Steel Hollow Section: Uses and Applications

Posted: 24 Nov 22

Here at Steel Products Direct (SPD) we offer three main types of hollow section, these include Square Hollow Section (Box Section, SHS, Hollow Square, Square Tube) Rectangular Hollow Section (RHS, Box Section) and Circular Hollow Section (CHS, Tube, Mild Steel Tube). We also offer a wide range of ERW Precision Hollow Sections.

All our Hollow Sections can be used in a wide range of applications depending on your project, which hollow section works best for you depends on how it’s being applied.

1. Square Hollow Section

SHS is a hollow structural section with 4 equal sides. It has a flat surface, encompassing the outer rim. Our SHS is available in a range of sizes varying in thickness, widths, and lengths. We try to offer the highest range of stock to ensure we have the sizes that our customers need and have access to 120,000 tonnes in the UK.

SHS can be used in a wide range of applications including construction, manufacturing, structures, frames, furniture, transport, security grills and general fabrication.

Common applications for our SHS include staircase railings, structural support for buildings, in conjunction to when joining is required and in other supply chain manufacturing processes. However, it can also be used for less common reasons such as for display and leisure uses.

Have a look at the image above to see our box section used in the catering industry. We supplied our SHS (along with other products) to create this wine rack design for an industrial type of look. The image on the right shows our SHS being used to create the displays and seating area for this stylish and industrial look.

Due to its 4 equal sides, this gives the steel a symmetrical appearance to create a clean, stylish look for this project.

SHS gives greater flexibility in use and higher strength to weight ratios. Bigger buildings may be constructed with less material due to its improved strength, helping to decrease the amount of waste.

Our SHS can be supplied as either cold formed material or hot finished.

2. Rectangular Hollow Section

RHS is a hollow structure with two equal sides across and anther two equal sides across. It has a flat surface, just like SHS and has a clean line which makes is perfect for use in architectural material. It is often a cheaper material as opposed to SHS and it easy to bend.

Our RHS come in a range of sizes varying in thickness, widths, and lengths. We try to offer the highest range of stock to ensure we have the sizes that our customers need. RHS can be used in a wide range of applications including construction, automobiles, industrial equipment solar panel frames, home appliances, restaurant furniture / décor and agricultural equipment.

Have a look at this image of this large-scale project which we supplied our RHS for.

Due to RHS incredible durability and its ability to withstand large amount of pressure, this makes it perfect for use in constructional projects as well as a wide range of manufacturing projects.

3. Circular Hollow Section

Circular Hollow Section (also known as CHS, Round Sections, Tube Sections, Circular Mild Steel Hollow, Hollow Round and Tube Sections) is a common type of steel section that is fully round and hollow. At SPD, we offer CHS in a wide range of diameters to suit your projects needs.

CHS can be used in a wide range of applications including industrial applications, transport projects and architectural jobs. CHS is a ductile material as it is made from mild steel which makes it able to bend easy, creating a form or shape to suit the project and be welded.

Have a look at this image taken by one of our happy customers. Within this job we supplied CHS along with a range of other products to create this handrail for a safer step over space in the warehouse.

CHS has clean lines and lacks any protruding edges, which makes it useful for withstanding environmental effects, such as weather conditions, dust or dirt. We can also supply Galvanised Nominal Bore tubes which are corrosion resistant due to their Galv finish and perfect for external handrailing applications. As well as looking good aesthetically, mild steel tube is strong, durable, and reliable. 

All our circular hollow section is supplied cold formed, but we can supply hot finished hollows on request. 

Hot Rolled vs Cold Rolled

All our Hollow Sections can be hot rolled or cold rolled depending on request.

Hot rolled steel involves rolling the steel in a temperature of up to 926 degrees Celsius and then rolled through a mill to take its shape depending on the required size and shape. It is easier to make, shape and form and is commonly used when precise shapes are not essential. Hot rolled sections have a scaly surface with slightly rounded edges.

Cold rolled steel is first heated, then cooled down and rolled again. This makes a more accurate shape in the steel and is often used if the steel shape needs to be precise, consistent, or straight. It has a wider range of surface finish than hot rolled and has a smooth and shinier surface with sharp edges.

For more details, contact our friendly team on +44 (0)20 4511 5540 or alternatively drop us an email at