Meet The Material: Corrugated Sheet Metal

Posted by: on December 21st, 2011 | 46 Comments
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Corrugated Sheet Metal Ceiling

Corrugated metal is a material uniquely reminiscent of early twentieth century rural Americana. Even today, if you venture into the countryside, you might catch a glimpse of a chicken coop, barn or outhouse with an old corrugated tin roof. Shortly after corrugated galvanized iron was invented by British architect/engineer Henry Palmer in the 1820s, it quickly became a common building material used in many parts of the developing world. Its utility and durability continues to stand the test of time.


What is corrugated sheet metal? Corrugated sheet metal, often referred to as roofing tin, metal or steel roofing and a variety of other names, is produced by a roll forming process of pulling sheets of galvanized (zinc-coated) metal or aluminum through rolling dies that create rippling patterns in the sheets of metal. Originally made from wrought iron, you can now find corrugated metal sheets in stainless steel, aluminum, copper and a variety of different metals to suit your particular needs.

What are some of the cool properties of corrugated metal? Well, for one, corrugated metal just looks cool. It can appear equally rustic, industrial, or even kitschy. Corrugation gives tin roofing a “very high strength-to-weight ratio,” producing a versatile, lightweight, easily portable, corrosion-resistant, low-cost building material — perfect for “prefabricated structures and improvisation by semi-skilled workers” and DIYers.

How is corrugated sheet metal used? Once used primarily for roofing and siding, corrugated metal has become increasingly popular for its architectural and design appeal.

What can you use corrugated metal for? If you’re contemplating a little urban farming, corrugated metal will make a great roof for your hen house. And if you are looking for material inspiration for your next project, take a look at a few of the interesting things we found folks doing with corrugated metal.

 

Raised Bed Planter made from corrugated metal

Our new Flickr friend doublewinky used corrugated metal to build raised beds for her tomatoes. We think she made a great choice. (Thanks for letting us share your picture, Sara.)

 

Headboard crafted from corrugated aluminum

Check out this crafty corrugated tin headboard, designed and built by the dynamic husband and wife team behind kara paslay designs. 

Painted corrugated patio walls

You can completely transform the look of your outdoor living space with a few sheets of corrugated metal and a little Behr paint. You’ll want to apply a primer made especially for galvanized metal first.  Jen shares more photos and details of this patio intervention on her blog, Made By Girl.

Corrugated tin applied to bath walls

Simple building materials can make a bold design statement.

Bonus fact! The very first corrugated sheets were made made of tin-plated wrought iron, which soon after was replaced by zinc-coated steel. “Tin roofing” remains to this day the most common term used for corrugated sheet metal [via builder bill]. And it’s just as well — because I’m not sure if Cat on a Hot Wrought Iron Roof would have had the same ring.

Corrugated sheet metal is available in-store at select Home Depot locations. If you are looking for corrugated sheet metal for one of your DIY projects check with your local The Home Depot store.

Meet the Material is a series designed to introduce you to some of the everyday goods sold at The Home Depot. Is there a material you’d like to know more about? Just let us know in the comments!

 

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  1. Isabel says:

    How do you prepare the metal before painting? In the article says she used Behr paint but they don’t give more details…

  2. I have a client who wants to side his new home in corrugated uncoated steel and allow it to rust. My question is how long can he expect the siding and roof to remain on the building before it rusts away and require re-siding?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Decades? In salty air near an ocean a bit less. In a dry desert environment, more.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  3. Connie says:

    Would Home Depot cut the metal for you?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Connie, we carry corrugated sheet metal in some stores, not others. And the capacity to cut it for you would also depend on which store you’re in. Best call ahead to be sure the store can offer what you need.

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

  4. Rick says:

    can’t find this material at any home depot.

    would like to buy some, esp. if it’s the shiny type.

  5. [...] the stainless steel look without the stainless steel price and is easier to care for, too. Sheet metal comes in several designs and rust [...]

  6. Linda Blake says:

    I would like to know the size and cost of this corrugated sheet metal to use as a ceiling inside a barn.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Linda,

      The price and selection of corrugated sheet metal varies in different parts of the country. Some stores– in urban areas, for instance– might not sell a lot of it. Other stores might see a demand for a lot of it. So I can’t really quote you a price. Besides, that photo isn’t from a Home Depot project, so I’m not sure exactly what type or thickness of corrugated metal that is.

