Steel is an important structural material in the construction of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. The popularity can be attributed to the durability, tensile strength and relatively low costs attached to steel. Unfortunately, the material is susceptible to corrosion and general degradation when exposed to unfavourable conditions. For example, moisture and saline air will accelerate rusting due to the iron content in the metal. You can prevent these problems by using protective paints to coat the structural steel in the building. These protective coatings are industrial paint layers which limit exposure of metals to the harsh environmental conditions. Here are some simple tips to help you achieve the best results through your steel painting project.
Prepare the Metal Surface
The surface of structural steel should be prepared before the protective coating is applied. This will ensure that the layer will provide long-term service, eliminating the need for premature repair. The type of preparation required will depend on the quality of the material that you are planning to paint. New standard steel is delivered with pre-primed surfaces, so you will not need to apply a base coat. On the other hand, galvanised steel requires some preparation before application of the coating.
Generally, the surface is smooth and somewhat oily, so the protective coatings tend to peel off in short time. You can install the steel and allow weathering through exposure to harsh conditions before painting. Alternatively, the surface of the metal must be cleaned and a primer coating should be applied before the protective coating is used. If the steel is already rusted, you should commission cleaning through abrasive blasting, sanding or brushing. The surface should also be treated with a rust inhibitor and a primer.
Do Not Neglect Aesthetics
Protective coatings are primarily designed to shield the metal from adverse conditions. However, this does not mean that the aesthetic value should be neglected during the painting project. This is particularly important when the structural metal is going to be visually exposed. You should choose a coating with visual appeal and the colour should complement the rest of the building. If your favoured colour choices are unavailable, consider using a top coat of industrial-grade finish paint.
Paint as Necessary
Structural steel is vulnerable to corrosion but painting is not always mandatory. You can reduce painting project costs by using the protective coatings only as necessary. For instance, if the steel will be clad with fire protection materials or hidden within the ceiling, painting isn't necessary. Consult your painting contractor for guidance before obtaining supplies.