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Steel Coatings: What’s the difference?

Written by:
Connie Green
We explore the most common finishes for steel and the pros and cons of each.
Untreated steel sections

Untreated - This refers to steel that has had nothing applied to it. Untreated steel is usually used when it is being enclosed within a building, usually buried in concrete, meaning it won't be open to the elements. Untreated steel is usually the cheapest option as there are no additional processes to go through, you are purchasing it as is.

Painted/Primed - This is how our steels here at Neil's Steels are supplied as standard with no extra charge. Layers of paint are applied to the steel, creating protection against oxidation and corrosion. Painted/primed beams will usually be used when encased within a building or if indoors but still exposed. 

Galvanised - An extremely effective way to protect from corrosion, the steel is dipped into a vat of liquid Zinc to completely coat it. Galvanised steel can last up to 25 years before beginning to show signs of rust. This is a great option when the steel will be exposed to the elements eg. railings or gates. However, as this is a heat treatment, it can warp the shape in some cases such as sheets of steel.

Powder Coating - Often used to create a near perfect finish, powder coating is for steels in which colour and aesthetic is of high importance. Powdered paint is sprayed onto the steel to completely coat it before being baked in a curing oven to create a hard finish. Powder coating does provide a level of protection against corrosion such as rust, however, due to possible chipping, this can leave the steel exposed to varying weather conditions.

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