Galvanized steel has been used for years thanks to its superb ability to resist rust and affordability. For the uninitiated, galvanization is the process of applying zinc coating to a metal to prevent rusting.
There are two methods of galvanization – electroplating and hot-dip galvanization. However, hot-dip galvanizing is the most common method, and it involves submerging the metal in a bath of molten zinc.
While the zinc protective layer ensures that the metal doesn’t rust, rust can eventually set in when the zinc coating wears out. That explains why using paint as a protective coating to galvanize steel helps increase the longevity of the products.
This article explores vital information you should know about galvanized steel and rust.
What Causes Galvanized Steel to Rust?
There are different factors that rust galvanized steel. These include:
- Acids including acidic foods and drinks
- Wet environment
- Strong alkali
- Plasters and cement containing chloride and sulfates
How Long Does it Take Before it Rust?
It can take a brand new steel product up to over 70 years to rust depending on how you maintain and care for the product. Wet environments are one of the biggest enemies of Galvanized steel when it comes to corrosion.
Take galvanized steel products designed for outdoor use, such as garden planters and animal feeders, for example. They are normally made of hot-dipped galvanized steel (HDG). This ensures the products can withstand various conditions and environments, and you can expect them to last for at least 70 years.
It’s worth noting that the level of rust or corrosion resistance depends largely on the thickness of the zinc coating. A product with a thicker coating will normally last longer than the one with a thinner coating.
Besides wet environments, other environments where galvanized steel products are prone to rust include:
- Industrial environments, which include most urban settings
- Areas with temperatures below freezing point
Temperate marine, suburban, and rural environments are normally less corrosive to galvanized steel.
How Do You Remove Rust from Galvanized Steel?
There are several ways to remove rust from galvanized steel products. Here are some simple ways anyone can implement:
- A clean rug with a liquid detergent can be used to remove chunks of rust from small items. You may need a hose to wash off the rust from larger items.
- A wire brush can do a great job in scraping off large areas of rust. You can then use a hand brush to clean off the rust
Once you’ve removed the rust, consider painting the product with cold galvanizing spray. This restores the product to its original state. Give it at least 3 layers of paint and allow it to dry completely.
Why Settle for Galvanized Steel?
There may be a number of factors that affect the type of material you use with the budget being the biggest factor. Many people prefer galvanized steel over other materials because it is budget-friendly. Aside from the price, galvanized steel requires little to no maintenance.
Its self-healing properties equally make it the most preferred material. Galvanized steel comes ready for use making it the easiest option for many people. Besides, you won’t be able to find another coating that offers total protection like galvanized steel.
Galvanized steel ranks among the best corrosion resistant materials for exterior use. While it may not be the most durable product, it is still the most common material used all over the world. Galvanized still offers up to 50 years of strong performance when maintained well and up to 25 years in salty environments.
One major benefit of galvanized steel over other materials is that you can choose the amount of zinc to deposit on the surface. Overall, it is the best material to settle with for short-term projects.
Choosing the Best Paint for Galvanized Steel
You may not be able to make the right decision if you do not know the best paint for galvanized steel. Most paint products are made for iron which is raw steel. Normal paint may not be able to stick to galvanized surfaces for long because of the zinc coating.
When shopping for the best paint, you need to look for tough and durable paint made to adhere to non-ferrous metals. Using the wrong paint on galvanized steel products may cause it to react with the galvanizing, which in turn causes it to lose adhesion.
Galvanized steel can resist corrosion in different types of environments impressively. It’s not uncommon for galvanized steel product to last over 70 years under some conditions. If used in well-ventilated and low-moisture environments, galvanized steel can last even longer.