Understanding the Difference Between Hot-Rolled and Cold-Rolled Steel

Steel is available in a variety of shapes, sizes, grades, and specifications, enabling its utilization in numerous applications. Each type of steel possesses unique properties, which can be optimized to meet individual requirements.

When discussing the properties of steel materials, the terms “hot-rolled” and “cold-rolled” steel often arise. This article aims to explore the significant disparities between hot and cold-rolled steel, including their respective manufacturing processes.

Why is Steel Rolled?

The terms hot-rolled steel and cold-rolled steel come from the process of producing the steel. Rolling is employed to enhance specific properties of the steel, such as its mechanical characteristics, shape, and uniformity.

The pronounced dissimilarities between hot-rolled steel and cold-rolled steel make them suitable for diverse applications.

Understanding the Difference Between Hot-Rolled and Cold-Rolled Steel

Image Credit: Masteel UK Ltd

Hot-Rolled Steel

Hot rolled steel undergoes roll pressing at extremely high temperatures, often exceeding 926 °C or 1700 °F, surpassing the standard recrystallization temperature of steel. The elevated temperatures enable easier forming and shaping of the steel.

Once the steel is rolled into the desired shape, it is allowed to cool. During the cooling process, the steel undergoes slight shrinkage, resulting in less control over the final product’s shape and size.

Consequently, hot-rolled steel is typically utilized in applications where dimensional tolerances are not critically important, meaning that precise dimensions are not crucial.

Cold-Rolled Steel

Cold-rolled steel follows a similar process as hot-rolled steel, with an additional stage of processing. After the hot-rolled steel has cooled, it undergoes further rolling to achieve specific dimensions, enhanced surface finishes, and improved mechanical properties.  

When steel sheets are rolled, they undergo compression between rollers, which helps to produce a more specific and refined steel product. It is worth noting that although the term ‘cold-rolled’ is used for all products, technically, cold-rolled products are flat-rolled sheets and coil products only.

Various cold-finishing processes, such as turning, grinding, polishing, and drawing, are commonly employed in the manufacture of steel bars or tubes.

Cold and Hot-Rolled Steel with Masteel

Masteel provides a diverse selection of hot-rolled and cold-rolled steels suitable for various applications. Among Masteel’s popular product range are the S500MC and S550MC high-yield steels, as well as certified steel angles.


The S550MC represents hot-rolled, high-yield steel that adheres to the EN10149: Part 2 specification. This steel exhibits exceptional properties for cold forming and finds application in various fields, including cold-rolled sections, steel-framed structures, and structural pipes.

Masteel, a UK-based steel supplier, boasts decades of experience and extensive industry knowledge. Masteel’s commitment to delivering top-notch steel products is matched by its dedication to providing excellent customer service, ensuring its steels meet your specific requirements.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Masteel UK Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Masteel UK Ltd.


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