Essential Galvanized Components in Construction
Hot-dip galvanizing is a process where a series of metal components are submerged in a molten bath of zinc. This covers the components in a protective film, preventing further corrosion. The principal reason for following this procedure is that galvanized metal is known for its attribute of preventing future decay, ensuring less future maintenance.
Any metal can be galvanized, however, iron and steel are the most commonly used in construction. Steel is usually preferred for this purpose as it is lighter, stronger and more durable than the alternative. This is why it is preferred for building bridges, buildings, tunnels, culverts and other infrastructure.
Advantages of Galvanising Steel Components before Construction
When construction engineers accept a project that involves using metal products and is designed to last decades, the best possible materials need to be used. The completed structure will be subjected to immense pressure throughout its lifetime including man-made stresses and natural phenomena like floods, fire and even seismic activity. Galvanizing the essential steel components prior to construction strengthens the product against these events and lengthens the metal’s lifespan considerably.
This illuminates the importance of hot-dip galvanizing steel components. Outside, inside and internal components used in construction will be exposed to oxidation. The sooner it is galvanized the better for the finished project. Hot dip galvanization of essential components will prevent surface deterioration during storage before use, handling, erection and installation and will save on replacement costs.
Unlike untreated or alternative corrosion protection procedures where upkeep will be ongoing through time, galvanized steel has proven to be almost maintenance-free. This is a significant advantage for galvanizing as most steel components are extremely difficult to access post-construction. For example:
- External or exposed framing structures – Outside steel structures which do not have roofing or cover from the elements are particularly susceptible to oxidation. They are typically found in industrial areas or modern high-rise buildings where access to maintenance or re-application processes is often difficult.
- Internal structural support – Pillars and posts – In structures where industrial processes occur which promote high concentrations of water vapour like paper manufacturing, breweries and food processing, for example, galvanization of the steel pillars and posts is essential, especially where hygiene and sterile environments are needed. These are areas where even periodical maintenance would be difficult and costly, and consequential loss could be significant.
- Lintels and cross-beams – Cross-beams are usually not load-bearing components, but lintels are. Since they usually form part or are embedded in a structure they are excessively difficult to access. Once rust begins in a lintel, it will not stop until it threatens the integrity of the building and repairs are compulsory and costly. A long-term solution should be initiated at the construction stage that would last a minimum of 50 years.
- The nuts and bolts – A structure made of steel is only as strong as its weakest link. Galvanizing structural components without using equal quality, galvanized nuts, bolts, washers, rivets and other fittings and connectors would be as detrimental as doing nothing at all.
- Steel fitting and concrete – Galvanized steel rebar and other components are an invaluable asset in all sectors of the construction industry. They are ideal for steel fitting and rigidity in concrete, mortar and plaster. Durability compared to uncoated rebar may be increased by two to six times and is often used in pre-stressed concrete solutions.
This list only encompasses the basic essential components in construction that should be galvanized, but there are many other areas where it would be advised. For example, corrugated steel pipes, sheathing pipes, embedded posts in concrete, timber construction, road safety barriers and associated components and more.
For professional advice and additional information, consult with Armco Superlight. We are listed with the BSI ISO 9001: 2015 quality management system and hold the SATAS mark for hot-dipped galvanizing. All our galvanizing is in accordance with the SANS 121 / ISO 1461 specifications and we are the leaders in galvanizing technology in South Africa. With our expertise and innovation, there isn’t a project that we cannot assist with.
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