PICT0311 1 - What’s the Difference Between Hot Rolled and Cold Rolled Steel?
Steel Buildings

What’s the Difference Between Hot Rolled and Cold Rolled Steel?

When approaching a material for the first time, it’s common for many of us not to know everything about it. Steel is a very versatile metal, and can be used in several different ways, but what are the difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel.

www.cyclonebuildings.com has stated that there often be a lot of confusion in which approach is best for a project but knowing the differences between the two can help save money and produce the durability and aesthetics to support any project, regardless of how complicated it is.

To understand the difference between the two, we first must understand how each process is carried out.

Hot Rolled

As the name would suggest, the use of hot rolling is a process that sees metal reach temperatures over 1700°F. This ensures that the metal can be rolled into a series of different shapes and sizes because of the recrystallization temperature.

The use of hot rolled metal can be cheaper than that of cold rolled steel simply due to process used. There are very rarely pauses when it comes to the manufacturing process, meaning that reheating the materials isn’t needed.

Using hot rolled metal will mean that as the metal cools, it will shrink a little, which can mean that there may be less control of the design of the finished product when compared to the cold rolled approach.

There are limitations in place as the process uses means that there less textures available, and there will be less preciseness in relation to the finished dimensions of hot rolled steel.

cropped cemex - What’s the Difference Between Hot Rolled and Cold Rolled Steel?

The Uses of Hot Rolled Steel

The use of hot rolled steel is often used in welding and construction industries and is probably most recognised for making train tracks. This approach will often be adopted where preciseness of the material isn’t detrimental to the project.

The use of hot rolled steel will incur last cost than that of cold rolled steel due to the shorter manufacturing process.

Hot rolled steel is very strong, but due to the process used, it’s not as strong as some of the cold rolled options. This isn’t to say that there is less value in hot rolled steel, but it’s important to ensure that the approach you take is suitable for the project being carried out.

Cold Rolled

It’s a common misconception that the cold rolling of steel means that there is a difference in the way it is produced. Although there are some differences, the cold rolled process is like that of the hot rolled options in that certain temperatures have to be reached to allow for the metal to be versatile.

Cold rolling will allow the cooling of materials at room temperature. This allows for a more precise finish as well as more versatility in relation to surfaces and consistency.

The term ‘cold rolled’ can be used to identify several finishing processes, but really only applies to the steel that undergoes compression between rollers. Other cold finishing processes can include turning, grinding and polishing.

All of the processes are designed to improve the overall aesthetics, and because of the time involved, will generally cost more than hot rolled steel.

However, the versatility of cold steel rolling means that it can be adapted to environments easily and is ideal for businesses that are open to the public. The price of the cold rolled steel can depend on how much is needed and what it’s being used for.

Dealing with the right professional when looking for steel will ensure that you can decide on the best solution and whether there’s a requirement for more than one approach to be used.

The Uses of Cold Rolled Steel

As the use of cold rolled steel offers more versatility than that of hot-rolled options, it will often be used in situations where attention to detail is required, such as the following:

  • More polished surfaces
  • Uniformity and straightness.
  • Bar tops that require exact dimensions.

Due to manufacturing used for cold rolled steel, it can be more resilient than the hot rolled approaches. However, these benefits can also cause problems if stress isn’t relieved when cutting or grinding.

Warping of cold rolled steel can be commonplace when stress isn’t removed, meaning cost could be incurred if not approached in the right way.

Which Method is Best for Me?

Regardless of what material is used in construction, there will always be a series of pros and cons to consider. As such, this can mean that each project will have its own series of factors to consider.

If you’re looking for something offers sturdy support but you’re fine with less-than-perfect finishes, the hot-rolled steel can be the ideal approach. If you’re looking to ensure that there are a range of finishes and more attention-to-detail, then cold rolled steel will be the better choice.

As no two projects are the same, many will often find that different segments of the project will require different solutions, this ensures that there is a perfect balance of practicality and affordability.




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