Steel is used in an overwhelming number of items worldwide. This alloy is usually made of a combination of iron, tin and carbon and holds up well to a variety of factors, including pressure and heat. Like most metals, steel can become oxidized and deteriorate over time, which is why there are a number of ways to protect it from corrosion.
Paint functions as a simple barrier between iron and surrounding oxygen to keep these two elements from touching and causing oxidization. Some paints are better at this than others. High-quality paints have a high zinc content or are made of polyurethane. These paints are able to stand up against harsh conditions as well as resist scratching and fading. Paint coatings usually last from three to 10 years depending on the quality and how much abrasion the steel is faced with.
Epoxy is a kind of resin that can be applied similarly to paint. The chemical structure is different, however, which usually results in the epoxy coating resembling a thick glaze rather than a colorful coating. It is extremely durable and almost impossible to remove once applied. Epoxies are best used in environments when resistance to chemicals is essential. These coatings typically last ten years or more.
Galvanization is a process by which steel is dunked in a chemical compound to create a chemical barrier along the outside of the steel. Hot dip galvanizing equipment can be expensive, but the payoff is most often worth it, offering protection for up to fifty years in many environments.
Steel has become one of the most-used materials for construction because of its low corrosion rates. A protective coating can multiply steel’s already formidable lifespan, saving money and time. Choosing the right protection for your unique application isn’t hard once you have a timeframe and budget in mind.