sheet metal with puncture holes

How to Choose The Right Sheet Metal

Choosing the correct sheet metal for your manufactured product can be confusing. Here are some things to look for.

Choosing the correct sheet metal for your manufactured product can be confusing. Here are some things to look for when considering four of the most common types of sheet metal in the industry.

4 Major Types of Steel Sheet Metal & Their Uses

When choosing the correct Carbon Steel sheet metal (also known as “Mild Steel) for your manufactured parts, there are several different types to pick from and a few basic questions that need to be answered before choosing the correct material:
1. Will your parts be cut on a laser, plasma or punched?
2. Will your parts be painted?
3. Will your finished parts be an indoor or outdoor part?
The answers to all of these questions are factors in choosing the right type of sheet metal for your project. Different sheet metals can be used in unique ways, and some are better for certain types of products than others. It’s important to know what you might require before deciding on one kind. Below are some of the common steel sheet metals used at Metaltech Products, Inc. for fabricated products:


What is Galvannealed Sheet Metal?

Galvannealed sheet is a carbon steel sheet coated with zinc on both sides using a continuous hot dip process. The zinc coating is harder than a regular galvanized coating and is more resistant to scratching and manufacturing damage. However, the harder coating of Galvannealed sheet is susceptible to powdering if the sheet is severely formed during fabrication.

When to Use Galvannealed Sheet

alvannealed sheet can be used when the part being manufactured will be painted and require additional corrosion resistance. Galvannealed sheets can be laser cut, punched, and formed with excellent results. The surface finish, adhesion, and paint quality often turns out the best with galvannealed material.

Galvannealed sheet metal is specifically designed to be used in the painted condition. When painted with properly selected primers and or paints, the combined paint/galvannealed coating offers excellent resistance to peeling and/or blistering. The corrosion resistance of the paint used is also improved with Galvannealed sheet (compared to conventional galvanized sheet).


What are Hot Rolled Sheets?

Hot rolled sheets are produced at elevated temperatures on rolling mills and generate a material that is resistant to work hardening. They also exhibit reduced levels of deformation from residual stress. Material rolled in the hot rolled condition can require more extensive leveling practices, such as temper passing or stretcher leveling downstream to eliminate coil memory. In addition, hot-rolling may leave surface imperfections such as scale or pits which require additional finishing for a smooth surface.

When to Utilize Hot Rolled Steel

Use hot rolled steel (HRS) when cost is more important than surface finish. Hot rolled sheet metal should be punched instead of cut on the laser, as the mill scale affects the quality of the cut. Hot rolled sheet can be formed easily; but, if painted, any mill scale or pits will show through the paint, resulting in a rough finish.


The Difference Between HRPO and Hot Rolled Sheets

Hot Rolled Pickled and Oiled Sheet is composed of the same material as the Hot Roll Sheet above, but it goes through an additional process before it is uncoiled(,) flattened(,) and sheared to specific lengths. The Hot Roll material in HRPO sheet metal is uncoiled and  run through a pickling chemical bath that removes all the oxides from the surfaces. Then, it is oiled to prevent rusting and recoiling.

When is HRPO Used?

Use hot rolled pickled and oiled sheet metal for a product that will be painted but used primarily indoors. HRPO sheet is also used as a cost(-)saving alternative to Galvannealed sheet. HRPO sheet can be laser cut, punched, and formed with excellent results. The painted surface is typically very good with HRPO.


Use cold rolled sheet (CRS) to get better material strength with a good surface finish. Parts made from cold rolled sheet must be painted or otherwise protected immediately to prevent surface rust. Cold rolled sheet metal can be laser cut, punched, and formed with excellent results similarly to the HRPO sheet mentioned above. The surface finish of painted parts is usually very good with CRS.

When to Utilize Cold Rolled Sheets

These four different types of sheet metal are only a few of the materials used at Metaltech Products Inc. For more information about selecting or processing carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, copper, and aluminum, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone at: (417) 426-5577, or email us at: [email protected]. You can also contact us online at

For further reading, we also recommend checking out the O’Neal Metals web page on metal types for even more sheet metal descriptions and information.

Get a Quote

Start cutting away at your custom fabrication needs. Request a quote from us today describing your next project.