Galvanized vs Stainless Steel: What’s The Difference?
Using the wrong kind of steel in a project can cost your clients up to $100,000 in damages, not to mention the potential health and safety hazards that can result from a negligent choice. That said, it’s easy to understand why using the right type of steel is essential. Knowing when to use galvanized steel vs stainless steel can affect your company’s reputation and the quality of your construction projects for decades to come.
For example, you don’t want your business to develop a reputation as one that uses galvanized steel in water pipes. Though this used to be common practice in home construction during the 1980s, it was never a good idea. As a result of this practice, many homes across the U.S are likely to have lead content in their drinking water.
Following this guide will help you not only avoid causing irreparable damage to your clients but will also protect your business from earning the reputation of a lackluster building company. Instead, if you know what you’re doing and you make the right choices when it comes to the type of steel you use, you’ll leave your clients feeling satisfied and secure. Doing so can lead to your clients viewing your company as one of authority and trustworthiness in your industry.
Galvanized Steel vs Stainless: What You Need to Know
Galvanized steel is a product type that has a thin layer of zinc on top of regular steel to help keep out oxygen and moisture. This measure helps protect the steel product from rusting and degradation. Typically, the galvanized type of steel performs decently against occasional interactions with water. This means that it should remain resistant and structurally sound even after a splash of water here and there, or light, rarely-occurring rain showers.
However, it’s worth noting that galvanized steel is not as resistant to salt water, so it’s not recommended to use it when the project exists near an ocean or other areas where salt water is common.
Steel is usually galvanized after it has already been welded and applied to a surface since cutting through the zinc coating on top of galvanized steel can cause explosions and make people sick. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to use respiratory protection when welding this material, as the zinc layer can give off fumes when it becomes sufficiently heated.
Stainless steel, however, is a steel type that has chromium and carbon mixed into it while it is being forged. Stainless steel is usually more reliable than galvanized steel for construction purposes.
Which Types of Steel Are Appropriate and When?
Different types of metals have varying levels of usefulness depending on what project they’re needed for. As such, both stainless steel and galvanized steel are appropriate for certain applications. Galvanized steel is appropriate for use in specific car components, railings, and certain types of structural beams. However, as mentioned above, galvanized steel is only somewhat water resistant, and it’s not appropriate for use in any project that will be in constant contact with water.
On the plus side, galvanized steel retains most of its anti-rust capabilities when scratched, so it can handle a little wear and tear reasonably well. However, sufficient wear on the zinc layer will lead to faster rusting overall.
One difference between galvanized steel and stainless steel is that stainless steel usually only rusts when exposed to chlorinated water. This is why stainless steel is used for fasteners, beams, separators, and flow lines.
Difference Between Galvanized Steel and Stainless Steel Prices
Galvanized steel is much easier to produce than stainless steel. To galvanize a piece of steel, the product only needs to be dipped into molten zinc before it’s ready to use. Because of this, it’s cheaper than its counterpart, which makes it a more affordable choice for use in small-scale projects.
Stainless steel, however, has to be made via a complicated process that requires melting the components in very expensive specialized equipment. Because of this highly-involved process, stainless steel is more expensive than galvanized steel. As a result of each process, a single 0.032″ 12×12 length stainless steel usually costs upwards of $100, while 20 feet of galvanized steel can cost as little as $15.
Depending on the project you have in mind, you may also need to reshape the steel. Stainless steel is harder to reshape than galvanized steel, so it’s worth considering the difficulty you might face when trying to reshape the metal you need for your project. Additionally, you will have to factor in the transportation cost, the weight, and the quantity of steel product you choose before you ship it out.
When to Avoid Stainless Steel
Although stainless steel has a wide variety of uses, there are times when you want to avoid it completely.
If you suspect that there will be any friction between two components both made out of stainless steel, avoid letting the components in question come into contact with one another. Over time, friction between two pieces of stainless steel can cause the parts to weld themselves together, which could ruin any device or project they’re used to create.
Galvanized steel, on the other hand, is more ductile and less resistant to shaping (especially when heat isn’t part of the equation and builders can avoid the risks associated with exploding zinc and zinc fume exposure). Since it’s also cheaper, it functions well in small-scale projects. Galvanized steel is still sturdy enough to use in larger projects as well, especially in ones where you know it won’t be exposed to water or anything else that could cause the zinc layer to come off.
Also, if you did need to cut galvanized steel without heat that could expose you to fumes and explosives, you could galvanize the exposed metal yourself at a relatively low cost.
