As a specially coated type of steel, galvanized metal enjoys a great reputation as being an ideal building product to use for any type of structure that is expected to stand for many years. Here are some basics about how galvanized steel is created, as well as how it can be used in various building projects.
Galvanized metal is simply steel in some form that has received a thin coating of zinc oxide. The purpose of the zinc is to protect the steel from elements that normally would lead to oxidation, corrosion and the eventual weakening of the steel. In this sense, the zinc coating acts as what is called a sacrificial anode. In other words, the zinc will protect the steel from corrosion by acting as a barrier between the steel and the corrosive agent, at least until the zinc coating has been completely oxidized. Galvanized metal can be made into supports, girders and even into sheets of metal that can be used in all sorts of construction and building projects.
Galvanized metal is often used in the construction of warships, such as carriers and submarines. The water and salt repellent qualities of the galvanized steel with its solid zinc coating make it the ideal material to use for hulls. When combined with customized paint formulas that are meant to be used with galvanized metal, the end result is a hull that will hold up to a lot of wear and tear.
Galvanization has also allowed the use of steel for building structures that will remain strong for many decades. In fact, when buildings have been razed, there are some instances of the harvested galvanized metal being usable with little or no reapplication of a zinc coating. This has been found to be true even when up to sixty years may have passed.
Painting galvanized metal usually requires making sure the surface of the metal is completely free of any alkaline buildup that may have settled onto the zinc coating. Because of the nature of the coating, oil or alkyd based paints are not recommended for use with galvanized steel. Instead, a metal primer that is made for use with galvanized steel should be applied, then a coat of latex paint. With the primer and a coat of acrylic paint, a topcoat of alkyd paint may be used if the exposure to the elements is going to be low to moderate. In situations where the galvanized metal will experience a high rate of exposure, a topcoat of high performance epoxy paint would yield a superior result.
Galvanized metal has made it possible for humanity to enjoy long lasting shelters, as well as explore the ocean and the ocean floor in perfect safety. There is no doubt that humankind will continue to find ways to utilize this valuable construction tool in new and exciting ways in the years to come.