When you’re embarking on your next metalwork project, it’s important to consider which type of steel you will use. Selecting the appropriate type of steel for your project is one of the first steps you should take and will largely determine the success of the final product you create.

When it comes to determining what type of steel to use, typically, the choice is between carbon steel or stainless steel. But what is the difference between carbon and stainless steel? Read on to find out.


Some metalworking jobs require an aesthetic appeal, and as such, it is important to consider the appearance of both carbon and stainless steel. Carbon and stainless steel have a number of different features. Typically, carbon steel appears dull with a matte finish. On the other hand, stainless steel generally appears to be more glossy and can even be as reflective as a mirror. Though both can be sanded and polished to have a bright, shiny appearance, carbon steel requires a clear coat of paint rather quickly after the polishing process to avoid tarnishing and eventual rust. As a result, stainless steels with particular finishes are more often preferred when cosmetic appearance is an essential factor.


It is always a good idea to consider the cost of all materials involved in your project. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that stainless steel will be more expensive than carbon steel. This is due mainly to the fact that stainless steels have additional alloying elements, including chromium and nickel. These additional elements all add up to an increased cost when compared with carbon steels. If you are on a budget, carbon steel could be a better option. However, it is important to understand the properties of both carbon and stainless steel before you make your decision.


It is important to remember that both carbon and stainless steel both come in a variety of different types and grades, meaning they can possess different properties. In general, it can be seen that stainless steels can be more ductile than carbon steels because they usually have higher amounts of nickel. Carbon steels with very low amounts of carbon may not match the tensile strengths of some stainless steels due to the alloying elements that many stainless steel grades contain, which increase its strength.

Corrosion resistance

One of the most often discussed differences between carbon steels and stainless steels is their ability to resist corrosion. Both carbon steels and stainless steels contain iron which oxidizes when it’s exposed to the ever-shifting environment, creating rust. Despite this, stainless steel has added chromium, works to make it more corrosion resistant than carbon steels. If corrosion resistance is important for your project, stainless steel is almost always the way to go.

Few materials can compare with the strength, durability and versatility that you get from steel. You can rest assured knowing that steel is the best choice, providing long-term, consistent performance. If you need quality steel that is fabricated to suit your unique needs, contact Steel Fabrication Services today. Our team of expert structural steel fabricators have the experience and knowledge to answer any of your questions and will ensure that you find the best solution to suit your needs. To contact us today, simply call, fax, email or drop by our Brookvale location.