Typically, the largest threat to a steel framed building is moisture. Steel and metal buildings are impervious to pest damage, can withstand considerable wind force and snow loads when engineered correctly and are fire resistant as well. However, if not coated and sealed correctly, moisture damage will cause rust and corrosion, which eventually compromises a building's integrity. Thus, protective coatings are essential to enjoying the durability, longevity and low-maintenance benefits for while steel and metal buildings are known.
Advantages of Galvanized Steel Coatings for Metal Buildings
These days, there are multiple options when it comes to protecting your building's structural components from corrosion due to moisture, the elements and/or environmental toxins. Galvanized steel is one of the "originals" and we find it's often the best choice for most steel building construction projects.
Galvanization is a process by which steel is dipped into a bath of hot, molten zinc. Once it cools, the steel and zinc are tightly bonded, creating a protective coating that will last for up to 50-years or more in the right environments and with minimal maintenance required. This makes it one of the most affordable, sustainable and durable options for protecting your steel building from rust and corrosion.
The following are 10 benefits of galvanized steel:
- It has the lowest first-costs. In construction, we often talk about first-time and lifetime costs. Often a big investment at the outset of your project will save a tremendous amount of money over the course of the building's lifetime. In the case galvanized steel, you benefit from low first- and lifetime costs. Most of the time, purchasing galvanized steel products from the manufacturer will be cheaper than any of your other protective coating options, including buying un-finished steel and painting it with protective coatings yourself. The latter process can cost you considerably in terms of labor hours and the results will not be as good, nor will they carry the same warranty protection as galvanized steel components.
- Lowered lifetime costs. You will also be rewarded with lower lifetime costs. As mentioned above, molten zinc forms a strong bond with the metals that comprise fabricated steel, resulting in a very durable finish. This means less maintenance for you down the road, repairing or replacing parts that have weakened or need to be re-coated.
- Sustainability. If you are interested in sustainability, galvanized steel should also be on the top of your list. Steel production uses a considerable amount of pre- and post-consumer recycled products. It is also able to be recycled when your building has served its purpose. The galvanization process uses a molten zinc bath in which the zinc can be used over and over again to coat steel components, with a very minimal amount of waste. Finally, the durability and longevity of your steel building components means less resources will be used to repair and/or replace parts down the road.
- It's easy to clean and maintain. Galvanized materials can react with other metals, salt, acid and chemicals in the environment. Thus, it's a good idea to clean them once a year to increase their longevity. All you need is to spray them down with alkaline water and wipe them with a soft cloth if needed.
- A long lifespan. Galvanized steel can last more than 50 years in rural areas and often surpasses the 20 and 25-year marks in heavily industrialized or coastal environments.
- It's standardized. Pre-engineered and manufactured parts are built to very specific standards. When you purchase galvanized steel, you can be assured the entirety of your building will conform to those standards, meaning your parts' performance and lifespan are predictable.
- Tough protection. Galvanization makes for one of the toughest protective coatings on the market. This metallurgic structure means that your galvanized components will be less susceptible to damage during transport and erection, in addition to their abilities to withstand environmental assaults.
- Uniform protection. When steel is galvanized, the protective coating offers cathodic protection. The metal elements are actually changed at the microscopic level during the galvanizing process, making small exposed areas less susceptible to damage, and they won't need to be touched up as frequently or expediently as exposed areas on components coated with organic materials.
- Easy inspections. We write often about the low-maintenance benefits of steel, and those benefits are real. Even so, your building needs to be inspected bi-annually so any potential issues can be addressed. Galvanized steel coatings are easy to inspect because if they look continuous and sound, they are continuous and sound - and you don't have to worry about what lies beneath.
- Fast construction times. Your galvanized steel parts are ready to be erected the minute they arrive on-site. No need for any type of preparation, treatment or additional coating processes.
Contact Whirlwind to learn more about your galvanized steel options.