How Do You Protect Your Steel Building from Rust?
Steel is one of the most durable, flexible and energy efficient building materials on the planet. It might be the perfect building material for you. Think about it – steel buildings can be assembled quickly, are cost-efficient and extremely versatile.
Steel buildings are designed to withstand the elements. Fire, rain, wind, snow and more natural forces will attempt hurt your steel building, but for the most part, your steel building will survive the initial onslaught of these forces of nature with the right protective coatings. You can do your part to fight off the damages from the forces of nature by planning properly and providing easy general maintenance to your building. If you provide the proper maintenance, you can even fight off damage from the sun.
Often, one element tries to give steel a bad name. Yep, we’re referring to rust. Not only does rust look ugly on your building, but it has the potential to damage its structural integrity. If you have a rusty building, your building could fall victim to the negative side of the court of public opinion. If your steel building business looks old and run down, a customer may think your product is poor, even when it isn’t. You learn as a child to not judge a book by its cover, but many still will judge. More importantly, rust can cause structural damage to your building. Think of it this way – Your steel building is an investment. When you look for purchase options, comparing a steel building to a pole barn – you want to get the most out of your money. We all know money is hard to come by and when you invest your hard earned money into something, you want it to last. Rust is doing everything in its power to prevent that from happening.
This isn’t a doom and gloom scenario. I have good news. You have the power to combat rust, even the potential to keep rust from rearing its ugly head.
My first tip; don’t settle for a red primer on your rigid frames and steel components. A red primer is cheap and cheap may appealing to your wallet, but not your eyes and definitely not your brain. The only thing that red primer is going to do for you is hide rust. This may solve the problem of the rust showing to the public, but it doesn’t matter what your building looks like if it collapses. Red oxide primer can actually encourage corrosion. There are many ways to save money on your steel building project, but don’t cut corners by sacrificing in the engineering and design process. Plus, your project manager may have some ways to reduce your final costs.
To protect your building, you want to choose pre-galvanized secondary framing. By coating your roof purlins, wall girts, and C-sections with zinc at the mill, you can prevent rust and ugly rust streaks. Incorporating a galvanized base angle in your building will also protect from rust by completely sealing the base of the building from all leaks. If moisture finds its way into the base of your building and you used red iron steel or a red primer, you could most definitely find your is building a victim of rust. Incorporating a galvanized flange bracing is another act you can take to protect your building from rust.
Just by doing your research puts you in a good position to make an educated decision. The right building supplier should offer structural, paint, roof and wall panel warranties, and galvanize and protect certain and components on your building to help prevent rust from the very beginning of your steel building’s life. Now, “industry standard” isn’t good enough. You have a choice in the matter.
The fear of rust shouldn’t stop you from building with steel, but it should stop you from cutting corners in the design process. You have the power to eliminate rust before it even begins.
Photo courtesy: Shelley Freedman