Understanding Galvanizing Metal Building Components

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Romtec provides many types of metal components for all of our buildings and structural products. From wall vents to support columns, metal components can be integral design features. Often times, metal components are selected because of their strength and durability, but even metal components can need additional protection. Romtec typically recommends paint or powder coating for adding strength to metal components, but sometimes building owners will request galvanized components. The galvanizing process adds an extra level of protection for metal components, but often times, it also requires special work in order to survive the galvanizing process.

Galvanizing describes a process of coating steel or iron components in a thin layer of protective zinc. Zinc is applied to metal because it acts as a “sacrificial anode” on the surface of the component. To describe this more simply, steel and iron are susceptible to rust, but a thin layer of zinc will corrode before the steel and iron. This protects the steel and iron by “sacrificing” the zinc material to corrosion before the steel or iron do.

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Zinc is typically applied through a process called “hot dip” coating, where metal components are dipped into molten zinc and then cured. Zinc can also be applied through electrogalvanization, where the metal component is submerged into an electrified solution of saline and zinc. As the electricity flows into the steel or iron component, zinc is forged onto the surface. Electrogalvanization creates a very thin zinc coating, while hot dip coating typically results in a thicker layer of zinc.

Electroplating facilities typically work with smaller components, so for larger zinc plating projects, components will either need to be dipped or shipped to a larger facility. Both of these options can add cost. Hot dip zinc coating requires a couple of considerations. First, the metal component must be substantially thick enough to withstand the high heat of molten zinc without melting or deforming. Second, the component must be able to drain off the molten zinc properly. Often times this requires adding drainage holes, which may or may not work well for the component. If these steps cannot be met, an electroplating facility will need to be found with the capabilities to handle the size of the component.

Romtec works hard on every project to ensure that our customers get the exact building they want with all of the proper components. When paint and powder coat don’t meet the requirements, galvanizing is another option that Romtec can supply. This option typically adds cost for manufacturing the building, but it also adds a unique appearance as well as robust corrosion protection for your building’s metal components. Get the options you need on every project from Romtec!

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