name suggests, cold-rolled steel is formed at a far lower temperature than hot-rolled steel. But, the temperature at which this type of steel is pressed is at room temperature as opposed to something colder.

Since manufacturers don’t work with excessively high temperatures, there’s plenty of flexibility when it comes to shaping the metal. To elaborate, manufacturers are able to create highly precise shapes. But, they also tend to be limited when it comes to their choice of shape.

What Advantages Do They Have?

There are advantages to either type of steel that you need to keep in mind. Making the wrong decision could cause numerous complications during your project. Let’s explore everything that you should know.

Hot-Rolled Steel

Despite requiring extreme temperatures, hot-rolled steel is easier to manipulate. In fact, the entire process is relatively simple — all you need to do is heat the steel up, shape it, and cool it.

Price is also an important factor to consider when comparing the two types of processes. For those unaware, making hot-rolled steel is significantly cheaper, allowing you to keep a much tighter budget. As previously mentioned, hot-rolled steel is also cooled at room temperature. The complications that you avoid will prevent you from incurring unexpected costs in the form of material damage.

Cold-Rolled Steel

Perhaps the most significant advantage of using cold-rolled steel is the capability to form highly accurate shapes. This type of process is also renowned for how consistent and straight the results are. Due to the temperature at which that this type of steel is formed, you also have a much wider range of finishes that you can use for its surface. This allows you to achieve a smooth, shiny appearance that is more aesthetically pleasing than hot-rolled steel.

For this reason, cold-rolled steel is the preferred option when appearance is one of the most important attributes. This is especially useful for projects that require steel with highly defined edges and corners. In fact, cold-rolled steel is notably efficient at creating bars that are uniformly square.

What Types of Projects Are They Most Appropriate For?

Each process is better suited toward particular types of projects. But, is not always easy to tell which method your project should use. As you might guess, choosing the wrong one could create significant obstacles down the road. Let’s explore the information that you need to know.

Hot-Rolled Steel

Since hot-rolled steel is not as structurally precise as cold-rolled steel, it’s better suited for projects that don’t require highly precise shapes. The same can be said about structural tolerance. For this reason, hot-rolled steel is ideal for products like sheet metal, heavy equipment (like you would find in the agriculture industry), and railroad tracks.

This type of steel is also ideal for creating I-beams. Additionally, hot-rolled steel can be used for projects that require unique or unconventional shapes. In general, this type of steel is preferred for projects that require a large amount of material.

Cold-Rolled Steel

It should come as no surprise that cold-rolled steel is perfect for creating pieces that are highly straight or uniform. These include strips, bars, and rods. But, cold-rolled steel also comes with plenty of other utility. Projects centered around roof and wall systems or appliances make liberal use of cold-rolled steel. It’s also used in the creation of aerospace structural components.

So, Which One Is Best for Me?

It can often be overwhelming when it comes to making the right decision for your project. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to help you figure out the answer.

If your project requires large components that don’t need to be a precise shape, hot-rolled steel is likely the best option. In contrast, projects that require durable, smaller pieces will benefit from the use of cold-rolled steel.

If you’re still having trouble figuring out which is ideal, consider getting in touch with a professional. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you avoid complications in the future.

Choosing Between Cold vs Hot-Rolled Steel Might Seem Complicated

The above information will ensure that you don’t have any trouble making your decision. From here, you’ll be able to tell if cold vs hot-rolled steel is ideal for your project. Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to reach out to us today and see how we can help.