How to Buy Carbon Steel

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When you need carbon steel for construction, fabrication, or for any other purpose, it is important to know how to get what you want. This means finding a supplier who is capable of providing you with the category of steel that you require. Further, you want to make sure that your exact needs are met.


One of the first things that you need to know is that there are several categories of carbon steel. This includes low, medium, and high. Low carbon steel may also be referred to as mild steel. The carbon content and manganese content will vary within each of the categories.

The strength of the steel increases from low to high. This means that as it becomes stronger, it is difficult to weld, form, and cut.

This means that even before you can even start shopping for a supplier, you have to decide on the category of carbon steel that will best suit your needs. Until you know the category, it will be impossible to find an adequate supplier.


Once you know more about the category of steel that you want, it will be time to start shopping for a supplier. You will want to find out what categories are kept in stock as well as what kinds of treatments are used on the steel. Often, steel will go through a heat treatment in order to harden and temper the material.

A supplier should be able to provide you with stock sizes as well as custom sizes. This will make it easier to get exactly what you need. If they don't have what you need in stock, they should be willing to provide you with customization. This can also save you a significant amount of time on the job site. If you have to do a significant amount of cutting and welding on-site, it can cut down on the amount of work that gets done in terms of building or fabricating. It might also require you to have additional equipment, thus increasing the costs.

You need to take the time to ask questions of a carbon steel supplier so that you know what you are able to get. This includes talking about quantity, quality, as well as costs.

Other things you need to discuss with the supplier is the turnaround time once you order until the steel is delivered to the worksite. Not all suppliers will deliver. You may be required to pick up the steel on-site, which means that you need to have the truck capacity as well as a driver who is able to leave your current worksite in order to visit the steel supplier.

By taking the time to determine what you need, it will be easier to find a supplier who is capable of giving you the quality you are looking for. From there, you can spend some time asking questions between several suppliers before you make your purchase.

Author: Jeff Weigang Published: 2018-03-05