Galvanized Steel is Great for Small Projects
Galvanized steel is great for use outdoors in balconies, staircases, ladders, beds, and car parts. Although cars are exposed to water on occasion, galvanized steel will still hold up against damp weather, including acid rain. This is because the zinc layer doesn’t strip away immediately when exposed to the elements. When water damages galvanized steel, it’s usually the result of constant exposure instead of the occasional brush with water.
Even when small pieces of the zinc coating are scratched or stripped away, the remaining zinc coating is still quite effective at protecting the underlying steel. This is because the zinc surrounding the steel still absorbs oxygen and corrosive elements from the air instead of letting them get onto the surface of the steel itself.
Depending on the process used to galvanize steel, it can also be painted afterward. The paint can be purely decorative or you can use special paint to help protect the steel even more. Paint is partially what keeps the steel on cars safe from rusting after being exposed to the elements. That said, if the metal in question is going to be used in a small-scale indoor project, or something simple around the house, then galvanized steel is a much better choice compared to the more expensive stainless steel option.
Industrial Uses for Stainless Steel
In a contest between galvanized steel vs stainless steel, stainless undeniably comes out on top in certain industrial use cases. There are hundreds of companies dedicated to supplying stainless steel tubing, bars, plates, and sheets. This is especially true of aerospace or other aeronautical companies, since the fasteners, wings, and other parts of an aircraft need to be as strong as possible. High-grade stainless steel is a must-have in those industries since it’s necessary to avoid taking any sort of risk when it comes to something as complex yet delicate as airplanes and the like.
Passenger safety is also a top priority in these situations, so using galvanized steel as a source metal would not be appropriate for those types of machinery. Stainless steel is also easy to weld, and it’s recyclable. Because of this feature, if a piece of machinery becomes outdated or broken, you can strip it down and recycle the stainless steel components. It’s a definite plus for more environmentally-conscious companies.
There’s a Metal for Every Purpose
Now that you know the basic difference between galvanized steel and stainless steel, you can make an informed decision about which steel type suits your needs best. Once you’ve decided on the kind of steel you’re going to use, you can determine how much of it you need, and how the product needs to be treated before you receive it.
At Intsel Steel Distributors and Bushwick Metals, we offer a wide variety of galvanized steel and stainless steel processing options. Whichever type of metal you choose, you can begin your project on the right foot, right away. So check out our value-added services and learn about how we can help you get any construction project off the ground. Also, when in doubt, you can trust our industry experts to recommend the right approach for any construction endeavor.
Galvanized Steel Angles: Our Sizes And Capabilities
Did you know that corrosion costs the U.S economy over $300 billion each year? Environmental interaction with different types of metal can lead to gradual degradation of construction projects. To save yourself the headache of rusted parts, consider using galvanized steel. The galvanization process can protect steel from the elements, making it more durable and reliable.
Bushwick Metals offers the most comprehensive inventory of steel products! Take a look at our stock of galvanized steel angles and how we can help your business grow.
What Are Galvanized Steel Angles?
Galvanization is a process of coating metals, like steel, with a protective zinc layer. At Bushwick, we achieve this by immersing our structural-steel angles in a zinc bath. The zinc coating prevents the metal from rusting out, making it perfect for outdoor projects.
ASTM A123 Specification
We’re able to galvanize all our hot-rolled structural steel angles. Our products meet the requirements of the A123 Specification according to the American Society for Testing and Materials. The A123 Specification regulates the coating thickness, finish, and adherence conditions.
The Benefits of Galvanization
Our hot-dipped steel angles are especially useful in outdoor construction. Exposure to rain, wind, and snow will no longer be a problem because the zinc coating prevents rust. Other benefits of galvanized steel angles include:
- Increased durability
- Low cost
- Higher savings
- High reliability
- Low maintenance
There are several methods to galvanize steel, including:
At Bushwick Metals, we use the hot-dip method. This approach requires the structural-steel metal to take a quick bath in a tub of molten zinc. Hot-dipped galvanized metal is a speedy, simple process, which means faster delivery times for our clients!
Our Extensive Steel Inventory
Our extended steel angle inventory means you get exactly what you need when you need it. We offer galvanized steel angles ranging from 1 1/4” x 1 1/4” x 1/8” to 8” x 6 1/2” x 1/2”. Each size is available in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths.
