Any time that steel is exposed to water and air for prolonged periods of time, it will begin to rust. Rust is the process of iron oxide forming on the outside surface of steel or any other metal. In a nutshell, it is the process of corrosion and it can absolutely wreak havoc on steel. Thankfully, there are many steps that you can take to prevent steel from rusting. In this article, we will walk you through a long list of preventative measures you can easily take to protect the integrity of your steel and keep it from rusting. Please continue reading below for further information.
10 Tips to Prevent Steel From Rusting
1. Keep The Steel Dry – One of the most obvious and most important steps you can take to prevent your steel from rusting is to keep it as dry as possible. Once moisture accumulates on the surface of steel the water molecules combine with air to form iron oxide, the orange color corrosion that we all know as rust. With steel, you should keep it out of the rain as much as possible. It is also wise to towel it off if it has become wet from the rain. The drier the steel is the less rust it will have over the long term. Sheds Gympie can help you figure out ways to keep your steel shed dry and protected.
2. Try to Prevent The Steel From Being Scratched – Any time steel is scratched or is cracked, it opens up spaces where water can pool and accumulate. The scratch or cracked surface will then put the iron within the steel into direct contact with water and air, which in turn will cause rust to occur almost immediately. It should be noted that some types of steel are far less resistant to rust than others, so it is important to build your shed with hot rolled steel varieties.
3. Use Rust Proofing – If your shed is built with steel components, you should rust proof these parts. You can buy aerosol cans that contain protective spray that when it coats steel, it will keep it rust free for months or even years into the future. The rust proofing solution typically keeps the steel surface completely sealed so that water and air cannot come into contact with it. Once it is sealed from the elements, it stays very well protected. It is widely thought that you can extend the life of steel parts for decades by regularly rust proofing it.
4. Stainless Steel is Better – Any time you use steel for anything, whether it be as shed materials or in a carport structure, it is always a good idea to use stainless steel. Stainless steel contains chromium, a compound that is far more rust resistant than iron. Chromium oxidizes very quickly and eventually forms a layer of protection known as chromium oxide. This protective layer seals the top layer of iron within the steel, thus protecting it from being exposed to air.
5. Galvanized Steel is More Rust Resistant – Galvanized steel is iron that has been coated with liquid zinc. Once zinc has coated steel, it prevents oxygen from coming into contact with the iron surface. The coating also keeps water away as well, preserving the steel much longer than if it were raw steel. Zinc works strangely with oxygen. Once oxidized by air, zinc builds a strong and rust resistant material. If you build a shed and are not able to get access to stainless steel building materials, then at the very least attempt to construct it with galvanized steel components.
6. Scrub Off Any Rust – Sadly, some rust developing on your steel shed components is inevitable. Worry not, however, as you can scrub it off. What you do is mix warm water with strong soap and a metal conditioner that will keep the metal from further oxidizing. Scrub the rust off with steel wool, then wash and dry it thoroughly. Once the rust is gone, consider placing a sealant on the rust spot. This will protect it from developing further rust and help preserve it well into the future.
7. Use a Powder Coating – People often treat their steel building parts with a powder coating. There are special acrylic, nylon, epoxy, polyester, and other substances that can be powered on to steel then high heated. Once they are heated, they will completely seal the metal, preventing any further oxidation from occurring.
8. Keep Your Steel Shed Clean – Any time dirt, grime, or grease sticks to steel, it traps small amounts of water against the steel’s surface. If left in place long enough, the dirt will cause your steel to rust. Upon washing the dirt away, you will notice rust spots underneath the dirt. If you own a steel shed, for example, then be sure to keep it as clean as you can. This is an important step towards keeping your steel shed or anything else made from steel corrosion free. When cleaning dirt or grime from your steel shed, be sure to use a cleaning formula that is safe for metal. Some cleaners are not metal safe and can cause it to rust.
9. Try Bluing – Bluing is a highly specialized metal preserving technique that works great. It involves dipping any steel building parts into a solution that consists of sodium hydroxide, water, and potassium nitrate. This sealant process can protect your steel for many decades into the future, as bluing is quite resilient to losing its protective attributes once it is applied.
10. Use an Organic Coating – One of the most cost-effective ways of preserving steel is by using an organic coating. These cheap and oil-based formulas typically require a 15-25 mm thick coating to be applied. Once the organic compound dries, it will protect your steel for many years. Organic coatings are typically used to treat steel that will be regularly exposed to lots of fresh water or even ocean salt water.