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The Difference between Steel Sheet & Steel Plate


Time to Read: 2m 42s

Steel sheet and plate are often paired together when steel sheet and steel plate are actually different products. Understanding the fundamental difference between sheet and plate can help determine which type is best suited for your needs.

What is Steel Sheet Metal?

Steel sheet metal can be defined as metal thicker than foil but thinner than plate thickness. The gauge or thickness determines the designation of when metal foil becomes metal sheet and when metal sheet becomes metal plate. Thus, minimum sheet metal thickness is between 0.5mm maximum thickness is 6mm to be considered sheet metal. 
  • Metal Foil Thickness: up to 0.2mm
  • Metal Plate Thickness: 6mm+
Steel sheet metal can be perforated, corrugated, or flat and raised expanded.

Steel sheet and plateWhat is Steel Plate Metal?

Steel plate metal can be defined as a sheet of metal 6mm or thicker. Steel plate is measured in inches whereas sheet metal is measured in gauges. Steel plate can be segmented into low, medium, and high carbon steel plates. Higher carbon content increases the strength and hardness. Common uses for steel plate include:
  • Structural applications
  • Machinery
  • Bridges
  • Reinforcing columns

Steel Sheet Metal Processing Methods

Steel sheet metal processing options include hot-rolled or cold-rolled sheet metal.
  • Hot-Rolled Sheet Metal: cost-effective. The hot-rolling process increases the steel’s toughness and ductility. Hot-rolled steel is ideal for extrusions, forgings, and bending applications.
    • Hot-rolled steel is used for pipes and tubing, construction, vehicle frames, and applications where tight tolerances are not required.
  • Cold-Rolled Sheet Metal: yield strength is higher than hot-rolled steel. It is ideal for applications that require accurate dimensions and increased strength.
    • With its smooth finished surface, it is ideal for applications including structural parts, metal furniture, or small appliances. 

How to Choose Steel Metal Thickness

Regardless of your fabrication needs, the importance of choosing the right metal gauge for your application cannot be overlooked. Choosing a gauge that is thicker and more resistant to fabrication can adversely affect your projects. Gauge is used to measure sheet metal thickness. A smaller gauge number reflects a thicker sheet metal. Common gauge numbers for steel range from 7 through 28.

Common Sheet and Plate Materials

Additional material types for sheet metal and plate metal include:

Find the Right Steel Sheet or Steel Plate Products for Your Project

Get the hot-rolled or cold-rolled steel sheet and plate you need from Industrial Metal Supply. We have an extensive selection of steel sheet and plate in a variety of widths and lengths, with custom cut sheet and plate options available.

Stop by one of our locations and check out our steel sheet and plate products today.