Available 1 1/4″ angles:
- Size: 1 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 1/8in, Weight: 1.08lb
- Size: 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 3/16in, Weight: 1.930lb
- Size: 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1/8in, Weight: 1.32lb
Available 2″ to 2 1/2″ angles:
- Size: 2 x 2 x 1/4in, Weight: 3.41lb
- Size: 2 x 2 x 3/16in, Weight: 2.61lb
- Size: 2 x 2 x 1/8in, Weight: 1.77lb
- Size: 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/4in, Weight: 4.39lb
- Size: 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 5/16in, Weight: 7.780lb
Available 3″ angles:
- Size: 3 x 3 x 3/8in, Weight: 7.780lb
- Size: 3 x 3 x 1/4in, Weight: 5.24lb
Available 4″ angles:
- Size: 4 x 3 x 3/8in, Weight: 9.18lb
- Size: 4 x 3 x 5/16in, Weight: 7.780lb
- Size: 4 x 3 x 1/4in, Weight: 6.26lb
- Size: 4 x 4 x 1/2in, Weight: 13.82lb
- Size: 4 x 4 x 3/8in, Weight: 10.58lb
- Size: 4 x 4 x 5/16in, Weight: 8.86lb
- Size: 4 x 4 x 1/4in, Weight: 7.13lb
- Size: 4 x 3 1/2 x 3/8in, Weight: 9.83lb
- Size: 4 x 3 1/2 x 5/16in, Weight: 8.32lb
- Size: 4 x 3 1/2 x 1/4in, Weight: 6.70lb
Available 5″ to 6″ angles:
- Size: 5 x 5 x 3/8in, Weight: 13.28lb
- Size: 5 x 5 x 5/16in, Weight: 11.12lb
- Size: 5 x 3 1/2 x 3/8in, Weight: 11.23lb
- Size: 5 x 3 1/2 x 5/16in, Weight: 9.400lb
- Size: 6 x 3 1/2 x 5/16in, Weight: 10.58lb
With 25 angle sizes, our structural steel angle stock is one of the biggest! And we maintain this to help our customers manage their workflow. Reduce overhead, manage supply chains, and say goodbye to storage fees!
Our Value-Added Services
Not only does Bushwick offer an extensive range of inventory, but we also pride ourselves on customer satisfaction. Our value-added services mean that your orders will arrive ready to use. Less time wasted for you, and more happy customers for us!
We understand that our customers often need specific materials to do their jobs. That’s why Bushwick offers customization services for all our products. Our facilities boast state-of-the-art equipment, operated by professionally trained employees. Each cut undergoes strict controls to meet or exceed industry standards. Whether you need basic cuts, complex cuts, or bundle cutting, we’ve got you covered.
We bend and form angles to suit your needs. Let us know what you need when you place your order, and we’ll ensure the products are made to your specifications. We offer both “leg in” and “leg out” customizations on sizes ranging from 2” x 2” x 1/4” to 8” x 8” x 1”.
Depending on which products you order, we also offer:
- High-definition plasma cutting
- Oxy-fuel cutting
- Carbide scribing
- Plate bending and forming
- Section bending
- Tee splitting
- Customer roll-formed floor and roof decks
Explore all of our value-added services to see why Bushwick Metals should be your top choice for steel products. We always use the latest techniques and modern technologies to prepare our products. Our staff is highly trained and take pride in the work they do for our customers!
Are you tired of waiting days for your product to arrive? Sick of promises about expedited delivery only for your order to arrive a week later? Not at Bushwick Metals!
We offer immediate delivery on all orders. The reason we’re able to make this promise is our truly massive inventory of steel products. Need a specific bar angle or a customized structural angle tomorrow? No problem, we’re on our way. Our next-day delivery is so efficient that your order might even arrive early! Our satisfied customers often get their shipments within the 24-hour time frame.
Bushwick Metals: Your Local Steel Distributor
When you need the right products at the right time and a fair price, you know who to call. Bushwick Metals is your number one steel provider on the East Coast. Our facilities in Bridgeport, CT, South Plainfield, NJ, and New Castle, DE ensure the quickest shipments for our customers! We’re 100% committed to delivering the highest customer satisfaction through our comprehensive inventory. Whether you need galvanized steel angles or UM plates, Bushwick Metals has it all!
Contact us today to request a quote or order from our massive steel inventory!
Hot Dipped Galvanized Steel Pipe At Bushwick Metals/Intsel Steel East
If you work in an industry that installs or utilizes piping, you know how important reliability is. It means improved safety as well as increased production. It can be the difference between successful transport of liquids or gases and disaster.
With so many different components on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the best piping for any given project. Fortunately, there are a few products that stand out above the rest. Hot dip galvanized pipe is one of them.