      Please visit or call your local Home Depot store. An associate there can help you find the right product for what you’re planning.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  7. [...] cave-approved decor. (This isn’t the first time we’ve written here on the Apron about using corrugated metal as a wall treatment, by the way. And we answer questions about how to install corrugated metal walls on our online [...]

  8. A.D. Self says:

    Is there something you can buy to simulate a rusty effect on new tin?

    • Craig Allen says:

      That’s an interesting question, A.D. Self.

      I’ve posted your question over on our How-To Community Forums for our DIY experts to tackle.

      Just click here and scroll down a bit.

      Thanks for your question.

      –Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. Al Hartt says:

    Thinking of putting corrugated panels on walls and/or ceiling. Familiar with installing on roof and know how to cut, but looking for a good way to install electrical boxes (outlet and light) on wall (new construction) and have it look good.

    Have seen a few ideas on net, but want expert opinion. Can you offer anything please?

    • Craig Allen says:

      That’s a great question, Al.

      I opened up a thread on our How-To Forums a while back for questions about using corrugated sheet metal for interior decorating. I posted your question on that thread.

      Just click on over, and you’ll see what advice our DIY experts have for you. If you have any follow up questions, you’ll need to create a login name and password for the Forums, but it’s free and easy to do.

      We’d love to hear how your project goes.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  10. I think the sheet metal works in some of the those pictures, in particular I like first shot of the kitchen with a sheet metal roof. However, the headboard and the toilet just look wrong. The toilet looks like an old fashioned outside toilet, I would want it in my bathroom. Sorry to disagree with you Daniel G.

  11. arslonga says:

    Great! More Home Depot b*******. Show a product they DON”T CARRY!
    So where do you buy this stuff?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Sorry about that, arslonga. Home Depot no longer carries corrugated metal online. It’s available at select stores. Give your nearest Home Depot store a call, and if it doesn’t have corrugated sheet metal in stock, the folks there will be happy to help you find the nearest Home Depot that does.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  12. Frank Flint says:

    Were can I find the corrugated Copper sheets mentioned in the top of this article. You can find small sheets I am looking for some at least 3-4 ft tall.

    Any help would be appreciated

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Frank.

      The availability of copper sheet metal is going to be a fairly local thing. Try calling your nearest Home Depot store to see if it has that in stock. If it’s not available there, the associates there might have some ideas about where you can find it in your town.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  13. Ned MacDonald says:

    I want to make an exterior garden fence using corrugated, metal siding that will rust. Where can I purchase metal siding that will rust!

    Thanks

  14. Beach Bungalow says:

    Hi,

    I’m thinking of using corrugated panels as siding on portions of my beach house. Wondering how it would hold up in the salt air…???

    Thanks!

  15. [...] Home Depot As I get older I find that I feel nostalic for the things I had in my youth (do I sound 80?).  When it comes to using corrugated metal in interior design, I say less is more.  This is obviously an industrial look that could take over a room.  I find that it works better when surrounded by wood.    [...]

  16. Cam D. says:

    I have been using corrugated metals for my box garden. I decided to use these materials after I had a few read and searches. But what amazes me in this post is the use of the metals for headboards. Wow it’s really sophisticated and unique. But I wonder if the edges are really safe coz you know we tend to move a lot in the bedroom.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Cam D.

      I hear what you’re saying about the sharp edges on the corrugated metal headboard. I took a look at the original article about that headboard at kara paslay designs. A reader asked about the sharp edges. Kara’s response is, ” As far as it being sharp, it’s no too bad. I mean unless you are trying to cut yourself, it should be fine! :)

      I think if it were me, I’d design the headboard to have a frame of some sort around the metal– maybe unfinished wood in keeping with the rustic look of the metal. I’m not sure there is an easy (or attractive?) way to dull the edges of the metal.

      If you’re interested in pursuing the idea, though, I invite you to post a question in our online How-To Community Forums.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  17. Daniel G. says:

    Certainly the roofing architecture looks pretty cool. I have used corrugated metal in a small pet house in my back yard and garden box. But I amazed to see that these materials looking so stunning in bathroom walls. They add a kind of life to the space as the light reflects and bounces back from them.

  18. [...] Meet the Material – Corrugated Sheet Metal [...]

  19. Love these! We have lots of left over corrugated metal siding from our house renovation. I’m definitely putting those planters on our project list.

