Galvanised Steel is steel that has had protective coatings of zinc oxide applied to it to prevent rusting. This process is usually performed by dipping the steel into molten zinc which, when cooled, permanently bonds the zinc to the steel. This further increases the usefulness of steel which has shown to be highly resistant to strong winds and pest damage – however is usually susceptible to rust and corrosion from moisture damage. Therefore, galvanised steel provides a range of benefits as it carries the structural performance of steel while also giving significantly boosted protection against the elements. The following are just 10 of the various advantages using galvanised steel can provide:
1. Lowest first-cost
Typically, in construction, a large first investment is associated with savings down the road – a high first-cost but a low lifetime or maintenance cost. However, with galvanised steel you can benefit from a low first-cost and a low maintenance cost as it is cheaper to purchase galvanised steel from a manufacturer. This is because labour intensive protective methods such as painting are far more expensive than factory operations like galvanizing. Additionally, steel parts that are painted with protective coatings typically won’t achieve the same results or be accompanied by the same warranty as galvanised components.
2. Low maintenance costs
As already mentioned, two common cost considerations in construction are first- and lifetime costs. Even in rare instances where galvanising may have a higher first-cost than other methods, it will almost always provide the lowest lifetime or maintenance costs of any protective method. This is due to the lack of maintenance required due to the strong bond between the zinc and steel which is a significant cost reduction especially to buildings in remote locations.
Steel is a highly recyclable material – one of the most recycled products on the planet in fact – and so if sustainability is a key concern then galvanised steel is a perfect choice for building material. Due to the recyclability of steel, not only is the steel being acquired likely to in part already have been recycled, but it can again be recycled when the building has provided its use. Also, the zinc coating process minimizes waste by using the same molten zinc bath to coat many steel components. Another sustainable feature of galvanised steel is that the lowered requirement for replacement or repair means that over the life of the product less resources need to be used.
4. Fast construction times
As soon as galvanised steel components reach the site they are ready for use. The components won’t require any further treatment or preparation resulting in minimal time lost on-site, and the structure will be ready for use as soon as it is erected.
5. Ease of inspection
Because of the nature of the galvanisation process, galvanised steel can be inspected by eye without using destructive thickness testing. There is no need for concern with what is beneath the coating because it is strongly and tightly bonded to the steel itself.
6. Reliable protection
Due to the unique metallurgic structure of galvanised steel it boasts an incredibly tough protective coating which will resist damage during transport and erection. Additionally, the zinc covering provides excellent cover from oxygen and water which can react with the iron in steel to cause rust – if the rust did manage to form, it would damage the zinc layer first, protecting the steel itself.
Thanks to the factory methods used to construct galvanised steel, all parts are pre-engineered to certain specifications and the method of coating is consistent and uniform, meaning you can rest easy that the product’s performance will conform to production standards.
8. Long life
Due to the strong bond formed between the steel and the zinc layer, galvanised steel can survive up to 50 years in typical rural environments and will generally last upwards of 25 years in more severe urban or coastal environments. This is due to the aforementioned protection from water and oxygen which would react with the iron content in steel parts.
9. Total protection
Because the molten zinc heats and bonds with the steel structurally, there are no gaps in the protection of the coating. Every recess and corner is uniformly coated during the dipping process and as such provides a level of uniform protection no coating method performed after construction can match.
10. Ease of maintenance
Cleaning galvanised steel is important as it can react with elements in the environment, but it is also easy. Simply cleaning galvanised steel once a year with alkaline water if it’s exposed to metals or weather elements can significantly increase the longevity of the components.
Steel is an incredibly robust and sturdy material, however due to its iron content its biggest threat is moisture and oxygen. Therefore, it is important to ensure that steel is properly protected before being used in construction by using a protective coating method. It is important to note that galvanisation is not always possible as some components may be too large or small, making the process impossible, however the advantages of galvanisation whenever it is possible really speak for themselves.