Sheet Metal Wall Rust: The Cold Truth

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Written By Will Dietrich

I love gardening, building, making and fixing things. 





Sheet metal provides a variety of construction options. Sheet metal wall panels, metal roofing panels, as well as sheet metal doors are made from either iron or steel, which is a ferrous metal. However as with all ferrous metals you’re sheet metal wall is likely to encounter one thing – sheet metal wall rust.

Why is your sheet metal wall rusting?

Ferrous metals are prone to rust when exposed to oxygen and water. The best way to prevent rust is to keep the area dry and clean. If you want to prevent rust, you should use stainless steel instead of iron. You also need to take into consideration which adhesive you used. If it’s not strong enough, then water can get into the joint between the two pieces of steel and cause corrosion.

How do I stop my sheet metal walls from rusting?

There are a number of ways to prevent and shield your metal sheet walls from rusting, they mainly involve treating the metal chemically. Most of the things here you won’t be able to do with your standard tool cupboard, you will need to buy them or even enlist the services of a professional.

Use an Alloy:  An alloy, such as stainless steel, is one of the most popular tried and tested metals used to hinder the development of rust.

Galvanize: Galvanize it. Galvanizing is one of our all time favorites, what it does is it essentially coats the iron or steel in zinc to shield it from rust.

Bluing: Another favorite of ours. This process involves creating a layer of magnetite over the metal in order to prevent rust. However metal that has been blued requires more maintenance as it must be oiled regularly.

Apply Oil: A good coating of oil will slow the rusting process down. How? Oil actually inhibits the moisture from reaching the iron atoms within the metal. Take extra caution using tools on an oily surface.

Paint the Metal: A good quality paint will slow down rusting by preventing moisture from reaching the metal.

Correct Storage: It’s a good idea to store metal parts or products in a low-moisture area or inside a temperature and humidity controlled environment. The use of a drying agents is also advised.

Powder Coating: Coat the metal in a layer of acrylic, epoxy, vinyl or other substances, what it will do is it will shield the metal from moisture thereby stopping rust.

How long does it take for a sheet metal wall to decay?

It depends on several factors including: type of material used, thickness of the sheet metal, amount of time exposed to rain/water. However, most people say that it takes about 10 years for a sheet metal wall structure to start showing signs of deterioration. That means that even though you’ve had your house built 5 years ago, you still need to worry about keeping your home dry proofed. Sheet metal walls just take longer than wood walls to show their age. In fact, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, typical sheet metal wall will begin to deteriorate after approximately ten years. So while you might think that your new sheet metal walls are going to stay looking great for decades, you’d probably be wrong.

What Should I Do About Water Damage From Rain?

If you notice that your sheet metal walls are starting to look rusty, chances are that you already know that you have a leak somewhere within your metal roofing. But since we all want to avoid spending money unnecessarily, here are three things you can do right now to save money later.

1) Check around windows and doors for leaks.

2) Look for cracks in concrete slabs

3) Use a waterproof membrane over existing siding.

Filling Holes on a Damaged Metal Roofing Panel

Filling any holes is also key to reducing the rust as plugging the holes will reduce water exposure to the sheet metal walls. Locate any holes in the metal roofing panel and get them filled in, it would be best to use auto-filler or for a less expensive option another adhesive for metal, such as epoxy glue. Make sure to clear up any metal fragments.

In short the best way to prevent any rust to your sheet metal walls is to treat your metal walls, ideally by galvanizing them, or upgrading your walls to galvanized stainless steel coil. Prevention is key here. Also it’s important to make sure that you choose the best materials available. You don’t want to end up with a damaged product because you didn’t pay attention to detail when choosing your metal siding panels. If you follow these tips, you’ll ensure that your project goes smoothly without any problems.

Depending on whether you used custom widths or standard widths, you may find it easier to replace metal walls that are no longer usable.


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