How to Choose the Right Type of Steel for Your Next Project


Steel is one of the most commonly used materials in landscaping and construction. Its popularity largely comes from its versatility and durability, with steel-based construction projects often having longer lifespans and resistance to the elements compared to other materials. In this post, we take a closer look at the different types of steel that exist on the market and explore how you can choose the right type of steel for your next DIY or construction project. 

Types of Steel

There are many different types of steel that you can choose from, with some of the most common ones being:

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is steel that has had carbon mixed into it, with the level of carbon ranging from 0.05% to 2% depending on the intended use of the material. Generally, the higher the carbon content of the steel, the more durable and stronger it is. Low carbon steel with carbon content of less than 0.3% is most commonly used in construction and building projects.

Stainless Steel

As its name suggests, stainless steel is a special alloy of steel that is exceptionally resistant to rust and staining. This is because in addition to various other alloy materials, stainless steel contains chromium, which forms a protective oxide layer on top of the steel to prevent it from rusting. 

Galvanised Steel

Galvanised steel is steel that has been treated with a layer of zinc that helps to protect it from rust and corrosion. The main different between stainless steel and galvanised steel is that galvanised steel might be susceptible to rust if the protective layer is scratched off or otherwise removed. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best materials for outdoor construction or structures.

Considerations for Choosing Steel

When it comes to choosing the steel for your project, there are several factors that you can consider, including:

  • Project Type and Purpose: Start by determining what you need steel for as certain applications may require specific types of steel. For example, outdoor buildings might require you to use galvanised or stainless steel for their resistance to the elements.
  • Strength Requirements: You should also consider the amount of weight that you intend for your steel structure to bear. For heavier-duty applications, consider using steel with greater strength such as high carbon steel.
  • Weldability and Machineability: You will also need to consider how easily you will be able to work with the steel that you get. If you get a steel that is not very weldable, this might make it more troublesome for you to work on projects that require custom designs.

Where to Source Steel?

While you may be able to get steel from most hardware stores, getting your steel from a reputable supplier can have many advantages, including greater peace of mind and affordability. RW Steel is Melbourne’s leading supplier of steel and steel products, including galvanised steel post, retaining wall steel and much more. Contact us today for more information!

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