What is a Steel Panel?

Brenda Scott

Steel is an iron alloy generally made from iron mixed with .2% to 1.5% carbon. In some cases, other metals may be included depending upon the characteristics required for a particular use. Tungsten, cobalt, silicon, copper, manganese, chromium, nickel and molybdenum are other options in steel production. A steel panel, also known as sheet metal, is a flat sheet of steel used as a building or fabrication material.

Steel roofing panels can withstand hail.
Steel roofing panels can withstand hail.

One popular use for a steel panel is in roof construction. Steel roofs are fire-resistant and stand up to hail, wind, ultraviolet rays and other weather better than tile or asphalt roofing materials. It is this characteristic that has prompted many insurance companies to offer reduced premiums on buildings with steel roofs. If a business or individual is looking for a way to cut costs, installing a steel roof can be a viable option. Steel roof panels come in a variety of styles, including some which mimic traditional shingles.

Steel panels have a variety of applications in construction and fabrication.
Steel panels have a variety of applications in construction and fabrication.

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Many people are aware of the maintenance benefits of installing siding on their houses. In addition to freeing the homeowner from the task of exterior painting, siding can help increase the insulation of the home, thereby lowering heating and cooling costs. The most popular siding materials are aluminum, galvanized steel or stainless steel.

Galvanized steel sheets have been coated with zinc, which adds a layer of corrosion-resistance.
Galvanized steel sheets have been coated with zinc, which adds a layer of corrosion-resistance.

Steel panel doors have also become popular for both new construction and for upgrading existing homes. They are much more energy-efficient than traditional wooden doors, but can be designed with wood finishes that make it difficult to distinguish between the two. Fire codes require the use of a fire door leading to an attached garage in homes and in many commercial settings. A steel door can easily meet the 20 to 90 minute burn-through requirements of most fire codes and can be designed to look as decorative as any wooden option.

Steel panel fencing is popular for security, agriculture and commercial purposes. The panels are treated with weather-resistant finishes such as a galvanized dip or polyester coating to eliminate painting and other maintenance. A relatively new construction development is the steel panel foundation. This is ideal for areas with a higher water table where more care must be taken to ensure a water tight foundation. The galvanized steel, which may be painted or asphalt coated for greater moisture resistance, is set into concrete and sealed with a moisture resistance substance.

One building option for the budget-minded organization is steel panel construction. These pre-engineered buildings are used for both small and large projects including storage sheds, churches, schools, gymnasiums, barns, aircraft hangers, retail space and warehouses. Exterior design can be brick, siding or any look required to meet the buyer’s aesthetic needs or local building covenants. Steel panel construction is durable, low-maintenance and generally more economical than frame, brick or other construction styles.

A number of other consumer goods also use steel panel fabrication. Automobiles, boats, trains and aircraft use steel panels. Control panels and panel PCs used in medical facilities and food manufacture are made of easy-to-clean steel. Steel panels are also found in many household appliances.

A quonset hut made with steel panels.
A quonset hut made with steel panels.

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