There are many advantages to zinc-galvanized piping. The information below will go over them as well as the preparation and coating processes. It will help you determine if galvanized pipe is the right product for your business needs.
What Is Galvanization?
While steel is a very durable metal with a high tensile strength, without protection, it will rust. Galvanization is the process of adding a protective layer of material–usually zinc–to steel or iron. This strengthens the metal and protects it from rust and corrosion.
The most common method for galvanizing metal is hot dipping. As the name suggests, it involves dropping the metal into a molten zinc solution to coat it.
First, the steel surface is cleaned to ensure it is free of any contamination. It is often degreased by dipping it in hydrochloric acid. This also helps remove rust, welding slag, paint, or any other unwanted materials. Next, technicians dip the steel in zinc that is heated to well over 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Zinc alloy layers form on the steel and then cool to form a solid coat. Finally, metal workers inspect the finished product. They look for uniformity of coating and inspect the thickness of the layers. Sometimes they perform basic physical or chemical tests to determine the quality of the coating.
Advantages of Hot Dip Galvanized Steel Pipe
There are several benefits to zinc galvanization. Here are the main ones to consider.
Galvanized steel will last many decades–depending on the conditions in which it is used–much longer than many other piping products. For heavy industrial uses, you can expect it to last 15 or 20 years. You could get more like 30, 40, or even 100 years from the piping for residential uses. Zinc is very strong and has a very low rate of corrosion. It helps Galvanization protect the underlying steel in three distinct ways.
The most obvious way zinc protects the metal piping is by creating a robust physical barrier. Zinc is a strong metal itself and is resistant to cracking or chipping. Other sealants are not as strong. When damaged, they can expose the steel to water or moisture in the air, which can cause corrosion. Hot dip galvanized pipe is completely coated to create a singular layer and can provide up to seven times the strength of organic coatings.
Another way galvanization provides protection is from corrosion. The most prominent and rapid way corrosion happens in metals is when two come into contact with one another in the presence of an electrolyte, like saltwater.
One metal acts as an anode and the other as a cathode. The anode corrodes more rapidly, while the cathode corrodes slower than it otherwise would. When galvanized, the zinc coating, in contact with the base steel, acts as the anode. This slows the corrosion rate of the cathode metal (the steel). It is easy to see how this is preferable to organic or plastic coatings. This “sacrificial protection” means that, given the presence of an electrolyte, the zinc will corrode much faster than the underlying steel. Also, it is much easier to repair and replace the damaged zinc coating than the entire pipe itself should outer corrosion occur.
Finally, zinc protects against a type of corrosion known as “sideways creep.” This involves rust deposits accumulating and spreading underneath the paint coating. This causes it to peel and flake. Zinc is resistant to this dynamic. So, any corrosion remains localized and is easier to address.
Longer-lasting piping translates to economic benefits down the road. You save not only on the product itself but offsetting labor costs associated with replacing corroding pipe. It also means you don’t have to shut down operations to do repairs or replacements. Galvanized steel pipe is also much more affordable to produce than other long-lasting metals, like stainless steel. This is in part because these alternatives require a lot of labor and many steps to produce.
Efficient Preparation and Inspection
Galvanization also requires very little preparation of the steel pipe’s surface. While the metal should be free of dust or debris, no other steps are necessary (other than minor decreasing ones mentioned above) to ensure the zinc coating adheres to the surface.
The galvanization process–including preparation, dipping, and drying–is very quick. Also, it is not harmed by humidity, so that you can do it in almost any climate or weather condition. Galvanized steel pipe is much easier to inspect than other coated pipes. The shiny sheen the process leaves behind makes it simple to identify imperfections or deficits in the evenness of the coating.
Find Hot Dip Galvanized Pipe Near You
Now that you have an idea of the advantages of hot dip galvanized steel, you can determine if it’s right for your construction needs. Be sure to find a reputable distributor that has a lot of experience in the galvanization process to ensure you’re getting a quality product.
For almost 200 years, Bushwick Metals has been the Northeast’s leading wholesale steel distributor. We carry a vast inventory of premium carbon steel products, including hot dip galvanized pipe. Reach out to us today for a free quote or to speak with someone from our sales team about your piping needs.
The Most Common Galvanized Steel Uses
Did you know that projections for the market for galvanized steel could grow to almost 58 million tons by 2025? There has been an increasing demand by industries and companies for this popular type of steel. Many industries have found a variety of galvanized steel uses such as high-rise buildings, cars, support beams, and more. It is less prone to rust and corrosion than iron or regular steel.
If you have an interest in learning more about the benefits and uses of galvanized steel, then keep reading on.
