First pioneered roughly two centuries ago, galvanization involves applying a rust-resistant protective zinc coating to iron or steel. The process involves dipping iron or steel into molten zinc to form a chemical bond between two metals and forming a crystalline layer over the surface of building materials.
GALVALUME® improves upon traditional galvanization to produce a final product that is more durable and less corrosive. But these two benefits don’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the tremendous advantages that GALVALUME® has to offer.
What is GALVALUME®?
First developed by the leading steel manufacturer Bethlehem Steel in 1972, GALVALUME® is a carbon steel base product that is coated by an alloy of other substances. Specifically, this coating is comprised of roughly 55% aluminum, 43% zinc, and 2% silicone. Makers of GALVALUME® metal achieve this delicate balance by hot-dipping steel sheets repeatedly in a molten alloy mixture.
GALVALUME® metal is widely used in the construction of commercial buildings. It is particularly prevalent as a roofing material for projects with architectural properties that make metal roofs the sturdiest and safest option for the intended use of the interior space beneath it. Structures that benefit from range GALVALUME® metal roofing range from supermarkets and stores to hospitals and schools
Many residential construction projects also rely on GALVALUME® metal as a prime roofing material. Modern condominiums and other residential buildings with sleek, contemporary styling are best suited to benefit from both the unique aesthetic appearance and numerous practical advantages of GALVALUME® metal.
Galvanization vs GALVALUME®
The chemical bonding of the traditional galvanization process makes it far more difficult for abrasive elements to damage the coating that it places over steel construction materials. This makes the steel remarkably resistant to the ravages of wind, precipitation, and other natural forces. Over time, however, this coating will gradually wear away. It is also generally susceptible to penetration by blunt force.
When a galvanized coating becomes damaged, it leaves the steel beneath vulnerable to corrosion. And after the corrosion process begins, it won’t stop until it covers the entire surface area of the metal, causing the steel core to shed the bonded and galvanized layer that once protected it.
GALVALUME®, by contrast, offers all of the basic protection of galvanization while also preventing corrosion. As in galvanization, the zinc in GALVALUME® bonds chemically with steel to create a barrier to moisture. However, GALVALUME® coating also contains aluminum, which provides additional protection by resisting corrosion. Even if GALVALUME® metal is damaged by a nick or scratch, the naturally anti-corrosive qualities of aluminum will keep any corrosion in this damaged area from spreading throughout the rest of the panel.
The Many Benefits of GALVALUME®
The primary advantage of the GALVALUME® process is the dramatic increase in corrosion resistance that it provides. In fact, GALVALUME® metal is twice as corrosion resistant as standard galvanized metal.
This additional corrosion resistance is particularly important in marine environments that tend to subject buildings to high levels of humidity and frequent contact with salt water. Traditional galvanized metal simply fails to provide adequate protection, making GALVALUME® metal the only truly viable option.
However, the anti-corrosive properties of GALVALUME® are only the beginning of its multitudinous and expansive benefits. Over its half-century in widespread use, GALVALUME® metal has proven itself to be:
- Light – GALVALUME® coating adds no significant weight to the steel, allowing it to retain its high strength-to-weight ratio.
- Versatile – GALVALUME® metal can be bent, rolled, stamped, and fabricated to fit into virtually any space and serve virtually any purpose. It can also be directly installed over existing materials that range from wood to asphalt.
- Flexible – Even when GALVALUME® metal is bent or formed, its protective coating won’t crack or flake.
- Self-healing – The cut edges on GALVALUME® metal feature a creep that allows it to heal from red rusting at the edges and stop the growth of any discoloration.
- Energy efficient – Because it offers superior reflectance in direct sunlight GALVALUME® metal reduces heat absorption through roof panels to cut air-conditioning costs in the summer as well as heating costs in the winter.
- Fire-resistant – Because it can withstand high temperatures, GALVALUME® offers protection in the event of a fire.
- Affordable – GALVALUME® metal is quite reasonably priced, costing roughly the same per foot as galvanized steel.
- Enduring – Because its maintenance and repair requirements are minimal, GALVALUME® metal provides additional cost savings over time. While a galvanized steel roof begins to show its age after roughly 10 to 15 years, a GALVALUME® steel roof can last between 40 and 60 with no appreciable change in function or appearance.
Contact SteelCo Buildings
We offer our clients the option to use GALVALUME® for their steel building. To learn more about our products or to begin building your SteelCo building, contact us today.