Steel Structures & Silos

In our modern world, steel is one of the most commonly used materials because of its strength, durability and cost-effectiveness over its lifetime. There are four major categories of steel under the CAST acronym (carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, and tool steel). These can be sub-divided into over 150 recognized grades depending on the manufacturing process and the different alloys added.

The differing concentrations of alloys create steel with varied properties. For example, high amounts of chromium is added to make stainless steel up to 200 times more corrosion resistant than carbon steel. For that reason, is used extensively for medical products and in the manufacturing of food. However, the much higher cost and difficulty in working with it makes stainless steel impractical for use in general construction.

Carbon steel (often called mild steel) is a common material used in construction because it can be cut, drilled, molded and welded relatively easily. However, as we all know from seeing rust develop on our cars and trucks, it is not maintenance free; it must be protected from the elements in some manner.

Protecting steel of this sort is generally accomplished by one of two methods – galvanizing or steel structure painting.

GALVANIZED STEEL

Glavanizing is the process of adding a thin layer of zinc to the steel in the manufacturing process. Because of the difference in electrical potential with the two metals in contact with each other, the zinc will corrode first while protecting the steel underneath. Galvanized steel is thus used extensively in exterior construction or on the interior of manufacturing plants subject to high humidity or chemical attack.

Properly galvanized steel can be left unpainted in an exterior environment for a few years, but it will eventually begin to corrode and need to be painted. However, it is important that galvanized steel is painted correctly from the outset – we have seen too many instances where paint has failed badly on these surfaces after a few years. The wrong paint may have excellent adhesion initially, but will eventually fail due to a chemical reaction with the zinc that occurs as the paint ages. Once this has started, the only fix is to completely remove the failing paint – a much more expensive proposition than the initial steel structure painting – and repainting.

PAINTING CARBON STEEL (“MILD STEEL”)

By far, mild steel is the most commonly used steel in construction: storage tanks and silos, industrial buildings, structural steel beams and columns, metal joists, bridges, water towers are typical applications. Protecting these assets is important.

The primary purpose in storage tank and silo painting is usually to prevent corrosion, with appearance a distant second. Because of the large differences in the existing conditions and the wide range of preparation methods and coatings available, hiring a knowledgeable professional is a wise choice and will affect how long any storage tank painting coat will last.

Some of the factors that affect longevity, performance and price are as follows:

  • How much rusting is there? What sort of preparation should be done? Does this need to be sandblasted, or can some less costly method such as pressure washing or power-tool cleaning be used?
  • What is the existing silo painting and does it need to be completely removed by sandblasting because it has reached the end of its serviceable life?
  • What sort of primer is indicated? Would a zinc-rich “cold galvanizing” coating be advised? Should we use an epoxy pre-prime to penetrate into areas that paint won’t reach?
  • Should we use epoxy, urethane or high-performance acrylic as a finish coat? Should we use two or three coats? Do we need UV resistant coatings for prolonged colour and gloss retention?
  • What is the life expectancy of any coating system we apply for steel structure painting? What is the customer’s expectation?

We are trained in NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) and SSPC (Steel Structures Painting Council) inspection, preparation standards and paint coating specifications to be able to give you proper information and guidance to protect your valuable steel assets.

In our modern world, steel is one of the most commonly used materials because of its strength, durability and cost-effectiveness over its lifetime. There are four major categories of steel under the CAST acronym (carbon steel, alloy steel, stainless steel, and tool steel). These can be sub-divided into over 150 recognized grades depending on the manufacturing process and the different alloys added.

The differing concentrations of alloys create steel with varied properties. For example, high amounts of chromium is added to make stainless steel up to 200 times more corrosion resistant than carbon steel. For that reason, is used extensively for medical products and in the manufacturing of food. However, the much higher cost and difficulty in working with it makes stainless steel impractical for use in general construction.

Carbon steel (often called mild steel) is a common material used in construction because it can be cut, drilled, molded and welded relatively easily. However, as we all know from seeing rust develop on our cars and trucks, it is not maintenance free; it must be protected from the elements in some manner.

Protecting steel of this sort is generally accomplished by one of two methods – galvanizing or steel structure painting.

GALVANIZED STEEL

Glavanizing is the process of adding a thin layer of zinc to the steel in the manufacturing process. Because of the difference in electrical potential with the two metals in contact with each other, the zinc will corrode first while protecting the steel underneath. Galvanized steel is thus used extensively in exterior construction or on the interior of manufacturing plants subject to high humidity or chemical attack.

Properly galvanized steel can be left unpainted in an exterior environment for a few years, but it will eventually begin to corrode and need to be painted. However, it is important that galvanized steel is painted correctly from the outset – we have seen too many instances where paint has failed badly on these surfaces after a few years. The wrong paint may have excellent adhesion initially, but will eventually fail due to a chemical reaction with the zinc that occurs as the paint ages. Once this has started, the only fix is to completely remove the failing paint – a much more expensive proposition than the initial steel structure painting – and repainting.

PAINTING CARBON STEEL (“MILD STEEL”)

By far, mild steel is the most commonly used steel in construction: storage tanks and silos, industrial buildings, structural steel beams and columns, metal joists, bridges, water towers are typical applications. Protecting these assets is important.

The primary purpose in storage tank and silo painting is usually to prevent corrosion, with appearance a distant second. Because of the large differences in the existing conditions and the wide range of preparation methods and coatings available, hiring a knowledgeable professional is a wise choice and will affect how long any storage tank painting coat will last.

Some of the factors that affect longevity, performance and price are as follows:

We are trained in NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) and SSPC (Steel Structures Painting Council) inspection, preparation standards and paint coating specifications to be able to give you proper information and guidance to protect your valuable steel assets.

 
 
 
 
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