Galvanized sheet metal is one of the most requested products from fabrication shops around the world. In fact, according to the American Galvanizers Association, the world produced more than 3.4 million tons of galvanized steel in 2012.
The most common industries are utility, agriculture, construction, bridge and highway, and recreation. These industries require a variety of sheet metal products, including “structurals, fasteners, tubing, pipe, wire, nails, reinforcing steel, weldments, complex fabrications, guardrail, and posts.”
If so many companies want galvanized sheet metal, what’s the big deal? Here are the benefits of this sheet metal product, as explained by the Galvanizers Association of Australia (GAA) and the experts at Kaempf & Harris in Frederick, Maryland:
- Galvanization costs less. When it comes to protective coatings for stainless steel, galvanization is one of the least expensive options because it’s not as labor-intensive for a sheet metal fabrication shop.
Even if the initial cost of galvanizing is quoted as more expensive than other protective coatings, this sheet metal technique is the best option for most contractor budgets because of its long-term investment.
Unlike other options, galvanized sheet metal in structural members lasts about 50 years in rural environments and 20 to 25 years in severe urban and coastal exposure. Even with a long life expectancy, it requires little to no maintenance, repairs, and/or replacements.
- No time is lost. Part of being a contractor is ensuring that a project remains on schedule and within budget. Galvanized steel allows you to do just that, because galvanized coatings are easily examined by eye, and non-destructive thickness testing methods are used. No time is lost in excessive testing.
After examination, skip surface preparation, painting, or further inspection because galvanized structures are ready to go after direct assembly.
Even after the product is assembled, contractors clean the structure only once annually with alkaline water and a soft cloth.
- It’s the toughest protective coating offered. Hot-dip galvanizing, the most popular form of galvanization, is the process of submerging metal parts in a bath of molten zinc to protect the metal. This protection occurs as the intact zinc coating prevents corrosive substances from reaching the underlying steel or iron.
The zinc also acts as a sacrificial anode, which is the main component of a galvanic cathodic protection system used to protect buried or submerged metal from corrosion. This means that if the coating is scratched, the exposed steel or iron is protected by the remaining zinc.
Lastly, the zinc protects its base metal by corroding before iron.
This “unique metallurgical structure...gives outstanding resistance to mechanical damage in transport, erection, and service,” according to the GAA. Through every stage, every inch of the sheet metal product is protected, including recesses, sharp corners, and inaccessible areas.
A bonus to buying galvanized steel sheets? A full protective coating is applied within minutes and is independent of weather conditions unlike other coatings.
- Galvanization is sustainable. If you’re a contractor who’s invested in eco-friendly construction practices, this sheet metal technique is what you’re looking for.
According to Whirlwind Steel Buildings & Components, a national manufacturer of pre-engineered metal buildings and metal building components in various markets, “The galvanization process uses a molten zinc bath in which the zinc can be used over and over again...with a very minimal amount of waste.
The durability and longevity of...steel building components means less resources will be used to repair and/or replace parts down the road.”
Whether you request hot-dip galvanizing, electrogalvanizing, sherardizing, metallic spraying, or protective painting, this is the best sheet metal technique to get the best protection. Click below to download Kaempf & Harris’ Guide To Galvanized Sheet Metal: