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How Does Galvanizing Work?

In Canada, and most other parts of the world, when you buy metal fencing, like chain link fencing, the product you buy will be galvanized. But what is galvanizing, and why does it matter to your fence?

Here's what you need to know about what galvanizing is, how it works, and how it protects your chain link fence.

What Is Galvanizing?

Galvanizing is a process that uses heat to deposit a layer of zinc on the surface of steel. Since zinc doesn't oxidise the way steel does, this layer protects the underlying steel, but galvanizing also has an interesting way of "healing" itself, when it's damaged. This process is what makes galvanizing a "sacrificial coating" which means that even when it's scratched or damaged, zinc will sacrifice itself to protect surrounding steel.

How Is Galvanizing Applied?

The most common method of applying galvanizing to steel is through a process known as hot dipping. Steel items are literally dipped into a vat of molten zinc. This causes the top layer of the steel to melt and create an alloy with the steel below. This alloy layer also helps to ensure that the steel stays protected, even when the coating is damaged.

Why Should You Always Choose Galvanized Metal Fences

Whether you're buying chain link fencing or any other kind of metal fence, it's important that the product you choose is galvanized. Even if it's painted or coated with some other material (like powder coating), the steel needs to be protected by galvanizing in order to ensure that it won't rust. Even painted steel products can rust under their color coating, and most people have seen the unsightly bubbles that guarantee that there's something bad happening just under the top layer.

Protecting Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel is pretty tough, and it will protect most steel that is installed inland and not in heavy industrial environments for twenty years or more - but it's not infallible.

Cutting, welding and drilling through galvanizing without proper treatment can weaken the coating layer, and might leave your new fence susceptible to rust. Even the hot sparks from these activities (known as swarf) can damage the coating, as well as any paint or powder coating on other parts of the fence.

We always recommend that installers do as little on site fabrication and modification to metal fences as possible, and that when they do, they ensure that they have the right kind of touch up paint available to treat the areas immediately. We sell these products in this store, and of course, all of our metal fences are galvanized to the highest standards, so you get a long lasting, quality product.