Weathering steel is a fantastic resource to use if you work in construction, agriculture or infrastructure creation, especially if you are looking for low-maintenance steel that can use rust to improve its performance. One form of weathering steel is known as Corten steel. It is commonly used in bridges, security and protection, including gates, bollards and fences, and outdoor structures, like playground equipment.

If you work in one of the aforementioned industries, you may feel torn between using galvanized steel and weathering steel. Here are the main reasons why.

What is Weathering Steel?

Essentially, weathering steel is known as atmospheric corrosion-resistant steel, and it is mainly used in the construction industry. It has a nominal tensile yield of 50 ksi and a tensile strength of 70 ksi. This steel is made of low carbon steel, with a weight of less than 0.3% carbon, and alloying elements. It is the alloying elements that increase its strength and durability to maintain its structure during bad weather.

The other main elements found in this steel are:

  • Nickel
  • Chromium
  • Copper

One of the main reasons this type of steel is used is its protective rust properties. Basically, when the steel oxidises due to the pollutants in the air, this causes it to rust. This rust creates an additional, regenerative layer of protection to stop the steel from corroding. Therefore, painting or external treatment is not needed in the future.

What is Corten Steel?

Atmospheric corrosion-resistant steel, also known as Corten steel, is a copper chromium alloy steel that is another form of weathering steel. It is far superior to other unalloyed steels because it has a chemical composition that creates rust to protect it against pollutants.

Corten A is best used for gas flue applications and projects that need an aesthetic appeal, but it should not be used for applications that need to carry heavy loads. If you need a steel for that type of project, you should use Corten B. Corten B will corrode to protect the steel underneath it, therefore it is stronger and more cost-effective.

What are the Advantages of Using Weathering Steel?

There are a variety of industries that can benefit from using weathering steel, including agriculture, infrastructure and construction. Because weathering steel has high durability in outdoor environments, it is great to use in steel structures. It does not need to be constantly repaired. The rust acts as protection to slow down the corrosion rates.

Additional weathering steel benefits can also include:

  • Low maintenance costs
  •  The chance to create a protective barrier against oxygen and moisture
  • That it is an environmentally-friendly material
  • Tough and ductile strength
  • It being perfect for structures that are hard to maintain due to its corrosion resistance

Why is Weathering Steel Better than Galvanized Steel?

If you are undertaking a project that involves using steel in construction, it is often recommended that you use weathering steel over galvanized steel. Weathering steel naturally protects itself from corrosion through rusting. However, galvanizing means that the steel is dipped in a molten zinc coating to prevent rust.

Galvanized steel does come with its disadvantages compared to weathering steel. These include:

  • Its high costs, especially in projects that are large-scale or have a budget
  • That it can develop white rust if it is in contact with water or moisture
  • The likelihood that it will experience internal steel corrosion
  • The galvanized coating potentially creates an uneven surface because it is likely to chip
  • A lack of flexibility

Masteel are Weathering Steel Experts

As a professional UK steel supplier, Masteel’s experts can help you find the best steel that fits all of your requirements. Whatever specifications you need when it comes to your premium steel, Masteel can support you. Weathering steel is a fantastic choice for structures and Masteel has an extensive range of it for you to choose from.

There are so many benefits that come with these products, including:

  • Our global shipping and major stockholding
  • A variety of plate widths and ranges of thickness
  • A fast turnaround
  • Our steel being high-quality from large European steel mills
  • Masteel’s cutting and profiling service that is accurate and performed in-house

Masteel can Help you Understand What Steel is Best for You

Weathering steel, or atmospheric corrosion-resistant steel, is a fantastic product to use if you are creating a structure that needs to remain outside or is going to be exposed to the elements. Learn more by calling +44 1675 437 733 or emailing [email protected] to see what we can do to assist you.