  20. WINDY says:

    WOULD LOVE TO LINE THE INSIDE OF A SHOWER/BATHTUB AREA WITH TIN. HOW CAN THIS BE DONE SUCCESSFULLY?

    • Craig Allen says:

      That’s a good question, WINDY. Is it possible to line a shower with corrugated metal?

      I took your question over to our online How-To Community Forums for some expert advice. Home Depot associate SteelToes says it’s possible, but not easy.

      “Is it feasible?

      Yes but it would require, just like the question, some outside of the box thinking.

      For example, he would need to find a creative way to adapt plumbing fixtures to the corrugated walls. I’m thinking of welding a piece of galvanized sheet metal to the fixture area(s) would probably work, aesthetically and structurally.”

      But he points out some issues you might have with waterproofing and termination of the metal at the floor. Check out his answer to you in Forums to read about it… and ask follow up questions, if you plan to tackle this project. SteelToes and all the other DIY experts on the Forums will be thrilled to help you think through this project.

      Thanks for your question, WINDY. I hope you’ll check out our Forums.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  21. Cam D. says:

    These metal sheets are great substitute for the old thin sheets which I had been using for my raised beds. This is fresh in the market so I’m sure this can cost me quite a bit but reading about options like corrugated metal sheets made from aluminum or copper, I think the new sheets are worth the purchase.

  22. [...] just come across an interesting article from Home Depot’s blog, The Apron. It gives increasingly awesome ideas for using corrugated [...]

  23. Sarah Jones says:

    Hey Home Depot Experts!

    My husband and I would like to side our garden shed with corrugated metal. The product we found at our HD is listed as a roofing piece. Is it possible to use it as a siding? If so, any special considerations?

    We love the look of the metal, but will probably combine the siding with a (new) traditional roof; I’d like a sky light in my shed :)

    Thanks a bunch,

    Sarah and Adam

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Sarah.

      Your plan for your shed sounds pretty cool.

      I posted your question over on our online Community Forums for our DIY experts to ponder.

      Home Depot associate Newf came up with a pretty detailed response:

      First, using metal roofing material as siding is a perfectly acceptable practice.

      The common galvanized corrugated metal roofing panels and also aluminum panels do need some special considerations for this shed application though. Often the shed will have pressure treated lumber, especially near the ground. The older copper arsenate lumber used until about 2004 is not an issue, but the newer stuff with its much more concentrated copper becomes corrosive to metal panels. The easiest fix is to use either plastic sheeting or 30# roofing felt between the panels and treated lumber to act as a buffer. This is actually a good idea even where there is no pressure treated wood. It keeps moisture away from the back side of the panels. Also, stainless steel fasteners should be used rather than galvanized nails or screws. All fasteners need to either have rubber sealing washers under the head or be sealed with caulk as they are installed to keep rain out.

      If the corrugated ribs are run vertically, make sure to flash the tops and bottoms to keep insects from making a home under the ribs. Horizontal runs will butt up against corners and can be simply caulked. Use a non-acid cure caulk to prevent reaction with the metal. GE Silicone II is an example.

      I assume that the shed already has wall sheathing of some sort. If you are taking the wall down to bare studs you will want at least 1/2″ plywood sheathing to support the panels.

      Last but not least is painting. If you use galvanized sheet metal and want to paint it you will need to use a primer that can tenaciously adhere to the zinc coating. Many oil based primers will work well but one easy to use water based primer I’ve personally had success with would be Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3. Paint will stick to the primer but will not directly stick to galvanized metal.

      Last, I would keep the metal paneling at least 6″ off ground level if at all possible.

      So there you go. I imagine you might have more questions about this project… so please feel free to post them on the Home Depot Community Forums.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  24. Rebekka Pinnon says:

    Was wanting to use sheet metal in my basement to cover the ceiling. Do I need to do anything special to it or just hang it directly to the floor runners? Also should I put insulation up first and cover with plastic or not worry about that? We are putting a spare room down there and I want it to be comfortable but was a little concerned about noise reduction.

    • Jae Warren says:

      Sheet metal is a great choice for covering your basement ceiling and will give the room a really unique look. You won’t need any thing special for this project – just a drill, self-tapping sheet metal screws, a good pair of gloves and some protective eyewear. However, since sheet metal is typically sold in 2′X’8 sheets, you will probably need someone to help you hold the sheets up while you’re screwing it in place. Also, cutting sheet metal can be a bit tricky and you will need a pair of tinner snips (big scissors for cutting tin) for that.

