For those looking for a sleek, unique and industrial look for their kitchens, rolled steel countertops could be the way to go. It’s more distinct than stainless and can take on a variety of looks. When choosing between hot and cold rolled steel there are a few differences you should know about before making your decision.

Hot Rolled Steel Countertops

Hot rolled steel is so named because it is rolled above 1,700℉, its recrystallization temperature. This makes it easier to shape and form and create at much larger sizes. It also cuts down on the cost because it doesn’t have to be reheated or tempered, but that also means that it’s more prone to shrinking and distorting as it cools. The temperature it’s rolled at means that the steel comes with a scaly finish, needs to be maintained and is sensitive to temperatures, even a hot pan. In short, hot rolled steel is:

  • Less expensive
  • Scaly in finish
  • Less predictable and precise in shape and corners
  • Needs to be routinely sealed and maintained
  • Good for odd shapes

Kitchen - Countertop

Cold Rolled Steel Countertops

Cold rolled steel is rolled and tempered at room temperature, giving it a more predictable outcome during manufacturing. The tempering process also allows for a variety of finishes. However, this does mean that cold rolled steel is more expensive. It is better for precise lines (and not odd shapes), increased strength and greater thermal resistance. Overall, cold rolled steel is:

  • More expensive
  • Available in multiple finishes
  • Limited in shapes, but precise
  • Less maintained
  • Better for thermal resistance

Brushed metal - Stainless steel

Ultimately your option comes down to three things: budget, shape and maintenance. Go with cold rolled steel if you want to worry less about your countertops and don’t like upkeep, but hot rolled steel is a better choice if you’re limited by budget, don’t mind maintenance and are looking for a unique shape.

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About the Author: is a full-service home remodeling and construction general contractor serving the greater Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego area. Home improvement is hard, and we make it easier for you every step of the way. That starts by understanding your goals, whether it’s making a space more livable, expanding your home, repairing damage, adding room for relatives, or something completely different. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with the project from start to finish.