Structural steel often is the material of choice for modern builders. And when design calls for structural steel, the best choice is usually galvanized steel. Here are five reasons why.
Galvanized steel is strong and reliable.
Hot-dip galvanized steel has the same bend, impact properties, proof strength, and tensile strength of any other structural steel, with one important difference. Galvanized steel does not rust. Cumulative corrosion from rust and weathering can cause structures made with untreated steel to collapse.
History is filled with tragedies involving the corrosion of untreated steel. When a pedestrian walkway at the NASCAR Winston stock car race snapped in half, 107 people were injured, 29 of them in critical condition. When the U.S. Highway 35 bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio suddenly collapsed, 46 people were killed and nine were seriously injured. And when the 3,300-ton, half-mile-long Kinzua Railroad Bridge in north-central Pennsylvania was struck by 80-mile per hour winds in a thunderstorm, most of it fell into the gorge below.
All of these transportation tragedies resulted from corrosion stress. Rust doesn’t just damage steel structures. Rust can kill. Galvanized steel doesn’t rust. Galvanized steel is essential for safe building.
Galvanized steel saves labor hours.
When your structural steel is hot-dipped galvanized, a protective layer of zinc is added to the steel. There is no need to spray or paint other coatings on the steel. There is no need to wait for them to dry. Your project can be built more with fewer labor hours and on a shorter deadline. And galvanized steel is easier to inspect before it goes into your project.
Galvanized steel also saves labor hours after your construction project is in service. There is no need to treat a galvanized steel surface with harsh chemicals to prevent corrosion. Wiping it down a few times a year is enough.
Smart galvanizing confers superior protection across the entire surface of the steel.
Corrosion starts in steel through cracks. All steel, including galvanized steel, can crack. But experienced galvanizing facilities can minimize the problem.
When there are cracks in galvanized steel, the problem often is that the steel was dipped into molten zinc at the wrong angle for the shape of the structure, or it is held in the molten zinc for too long and undergoes thermal stress. An experienced galvanizing facility can anticipate and compensate for their potential problems and give you the superior protection you need.
Galvanized steel can be added to your construction inventory quickly.
The galvanizing process is one-and-done. Other methods of protecting steel from corrosion may require multiple coatings. With galvanized steel you have less lead time and fewer construction and fabrication delays. When you choose galvanized steel, you can introduce more time for contingencies in your construction or fabrication timeline.
Galvanized steel has multiple uses.
There are probably lots of things you didn’t know were galvanized.
Galvanized nuts, bolts, nails, and screws add staying power to all kinds of construction. Casings for precision electronics and communications devices are made with galvanized steel. The lofty towers for power transmission lines are fabricated from galvanized steel, and galvanized steel is a rust-resistant alternative to PVC piping. You will even find galvanized steel on the playground, in play sets and in playground equipment, and most of the structural steel used in making automobiles. And don’t forget about wire rope for bringing ships to port.
Because galvanized steel is almost always recycled steel., galvanization is among the planet’s most environmentally friendly building materials. Up to 90 percent of steel is recycled, more than any other common industrial product.
There’s always a structural solution with steel, No matter what challenges arise in design and construction, steel framing systems can meet them, and nine times out of ten the solution calls for galvanized steel.