What Is Galvanized Metal?
Galvanization is the leading method to protect metals, usually steel and iron, from environmental elements that cause corrosion, rust, and the eventual weakening of the steel. Galvanizing involves bonding a protective zinc metal coating to a thicker metal base.
Think of grey-silver guardrails along curvy highways: the grey color is the zinc coating distinctive to galvanized metal. Grey-silver galvanized steel is everywhere: in bridges, nails, stadiums, gates and fences, street lights, roofs, signs, and automobiles. Odds are you will find galvanized steel anywhere something needs to endure the test of outside elements and time.
Several types of zinc coated metal are called "galvanized"; each is achieved through a different galvanization process. Different galvanizing methods make distinct metal finishes, appearances, thickness, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Learn more about galvanized zinc coatings.
Two popular galvanization methods are (1) hot-dip galvanizing and (2) electroplate galvanizing. Although both methods involve bonding a layer of zinc to the steel, the finishes and hardness are quite different. Jump ahead to the galvanizing process and learn how metal is galvanized.
The galvanizing metal process gives a coating of zinc that sometimes creates a characteristic crystalline surface pattern known as spangles (image 1). For a table comparison of galvanized metal properties - finish/appearance, zinc coat thickness, coverage consistency, bond strength, hardness, and exposure conditions - navigate to types of galvanizing.
image 1. Spangles of Galvanized Metal
Galvanized Steel Properties
- Zinc protects steel against corrosion. The resilience and life of steel is profoundly enhanced with a galvanized zinc coating. Compare the two types of galvanized steel used to coat our bucket product line.
- The zinc coating can be more durable than the steel it is protects.
- A galvanized coating can provide more than 70 years of maintenance-free life. How long does galvanized steel last?
- Zinc is the only material able to provide such proficient and cost-effective protection for steel.
- Galvanized steel is an affordable alternative to materials like stainless steel
- Hot-dip galvanized zinc coatings provide cathodic protection to the base metal: the coating will sacrifice itself to protect from corrosion. Learn more about zinc coatings and zinc corrosion.