Which is Better? Our Scoop on Hot-dipped Galvanizing vs Epoxy Coating
There was a time when epoxy coating was a common option to treat and protect steel before using it in construction projects. But with every passing year, hot-dipped galvanizing proves to be the better option. This is for a few reasons. Steel and concrete both accept the resulting zinc coating produced by galvanizing better than they accept epoxy. This happier chemical relationship saves money and time throughout the project’s lifespan.
In the hot-dipped galvanizing vs epoxy coating competition, we are certain galvanizing is the clear winner. We are so confident in hot-dipped galvanizing’s results, we offer the service ourselves . Here’s why we think galvanizing your steel is better than using an epoxy coating.
Hot-Dipped Galvanizing vs Epoxy Coating: Know the Differences and Why They’re Important
When comparing hot-dipped galvanizing and epoxy coating, there are several major differences to consider.
Hot-dip galvanizing involves creating a protective coating around fabricated steel by dipping it in a vat of molten zinc, then allowing the zinc to bond with the steel as it cools. By comparison, an epoxy coating is typically sprayed onto the surface of the steel. This creates a protective film that sits on top of the steel but does not form a chemical bond with it.
These two treatments offer very different results, some of which are better suited to different construction projects. Galvanized steel coatings are a silver-gray color that can appear matte or shiny if treated and polished the right way. Epoxy coatings look plastic and can be different colors, like gray or green.
The upfront costs of galvanized materials can be higher, which can make some builders and designers reconsider using them. But, as we’ll explain more in the next section, the strengths of galvanized materials mean less cost in the long run.
The epoxy coating may be a good option for small or residential projects where it will stand alone and not be installed inside concrete. But for commercial builds and projects that need steel to support the structure, hot dip galvanizing is the better choice.
Is Hot-Dipped Galvanizing Better? Why We Think So
In our opinion at South Atlantic, the winner of hot-dipped galvanizing vs epoxy coating is galvanizing every time. We stand behind hot-dipped galvanizing because it creates more resilient materials that can withstand harsh conditions and minimize extra costs during the build and afterward.
The hot-dip galvanizing process creates a zinc coating that bonds to the steel and actually continues to protect it from corrosion. It does this through its unique self-healing properties, which are able to strengthen and repair scratched areas on the coating’s surface when they come into contact with water.
This makes galvanized materials more durable for transportation and infrastructure. After hot-dipped galvanizing, the steel itself is strengthened because of the coating. This also helps it handle harsh weather and temperatures better than steel with epoxy coatings.
Instead of waiting for the perfect weather conditions or for new materials to replace the compromised ones, a project that uses galvanized steel can stay on budget and on schedule . This super-power coating is also a perfect partner for concrete. When galvanized materials are in contact with concrete, they form a mutually beneficial bond as the zinc from the coating enters the concrete itself. This strengthens the concrete around the materials while also creating an extra layer of protection for the steel.
This saves money during the build by reducing how much overlap space is needed to build a secure frame for larger projects. It also significantly cuts down repair and maintenance costs for the long term, as the coating on galvanized materials can maintain like-new thickness for decades.
How Long Does hot-dipped Galvanizing Last? Plus, How It Beats the Odds
The question, “how long does hot-dipped galvanizing last?” is a hard one to answer for a good reason: galvanized materials keep outlasting the projects that use them. Time and time again steel that has been hot-dip galvanized is shown to maintain its thickness and durability 40, 50, and even 60+ years after its initial installation. These successes led to hot-dipped galvanizing and its materials earning a reputation for having a “100-year lifespan.” While there are many examples to prove this, here are a few we’ve covered on the blog:
- The repair and reconstruction of the New York State Thruway Authority’s bridges and roads
- The Longbird Bridge in Bermuda, which crosses a saltwater harbor and is hit hard by hurricanes
- The Pennsylvania DOT’s repair of several bridge decks on Route 66
In the first example, the New York State Thruway Authority tried to use epoxy-coated rebar during the first round of repairs on their roadways. But the coatings cracked so soon, the roads were left in disrepair again in a short time. They decided to experiment with using galvanized rebar instead to fix one of the bridges.
The results were so impressive, they used galvanized materials for the remainder of the repairs and continue to use them in projects today. So, we’re not the only ones who think the winner of hot-dipped galvanizing vs epoxy coating is clear.
Hot-dipped galvanizing creates materials that last because the zinc coating continues repairing itself. When the galvanized materials are placed within concrete, the zinc immediately gets to work moving into it, merging particles to form a stronger bond.
Then if anything does cause the coating to scratch, the zinc works on healing and protecting itself when water tries to get in and cause corrosion. Using galvanized materials is like installing a repair crew within the steel itself: it works that well.
Looking for Superior Building Materials? At South Atlantic, We’ve Got You Covered
Hot-dipped galvanizing is the best way to protect your steel materials, keep your project on schedule, and save costs without compromising. We are proud to hot-dip galvanize materials that we purchase directly from American mills to fit your needs. With over 50 years of experience, we have the knowledge and skills to be the only supplier you’ll need to call for your construction and infrastructure projects.
Fill out our contact form here to get started: southatlanticllc.com/galvanizing/contact.