      Insulating before you install the ceiling before is definitely a good idea. Batts and rolls are available in widths suited to standard spacing of wall studs, and attic or floor joists and can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit. The insulation also provide some much needed noise reduction.

      Lastly, if you’re considering overhead lighting or a ceiling fan you should consult a qualified electrician about running the wiring you’ll need before you put up your new ceiling.

      Good luck with your project. Let us know how it turns out.

      Jae @ The Home Depot

  25. Lee says:

    Hi,

    I am having a very hard time finding corrugated metal sheets in Boston area.
    So far, I’ve found a place where they stock them but it is almost 2hrs away. sigh
    Home Depot does not carry nor would they special order for me.
    They won’t let you order on line either. Very frustrating.
    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Jae Warren says:

      Dear Lee,

      Thank you for reading The Apron. You’re welcomed to vent anytime – and sorry none of our stores in your area stock corrugated metal.

      Jae

  26. Kurt G says:

    I can’t seem to find this at any of my local (Chicago area) Home Depots. Can it be special ordered?

    • Craig Allen says:

      You can order it online. Talk to the associates at your local Home Depot about special ordering it. They’ll be glad to help you get what you need.

      Craig, from The Home Depot

  27. y kinkade says:

    I am thinking of doing some walls in the family room with corrugated sheet metal. 2 questions:
    Does it cut easily for electrical plugs and etc?
    and
    does it come in a dull fiish versus the shiny finish?

    • Craig Allen says:

      I consulted the Home Depot experts by posting this question on our online Forums. Home Depot associate PatInPaint came through with a terrific answer:

      Thanks for forwarding Y Kinkade’s question!

      SteelToes and I consulted and we agree … the idea of creating textures inside your home using building materials normally used outside is fabulous!

      First question: Does it cut easily … for an electrical outlet?

      Like most DIY projects, using the tools designed for the job will always make the job easier. In this case, Y will want to use either a manual or electric sheet metal shear.

      Begin by locating the electrical box. Mark the location of the opening on the metal and use a metal drill bit to “pilot” a hole along one side or at the corner. Then use your sheet metal shear to open the hole.

      SAFETY NOTE: Sheet metal edges and openings are very sharp and can cut you severely. Wear durable leather work gloves throughout this project to help prevent personal injury.

      Second Question: Is there a way to dull the shiny finish?

      Absolutely Y!

      Phosphoric Etch is commonly available at The Paint Pit (the paint desk at your local store) and is used to dull the finish on metal in preparation for painting.

      SteelToes used acid on a commercial site to dull the finish on corrugated metal which added an aged “Red Barn” look to the metal.

      Removing the protective galvanized zinc coating will allow the metal to continue to age, but indoors it should age much more slowly than it would if it were outside. Spots that are frequently hand-touched will likely age and darken more rapidly.

      SAFETY NOTE: Wear eye protection, chemical gloves and protective clothing to prevent acid burns.

      So Y’s answers are yes and yes … once again the right tools, handled safely, are the key to simplifying the task!

      PRODUCTION NOTE: A logical binder to hold these panels together would be self-drilling sheet metal screws.

      When I can assist you again, please ask,

      –PatInPaint

  28. Kay says:

    So if you’re wanting to build a raised garden bed, how would you go about cutting it? Can Home Depot cut it when bought? Or is there a special tool?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Kay, I took your question over to our Community Forums for an answer from our experts. Here’s what Home Depot associate SteelToes had to say:

      My first choice would be same as Pat’s –electric metal shears.

      Circular saw with metal blade would certainly work but it would not leave as clean of the cut as metal shears would.
      However, if our customer prefers to use his circular saw I would at least recommend using metal cut off blades. These blades are thinner than standard blades and leave fewer burrs behind.

      Another (Tom’s-HD116 suggestion) better alternative in combination with circular saw is to use tiko carbide blade(s).
      Exclusive to Home Depot Diablo makes one called STEEL DEMON and it can be seen in action HERE;

      Regardless of tool used cut sections will be left with sharp edges.

      Depending on the location and use of these panels it may be a good idea to go back with small grinder and grinding wheel and dull the edges prior to installation.

      Hope this helps,

      George