What Type Of Metal Do I Need?

When new customers call or arrive at a Metal Supermarkets store, they often don’t know what type of metal they need for their project. Or they may think they need one type of metal like steel, but they actually need a different type like aluminum. There may be confusion in terminology or the customer may not know the difference between steel and aluminum. That’s not a big deal, though. Part of the service Metal Supermarkets provides is helping customers identify the size and type of metal they do need. Of course, we are not engineers and cannot provide detailed advice on more complex applications – but we know and are willing to help on a multitude of basic questions.

To find out what their customers need, store employees put on their detective hats and ask a series of questions that will help them understand what type of metal they need to buy. Metal is the most versatile building material, and there are many choices of types, sizes and grades when building with metal. But the first decision customers need to make usually boils down to what type of metal is needed – such as aluminum, copper or steel.


More than 3 billion pounds of aluminum is used annually in U.S. construction. Aluminum is remarkable for the metal’s low density and for its ability to resist corrosion. Structural components made from aluminum and its alloys are vital to the aerospace industry and are important in other areas of transportation and structural materials.


Copper is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity, and is the most widely used in the production of tube and pipe. Pure copper is soft and malleable; a freshly exposed surface has a reddish-orange color. It is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, a building material, and a constituent of various metal alloys. Due to its conductivity, corrosion resistance, and ductility this material has a wide range of applications, including automotive, engineering, architecture, plumbing air conditioning and refrigeration.


Steel is considered a universal building product because of its strength, versatility, durability, and economic value. Used widely in the construction of roads, railways, other infrastructure, appliances, and buildings, most large modern structures, such as stadiums and skyscrapers, bridges, and airports, are supported by a steel skeleton. Steel is also used in a variety of other construction materials, such as bolts, nails, and screws.

Not sure what type of metal you need? Use our easy-to-navigate, interactive guide to help you determine the best metal to meet your requirements. At Metal Supermarkets, we carry hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, brass and more. Our interactive guide provides you with the necessary information on available grades, shapes and sizes as well as their mechanical properties.

Metal Supermarkets

Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with over 125 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985.

At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, tool steel, alloy steel, brass, bronze and copper.

We stock a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets, plates and more. And we can cut metal to your exact specifications.

Visit one of our 125+ locations across North America today.

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