Does Galvanized Steel Rust? You Will Be Shocked

29 Oct.,2022


Galvanized Steel

It’s no secret that we are huge fans of galvanized steel at South Atlantic. The chemical bond that forms between raw steel and zinc when it is hot-dip galvanized  results in a superpower building material. It can withstand extreme weather and outlast the materials that surround it.

We keep a large inventory of standard and custom galvanized steel products that we hot-dip ourselves adhering to ASTM A123 thickness standards. But many of the builders and project managers who reach out to us for galvanized steel have one thing in mind: rust.

For all its durability, does galvanized steel rust? Let’s look closer at the coating that sets this material apart from the rest.

How Galvanized Steel is Made

Galvanized steel is known for its superior corrosion resistance. But, how far does that resistance go? The answer lies in the science of the material.

Galvanized steel is created by dipping raw steel that has been treated and “pickled” into a large bath of molten zinc. Once this dries, a shiny, hard coating forms.

The resulting protection this process creates is stronger than other coatings. While other coatings sit on top of the steel, the zinc bonds with it and forms an almost new type of material. This bond has a few features that make galvanized steel so special.

The Science of Self-Healing Properties

The bond that forms between the steel and zinc when materials are hot-dip galvanized is self-healing. This means that, when the zinc coating comes into contact with water, it reacts by building up extra protection for itself. This protection increases its rust and corrosion resistance.

This self-healing effect stops corrosion before it has a chance to start. If other coatings suffer scratches, water can get in and start breaking down the steel. One rusty spot can spread and compromise the entire structure quickly.

But with galvanized steel, the coating defends and heals itself. This is how it maintains its integrity and makes it the go-to resource for corrosion-resistant building.

So, Does Galvanized Steel Rust?

It may sound too good to be true, but because of its chemical properties, it is nearly impossible for galvanized steel to rust.

It can, and may if it remains exposed to intense elements in difficult environments for decades. But often, the other materials used in the project need to be repaired well before the galvanized steel materials show signs of rust.

Rust-Resistant and Corrosion-Resistant

Galvanized steel has also been proven to corrode less quickly than steel, even in extreme environments. Corrosion includes anything that breaks down the material, which can happen even if rust is not the primary cause of it. According to the American Galvanizers Association, “zinc corrodes at a rate approximately 1/30 of that for steel.”

Its slower corrosion rate combined with its self-healing properties are what make it a popular choice. They help the projects that use galvanized steel maintain their strength and integrity longer than the other options.

Galvanized Steel Materials Stay Strong Against the Elements

Time and time again, galvanized steel has outlasted the materials surrounding it, remaining like new after decades in use. This is true even when the material is in a highly corrosive environment where salt and moisture are prevalent.

Whether you’re repairing the infrastructure of northern roads or working on a new construction project in the humid south, galvanized steel materials are the best choice for your project.

Your One-Stop Shop for Galvanized Steel

South Atlantic is proud to maintain a large stock of galvanized steel materials, ready to ship straight to you for your next project. These meet both industry standards and our own high quality requirements.

We build our stock by treating and hot-dip galvanizing steel materials ourselves at our facilities. This is the only way we can keep an extensive catalog of both standard and custom materials available for our customers. After 50 years of working with hot-dip galvanizing, we have earned our reputation as experts in the industry.

Call us today to learn more and request a quote to use galvanized materials in your project!