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What should I consider when puchasing from a Houston steel company?

Published by Max Reichenthal on August 21, 2015


Looking for steel products and not exactly sure what type you need? This guide will help you make the right decisions when purchasing Houston steel. All you need to know is what the material will be used for and the size requirements.

There are two types of steel: hot-rolled and cold-finished versions. Hot-rolled steel (also called mild steel) is the bread-and-butter steel product for many industries since it is more pliable (ductile) than cold-finished drawn products.

When choosing materials for a job, it’s important to know the different types of steel available, how they are used and the advantages of including them in construction or industrial projects. 

Cold-Finished versus Hot-Rolled

The initial thing to remember is that the terms “hot-rolled” and “cold-finished” do not refer to any strengths or grades, but merely the procedure used to create the bar product at the mill.

1. Hot-Rolled Steel

 A process at temperatures over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit is used to create hot-rolled steel. Houston steel products that have been processed in this manner have blue-gray finishes that feel rough to touch.

Hot-rolled steel is pliable and softer than cold-finished steel. Hot-rolled steel products have light grey, rough finishes and round edges (in square and flat bars), and hot-rolled products are typically over-sized. This makes hot-rolled steel an excellent choice for the manufacturing of steel components such as simple cross-sections or I-beams, such as rail tracks. They are also used to produce sheet metals.

2. Cold-Finished Steel

 A rolling process at temperatures close to normal room temperature is used to create cold-finished steel. This increases the strength of finished products through the use of strain-hardening as much as 20 percent. The cold process produces finished products that are more precise in dimension than their hot-rolled counterparts. This is because they are already closer to the finished dimensions since they have already gone through the cooling process.

Unfortunately, due to the outlined properties, cold-finished steel is limited to few shapes such as flat, square, round and variations of those types of shapes. Other shapes can be rolled if cross-sections are uniform, and the traverse dimensions are small. A series of operations used in shaping (including finishing, roughing, semi-finishing, semi-roughing, breakdown and sizing) are required in creating cold-rolled shapes.

Finished products created by the cold-rolled steel process include sheets, rods, strips and bars that are usually smaller than the same products produced through hot rolled processes. These small products are much more tolerant as compared to hot-rolled versions.
Cold-rolled steel strips and sheets are available in a couple of different conditions including skin, quarter-hard, half-hard and full-hard rolled. Cold-rolled steel is as also more expensive than the hot-rolled variety. Cold-finished steel products typically have smooth, somewhat shiny finishes with square edges (in square and flat bars), and their sizes are more precise.
Guidelines Hot-rolled steel bars are commonly used in the construction and welding trades where the projects under construction do not require tight tolerances and super-precise shapes.
Cold-finished steel bars are preferred in the machining world where the quality of steel is a major factor affecting the quality of final products, and where the appearance of the finished steel product is also a crucial factor.


Updated by Max Reichenthal on September 9, 2015


Finding the right supplier is key as you look for steel in Houston. First, you want to be certain that the materials you buy come from reliable sources. This can make a huge difference in the quality of your final project.

Also, pay attention to how long your supplier has been in business. Don’t fall victim to shady fly-by-night outfits that are only out to make a quick buck. Take care not to get entangled in black market operations. Instead, find an established company you can trust.

Customer service is also a key factor. No matter how good the product is, no matter how affordable it is, if it’s a hassle placing your orders, getting your questions answered, or following up after delivery, you may come to regret your purchase. Although price is always a consideration, so is the overall service experience.

Finally, you want a company that provides an adequate inventory. Don’t just think about the materials you’re looking for today. Go with a company you can work with for years to come. When a Houston steel company carries a wide array of steel products you know you can turn to them time and again in the future.


Updated by Max Reichenthal on November 30th, 2015


As you plan for your next big steel purchase for your project, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you have a smooth and successful purchasing experience with your chosen Houston steel supplier. Building with steel offers a bounty of possibilities thanks to its durability and versatility, making it a premier choice for structural applications. But here’s what you need to know before purchasing:


  • Structural Requirements.  Contact the local building authority to discuss any licensing requirements and ensure that your project also meets the structural requirements necessary given the projects location, size, and primary function.


  • Finalize Your Design.  Once you’ve been given the green light with the building authority, it’s time to decide on your design and determine the size and type of steel and/or steel tubing you’ll be using for the project. Knowing your different design options will help you make the best, most cost-efficient purchasing decisions. 


  • Choosing Complimentary Components.  Your steel project will likely center on massive steel i-beams and other structural components, but don’t forget about other, smaller components that’ll be needed to complete the project. Choosing a reliable and robust supplier is key to secure access to the materials you’ll need. This will both speed up your completion date and get you better wholesale prices.

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