The Best Surface Treatments for Steel

Steel is an incredibly head-wearing, versatile substance, and treating its surface can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Treating steel surfaces can enhance appearance and performance.

Exposure to Weather and Chemicals
Steel is one of the most popular materials used in construction, although steel production in the UK is not the thriving industry it once was. For an update on recent events in the British steel sector, see this report in The Guardian.

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A steel surface can be at the mercy of weather or chemicals that can eventually lead to corrosion. There are many types of corrosion, including galvanic, pitting and crevice varieties. When uniform corrosion occurs, the entire surface can be compromised. Oxygen can oxidise and corrode steel, so any steel construction exposed to air can eventually be affected. Add water, and you have a potent recipe for rust.

Greater Protection
Primers applied to steel can help to prevent corrosion. Zinc phosphate can be painted on to steel to provide effective protection, and this type of primer has been used on everything from steel in buildings to the outer surfaces of ships.

With a power coating, special powdered chemicals can be applied to steel to form a layer that protects against corrosion. This type of protection can also be a safeguard against scratching and damage from UV rays. Hot dipping, or galvanising, is another way of giving steel a protective layer. This is popular for steel piping. Zinc spray can also give good results – the original surface is roughened, then the zinc spray is applied to give a solidly bonded, smooth coating.

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Surface treatments can greatly extend the life and usefulness of steel that is exposed to the elements. If you want to find out more about specific treatments and the options available, it would be a good idea to contact a reputable supplier in the field such as and request more advice and guidance.

Choosing the right treatment is very important, and this starts with looking at the steel and what kind of corrosive materials it will be exposed to. The location of the steel will have a bearing on the severity of the corrosion it could suffer, so some initial research and evaluation will be essential before embarking on a protective treatment which will prolong the life and boost the efficacy of your steel.

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