Hot dip galvanizing protects steel from corrosion, provides longevity and toughness, complete coverage, and is fast, economical, and sustainable. These are all excellent reasons to galvanize steel.
We explore these – and some other – reasons below.
A hot dip galvanized finish gives steel a long life and durability of between 34 and 170 years, depending on the environment. In addition, it creates a maintenance-free finish, which lessens the carbon emissions usually associated with the upkeep of non-galvanized steel.
Hot dip galvanizing costs are lower than other coating applications. According to the Galvanizer’s Association, “Over a 25-year project life, the cost of a ‘cheaper’ paint system is almost 70% more than the cost of galvanizing. Likewise, the cost of a more ‘expensive’ paint system is almost double that of galvanizing.”
Painting steelwork can be highly labour-intensive, whereas the cost of the hot dip galvanizing process is relatively low. There is also very low waste in galvanizing compared to other methods.
Hot dip galvanizing is the most versatile and economical way of protecting steel for long periods. In addition, when a fabrication has been hot dip galvanized, the low maintenance requirements are advantageous when steels are in remote or difficult-to-access areas.
Mick Jackson from Joseph Ash Galvanizing shares his perception: “Imagine a bridge made from non-galvanized steel. It would need maintenance every year to protect it from rust and corrosion. It would also need repainting at regular intervals. This requires paint, a workforce, transport for the workers and a means to protect the land or water below from paint contamination. It’s time-consuming and expensive. This maintenance is unnecessary if the same bridge is made from galvanized steel.”
Steel is protected with a galvanized coating to prevent corrosion. The coating should be applied evenly over all steel parts – inside and out for complete protection. When steel dips into a bath of molten zinc, the entire piece of metal, including the awkward corners, narrow gaps and hollow sections, is covered in a uniform coating of equal thickness. Alternative protective coatings – e.g. paint systems – cannot achieve the same uniformity.
Steel used in transport and construction is stored, moved, and handled. It would be easy to scrape or chip if it didn’t have a protective galvanized coating. During the hot dip galvanizing process, the zinc metallurgically bonds to the steel, becoming part of the structure. As a result, hot dip galvanized steel is far less likely to be affected by potential damage.
Protecting steel with a painted coating takes time when factoring in the double/triple paint layers and drying time. In comparison, the hot dip galvanizing process is rapid. As a result, a completely protective coating can be applied in hours. This also includes preparing the steel for the galvanizing process.
Once steel has been hot dip galvanized, if required, onsite erection can occur immediately without delay, helping reduce construction site times.
The inspection process is straightforward when checking galvanized steel. The thickness of the zinc layer is measured using an electronic probe to ensure it complies with BS EN ISO 1461 – the British Standard for hot dip galvanized coatings.
Once a galvanized structure – such as a house or fencing – reaches its end of life, it can be melted, repurposed, and repeatedly used without losing quality.
The zinc coating can also be reused. For example, zinc and steel are recycled in well-established steel recycling processes. The zinc particulates are returned, without loss of properties, to zinc production plants, where they are incorporated into zinc ingots and reused in the galvanizing process.
In addition, the galvanizing process itself is environmentally friendly. Galvanizing plants are self-contained; steel goes in at one end and the final product comes out at the other. As a result, the emission levels are controlled and the excess waste products can be repurposed.
Now you know the benefits of hot dip galvanizing, book in with a galvanizing company and get your steelwork treated.Next page