Those Who Build the Buildings

Those Who Build the Buildings

Things To Consider When Buying Steel For Your Next Project Or Job

Ashley Hart

Steel fabrication requires you to have the material necessary to create the items you need, and finding a steel distributor that can supply that material is vital. Steel is a commonly used metal, so there are many places to buy pieces for your projects, but the amount you need and the condition of the material you want to use can impact where you purchase it. 

New Steel

In many cases, large quantities of steel or large pieces of material mean finding a steel distributor that deals in new material and can get any size, shape, or type of steel you need for the job. If you need a large amount of material, you can order it from the distributor and have it delivered to the job site in many cases, but if you are only buying a small quantity, you may need to provide a truck and trailer to haul it on. 

Steel distributors may require some lead time for large steel orders, so if you know you will need a substantial amount of material, order it as early as possible. Calling ahead can help reduce delays in the job and having to put work on hold because you are waiting for material to arrive.

Specialty steel and alloys can also take longer to get in large quantities, so talk to the local steel distributor about lead times for anything you need that they do not have in the yard. Most common steel products are available daily, but smaller dealers may sometimes have smaller amounts of material on hand and may have to order even mild steel for you. 

Used Or Recycled Steel

In some cases, used or recycled steel products can be a great alternative to new steel. The steel distributor may have some recycled material in the yard that is the same type and quality that you need for your job. The steel may need cleaning before you use it, but recycled steel can save you a significant amount of money if it is solid and the structural integrity has not been compromised. 

Used steel is not appropriate for every job, but it could be worth considering if you can use it for your project, and the steel distributor has plenty. Recycled steel can come from many places—the way it was used or the history of the metal is not always clear, but measuring the thickness, looking over the material for rust or rot, and avoiding material that is distorted or bent badly can often get you good used steel that will last for many years.

While a new steel distributor may not have used steel available, most scrap yards and metal recyclers will hold onto materials in good shape because they can make more profit selling the material to contractors or fabricators than they will get selling it for scrap.


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