Metal Terms

Eastern Metal Trading Co., Inc. is a wholesale re-saler of metal products. Some of the metal industry terms that we use on this webpage can be a bit unfamiliar for people who typically buy material retail or by the job. Please see Eastern’s (still growing) glossary of metals terms below. If you’re confused by any of these terms, please don’t be afraid to ask us to clarify.

Welding letter A


Prime material has been certified to meet a certain mill standard.  Since Eastern Metal Trading Co., Inc. is a wholesale re-seller of surplus material, we try to provide mill certifications for all prime material that we receive.  However, because we are often dealing with surplus material, sometimes those mill certifications are unavailable.  Please ask, especially if your use requires mill certifications.


Secondary material is material that has not been certified by a mill. It may have surface scratches, be a different bundle size than originally intended, or have any number of other reasons why the mill did not choose the certify the material. Eastern Metal Trading Co., Inc. is as transparent about material quality as possible, so please ask about any material that we offer.


Surplus material is simply excess or overstock material.  Eastern Metal Trading Co., Inc. is always on the lookout to purchase excess or overstock steel, aluminum, stainless, alloy, and other metal material.


Flatroll is metal that has been formed by rolling between cylindrical rolls.

Hot Rolled

Hot rolled steel is material that has been roll pressed at very high temperatures (pretty straightforward, right?).  Hot rolled steel will typically have scaled surfaces from cooling and shrinking to size.

Cold Rolled

Cold rolled steel is essentially hot rolled steel that has been cooled to room temperature and then re-rolled.  Steel form that is “cold drawn” have been PULLED (not rolled) into exact shapes.  Sometimes cold drawn material is also called cold rolled, even though it has been pulled and not rolled.

Structural Steel / Structural Shapes

Structural material is shapes such as angle, beam, flat bar, round bar, square bar, and hollow structural steel such as square, rectangular, and round tube.


Hollow Structural Steel. Another name for tubes – square, round, and rectangular.


An alloy is metal made by combining two or more metallic elements.


Hot Dipped Galvanized.  Steel that has been coated with zinc by immersion in a bath of molten zinc.


Electrogalvanizing is when a layer of zinc has been bonded to steel by running a current of electricity through a saline/zinc solution with a zinc anode and a steel conductor.


Steel is galvannealed when it is galvanized and then annealed.  Steel that has been galvannealed has a matte gray color.


Galvalume is a 45% zinc and 55% aluminum coating. Also known as Zincalume.

Coating Weight

Coating weight is the thickness of the material coating a product.  When you see a coating weight, then that is a measurement in terms of either ounces per square foot or grams per square meter.  A G60 coating is 60 grams per square meter.

Chemical Treatment

Chemical Treatment is the application of a thin film onto the surface of zinc to inhibit corrosion.  Material may be “chem treat oil,” which is then additionally treated with an oil to prevent rust.   Material might also be called “chem treat dry” to distinguish it from material that is “chem treat oil.”  Material might also simply be “dry” or “oiled” without ever having been chemically treated.


Piling is steel or lumber that is either pounded or drilled into the ground.  Piling supports the foundation of a structure, holds back dirt or water, or clears a site for construction.  Piling comes in several different forms.  Z, U, and Pan/Flat piling have an interlock system to create a wall.  Flat piling is often used in the construction of cofferdams, and is often favored in river, lake, and coastal construction projects.  H Beams/H Pile is often used in railroad, oilfield, and bridge applications.


A waler is wood, concrete, or beam used for support in order to maintain a form under stress.


Cwt. stands for centum weight, or what we typically call “hundred weight.”  The most common unit of pricing on Eastern’s materials is Cwt., or per hundred pounds.


FOB stands for “freight on board.”  When Eastern offers material “FOB,” we’re offering to load the material onto your truck where it sits.  Eastern can also provide you with a “delivered price,” wherein we a) provide you with the freight rate to transport material or b) include that freight rate in a new price.

Truckload Quantity

As far as Eastern Metal Trading is concerned, a truckload is 40,000 – 48,000 pounds of material.  Sometimes that quantity can’t be reached because of size constraints, but for the most part this is what Eastern means by Truckload Quantity.