Although steel is a durable metal, you still need to apply protective finishes to make it stand the test of time. Read on to learn about the different types of protective steel finishes.
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In construction it is still the case that steel is the most popular material used in projects.
It’s no coincidence that apart from the exotic & expensive alloys it is also the strongest. Easy to manipulate, cost effective and hard wearing. Despite all these benefits most steel used in construction will have an additional surface layer finished onto it.
This surface finish can be used as a design element to make it more easy on they eye, but its primary use is protection. Helping to extend the steels lifespan into the long term.
Some times this surface layer can even used to compound and improve existing properties within the steel.
The job of these surface layers and finishes is to protect the material from harsh atmosphere and conditions. Particularly when used outside.
In any case though its important to consider the different coatings and finishes when purchasing steel.
1. Epoxy Coating
Used primarily for industrial applications. Epoxy can be considered a ‘two part’ finish whereby it used both coating and primer. It is designed to protect the steel material from corrosion and oxidation.The ‘catch and release’ system works similar to the process seen in VCI Poly Bags.
The epoxy is hard wearing and will protect against friction, acids & alkalies as well as moisture damage and gasoline products.
2. Hot Dip Galvanizing
When steel is exposed to UV rays or is placed near salt water, Hot Dip is the best protective finish you can get.
During the process the steel is dipped in hot zinc. This forms a durable & thick layer that provides VCI corrosion protection into the long term. The zinc here acts as a sacrificial anode which corrodes itself rather than the steel it is protecting.
3. Powder Coating
This protective finish utilized a powder formula paint manufactured form bespoke resins and pigments. The dry powder are charged electrostatically in order to attract paint particles towards the surface area of the steel. This kind of coating is cost effective and affordable for most projects. It can be applied using different colors and is often used in projects where design and aesthetic value are key drivers.
4. Metal Plating
This uses a chemical bath in order to impart a thin layer of metal or PTFE/Nickel on to the steel. This is an effective process for export packaging improving the metals durability and corrosion resistance. Metal Plating as a surface coating for aesthetics however is not ideal. Often there will be surface defects on the steel itself which cannot be smoothed out.