Prevent Rust on Steel

We’ve been a national coating specialist for a number of years now, and still facilities managers from around the country cannot seem to figure out how to prevent rust from building up on their steel structures.

Fortunately, during this week’s article, we’re going to discuss rust in greater detail, and look to provide you with some useful tips and actionable advice that you can use to prevent your steel structures becoming riddled with rust particles.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and learn how to prevent rust on steel.

What Is Rust & How Is It Formed?

So then, what is rust? It’s an iron oxide.

Rust appears when there is a reaction between oxygen and water or air moisture. This is why a lot of commercial buildings with structured steel have rust patches appear. The best way to prepare these types of buildings is to apply a commercial grade steel coating.

If left untreated for long periods of time, the rust can begin to eat away at the steel materials, and as a result the beam or structure can disintegrate rather quickly. A build up of rust can sometimes be referred to as corrosion.

For buildings with large steel sheets – cut edge corrosion treatments are heavily advised.

Here’s How You Prevent Rust:

There’s no need to panic f you notice areas of your building showing signs of corrosion or rusting. There are a number of commercial grade rust treatments available that can be used to manage and prevent any long-term damage.

However, its important to note that when rust does begin to set in, the metallic iron beneath metal sheeting can continue to corrode without a suitable protective spray coating.

These are some of the most common rust treatments and preventative applications that can be used by professional contractors and facilities team members:

  • Galvanization
  • Cathodic Protection
  • Protective Coatings and Spraying
  • Bluing
  • Electrolysis Removal Treatment

We’re going to discuss of a few of our preferred treatments that you can apply to your buildings.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanization Treatments:

Galvanization is a form of rust treatment used for a lot of commercial buildings that use metal sheeting and structural components. Either hot dipping or electroplating using Zinc completes the application.

The Zinc used tends to be favoured as it adheres to the steel easily and provides a cathodic protection (something that we’ll cover later in this article).

If you use a galvanizing treatment, it protects the underlying metal sheeting by corroding itself first. However, it is only a temporary protection, as the galvanized coating will wear down over time.

Buildings that are built using metal sheets and structural steel will benefit from aluminium galvanized coatings as they can provide protection for up to 85 years when applied correctly.

Here’s a summary of the benefits of galvanized rust treatments:

  • Great for day to day buildings
  • Protection can last for up to 85 years with aluminium coatings
  • Galvanized coatings corrode first before the underlying metals

Cathodic Protection:

Cathodic protection isn’t a preventative measure typically used on day-to-day structural buildings, as its main purpose is to protect structures that have been immersed. Good examples of immersed structures include:

  • Metal building foundations
  • Large ships and boats
  • Steel beams within concrete
  • Submerged pipelines

Cathodic protection uses a sacrificial anode to provide an electrical pulse with the aim to be long-term corrosion protection. The metal of the structure is connected to the anode, allowing the anode to become more vulnerable to corrosion.

Spray Coatings and Painting Techniques:

Now this is more our area, and protective spray coating for structures is something that we’ve become exceptionally good at. Spray coatings are best used for everyday buildings such as stores, warehouses and storage facilities.

The coatings that we provide leave a protective layer on the metal, allowing them to rust at a far slower rate, meaning that preventative maintenance and repairs are completed on a less regular basis.

Powder coatings are also used to help protect some metals and structures.

The dry powder paint coating is typically applied to a clean, rust free surface. The powder that was previously applied is then heat treated so it quickly becomes a thin layer of film.

The protective films that remain are typically between 25 and 125 micrometres.

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