Protecting Your Steel Building Against Corrosion

When it comes to construction, steel remains as the most popular material of choice among builders, designers and homeowners alike. Such a popularity can be credited to the exceptional physical and mechanical characteristics that steel exudes such as durability, versatility, sustainability and cost-efficiency, which in turn makes it the most ideal solution for swift construction of economical and safe steel structures.

Despite the exceptional qualities of steel structures, however, frequent exposure to the agents in the environment, especially moisture and oxygen, make them particularly susceptible to corrosion or rust. The corrosion process can be further accelerated if the steel buildings are also exposed to salt. If left unattended, rust will not only make the building look unattractive, it can also compromise the load bearing capabilities of the entire structure to such a degree that its safety is adversely affected.

If you own a steel building, be it a small storage shed or a medium-size warehouse, it is therefore important that you consider corrosion protection as an intervening agent to reduce or prevent the reaction of your steel structure from corrosion. This way, you can maintain the integrity of the entire building and extend its service life. Protecting your steel structure from corrosion can be achieved through the combination of careful inspection, application of protective coating and regular maintenance.

Careful Inspection

The first stage of protecting your steel building against corrosion is to carefully inspect it both inside and out. Check for signs of rusts as well as mildew growth. Also take note of oil residues, marking inks and cutting oils. It will also be wise to test your steel structure for chloride as it is the most corrosive agent to steel and is pointed out as the primary cause of premature deterioration of a steel building's coating. You can purchase a chloride test kit and carry out the test on your own. However, make sure to read and follow the instructions carefully before applying the test as some chemicals used in chloride testing can be hazardous if not handled properly.

Removal of contaminants

Correct surface preparation is necessary to ensure the satisfactory performance of the coatings you will apply later on. Hence, once you have inspected your steel structure, you need to remove all the contaminants that might be affecting your structure. You can remove surface contaminants such as grease and dirt by power washing the building. Then remove rust, mildew and paint residue from past coating by scrubbing the affected areas using a steel brush dipped in abrasives. After which, give the entire structure one last wash and then allow it to dry before applying the coating.

Application of Protective Layer

When the steel structure has all dried up, apply a rust-inhibiting primer or finish to it using a brush, roller or paint sprayer. Allow the coat two dry for at least two hours then apply a base coat or acrylic primer to the entire building following the same procedure you have used in applying the rust-inhibiting primer. Generally, the thicker the coating your apply to the structure, the better it will be protected against corrosion. Hence, the process may involve the application of several layers of coating.

If you want to ensure that the whole steel structure is properly coated, you may choose to hire a professional to apply the protective coating. This is especially recommended if you have a large steel building so that you can be assured that the whole structure is evenly coated and that no area will be left behind.

Regular Maintenance

To ensure the performance of your steel structure for the long term and to avoid corrosion, make sure that you regularly attend to its maintenance needs. This include periodic cleaning and inspection of the building, specifically the vulnerable areas such as roof sheets, gutters and the sheltered portions under the eaves or canopies and upper portions of the roof extensions and walls.

About the author:

The article above was written by one of the regular contributors of Steel Buildings Design, a company specializing in bespoke Steel Buildings in Scotland folks can rely on for all their steel building needs.