What Is Galvanized Steel?
Steel that becomes galvanized typically goes through a process of hot-dipping with molten zinc. First, steel becomes dipped in zinc-iron alloy and zinc metal. Next, a coating forms overtop of the steel. Typically, you clean the steel first through a series of steps that includes degreasing. After cleaning the steel, it is put into the liquid zinc for up to ten minutes.
Lastly, the galvanized steel goes through post-treatment which involves cleaning and shaving off excessive zinc. The process of coating steel in zinc is not necessarily for improved strength, but rather, to reduce rust and corrosion.
Galvanized steel is beneficial because of its durability, strength, and multiple uses. The added zinc component to steel makes it more versatile in a variety of industries as it will not rust or corrode. Essentially, this type of steel can last for decades to come.
Galvanized Steel Uses
What are the most common uses of galvanized steel? This type of steel is widely used in a variety of different industries such as:
It can be used for piping, wiring, framing, and even for household appliances. Galvanized steel is also widely used for commercial buildings and paint adherence.
Types of Galvanized Steel
Hot dipping steel is the most common way of galvanizing it. As mentioned earlier, it involves dipping the steel into melted zinc. Once it re-emerges, the oxygen reacts with the zinc and forms an anti-corrosive layer on top of the steel.
Electrogalvanization is another way of creating galvanized steel. It does not use the dipping process. Instead, it uses electrical currents on your steel. First, an electrolyte solution is placed on the steel. Afterward, the electric current runs through the electrolyte solution and helps deposit zinc onto the surface. In some cases, this can be stronger than hot dipping. Experts suspect that the zinc adheres or bonds more closely to the steel through electrogalvanization. This creates longer-lasting and stronger steel components.
The benefit of electrogalvanization is that you can add other chemicals to the electrolyte solution. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use phosphate salts in conjunction with zinc. The phosphate helps with the paint adherence on car parts. In return, it can make paint and other surface materials last longer than when used with zinc only.
Other common items that use the electric current process are screws, wires, and pipes.
Galvannealing is also used for the creation of galvanized steel. This process uses a zinc-iron alloy mixture. Like electrogalvanization, it helps with paint and gives a matte finish to the product. For creating this look, the steel goes through the typical hot-dipping process with an iron and zinc mixture. Then, it is heated again so that the zinc fully adheres to the steel. It still provides anti-corrosive benefits but can give a more aesthetic appeal.
Molding Galvanized Steel
What are different types of galvanized steel forms? You can mold steel sheets after it has been galvanized.
Sheet metal is widely used, but it usually requires unique forms and shapes for industry and home use. If the metal sheet is thin enough, you may be able to use a sharp, sturdy edge for gently bending it. If it is too thick, then use an electric grinder for creating a thin groove along with the metal sheet. Once you have created a groove, you can bend or shape your metal as you would like.
Keep in mind this process is extremely delicate and if you go too far, then you might snap the metal sheet. One indicator that you have gone too far is that the groove line appears black.
Like all types of metal galvanized steel can eventually wear out with repeated use. It is important that you recognize common signs of metal fatigue in your steel.
The first signs of metal fatigue and failure are cracks around the edges of the surface. If there is a particular point that receives more stress, then the cracks can form in specific regions instead. Once the stress increases, the cracks spread, much like on a car windshield, until the entire piece will fail.
Luckily, galvanized steel eliminates the risk of corrosion failure. This typically happens when steel rusts and breaks down. Any steel that has exposure to water should be galvanized. Vibration and mechanical failure are the other two types of metal fatigue. One of the best ways for combating metal fatigue is purchasing your steel from reliable and trustworthy manufacturers.
Buy Galvanized Steel
During the pandemic, steel prices rose almost 300% above normal. The high demand for this product coupled with shortages created soaring prices across the nation. In fact, to buy galvanized steel before the pandemic, you could expect to pay around $500 to $800 per ton. At one point, steel increased to almost $2,000 per ton.
Although this price has dropped slightly, it points to the high demand steel has on America’s industry. You can continue to expect a growing demand for steel in upcoming years. Some projections put it at an almost 4% growth between 2020 to 2021. Reliable manufacturers and producers can help give you quality materials at a fair price during this competitive market.
Find Your Next Supplier
There are many galvanized steel uses in the construction, automotive, solar, and agricultural businesses. Buildings, cars, and bridges all use versions of galvanized steel because of its non-corrosive nature and durability.
Contact us today at Bushwick metals and let one of our skilled representatives help you choose the type of galvanized steel needed for your industry or business.