Having a STEEL DECK comes with a commitment to maintenance. You can protect your family from serious accidents and injuries by ensuring your roof decks are always in good shape. You’re also extending the life span of your decks by constantly monitoring their integrity.
What Could Shorten Your Steel Deck’s Lifespan?
Rust is the main culprit that reduces the lifespan of a steel or iron deck. You can recognize it as a reddish layer that forms over ferrous metals over time. This extra coating easily breaks or flakes away at the slightest touch.
What Causes Rust?
Rust affects both steel and iron. It is the result of oxidation, the process when hydrogen and oxygen atoms bond with the iron atoms in the two metals.
Also known as iron oxide, rust is a chemical that can slowly corrode the metal until it compromises its structural integrity. A structure weakened by rust is a hazard, so you must keep rust from forming on your steel deck as much as possible.
Water is not the only agent that causes metals to rust, although it accelerates the process considerably. Moisture in the air can also expose the deck to oxygen and hydrogen. Electrolytes like salt can also aid in rusting; that’s why metal window frames in houses near the ocean rust faster.
How Does Rust Affect a Deck Made of Steel?
Rust can engulf the planks of your metal decking if left unattended. The oxide makes the metal brittle and prone to breaking. As a result, the ferrous slabs become weaker and bond poorly with concrete. Over time, the metalwork could collapse when it has taken too much weight.
Regular maintenance is a must when you have steel decking, especially when it is placed outdoors. Constant exposure to the elements ensures rusting as time passes.
How Do You Avoid Rust on Your Steel Deck?
You can perform preventive maintenance by applying red oxide primer paint to your steel surfaces. Fortunately, most contractors usually apply a coat of surface primer to their materials before installing your decking. However, you’ll still need to use primer when signs of rust appear on your ferrous surfaces.
How Does a Primer Protect Against Rust?
Red oxide primers perform two functions. First, it provides a non-porous layer that prevents the paint from directly adhering to the steel deck. As its name suggests, it works similarly to the primer paints for wood and concrete. Like these two primers, you can apply a top coat over the red layer once it dries up.
The non-porous layer also prevents moisture from seeping through the top coat and into the metal surface. This protects the steel or iron from rusting because the hydrogen and oxygen atoms won’t be able to interact with the ferrous metal.
Can a Primer Restore a Rusted Deck?
It takes considerable work, but you can restore a rusted deck to its prime condition. First, you must remove the rust from the surface. Light rusting will remove easily with a wire brush or high-grit sandpaper. Heavily-rusted metals, however, will need either an angle grinder or a drill with a wire wheel attachment.
Once most of the rust has been scraped off the iron or steel, you can start applying red oxide or rust converting primer. A rust converting primer prevents existing rust from worsening by turning it into a polymer coat. This paint makes the rusted surface black, over which you can apply a protective coat.
Segments of ferrous metals that have been broken by rust need to be removed or replaced. No amount of restoration will make these fragments strong enough to withstand the weight the deck needs to support.
Are There Metals That Resist Rusting?
Some metals can resist or delay the onset of rust on their surfaces. Galvanization infuses a top layer of zinc over the bare ferrous surface, resulting in galvanized steel or iron.
How Does Galvanization Prevent Rust?
An extra layer of zinc slows down the corrosion rate and creates a protective cover over the ferrous metal. When exposed to moisture, the zinc coating bonds with hydrogen and oxygen and becomes zinc hydroxide. Carbon dioxide in the environment turns this into zinc carbonate. The zinc carbonate then shields the underlying layer from exposure to destructive elements.
Galvanizing ferrous elements can prolong the shelf and service lives of the steel and iron decking significantly. However, remember that the zinc coating only delays the corrosion; rust will eventually form, but it will take longer than bare steel or iron.
Check Out Our Steel Deck Projects
The fear of rust should not stop you from reaping the benefits of installing steel decks. Maintenance will keep the corrosion at bay for a long time. In the meantime, take a look at our various metal decking projects. You can also call us now and learn more about our offerings.