Understanding White Rust And How To Remove It From Your Steel Roof

Business Articles

If you have recently had a steel roof installed on your business, then you may have decided to reduce costs by opting for an exposed seam corrugated roof instead of a standing seam variety with a coating. These types of roofs can last a long time, but you will need to look for signs of white rust. Keep reading to learn about the rust and how it can be removed.

What Is White Rust?

The corrugated panels that are made for roofing applications are created out of galvanized steel. Galvanized steel is covered in a layer of zinc, and this metal forms a barrier over the steel to keep it from being exposed to the outdoor environment. Zinc is added to steel through a hot dip, zinc plating, or electroplating process. The zinc coating forms its own barrier that is made up zinc ions, and this barrier keeps the metal underneath from reacting with water. The zinc ion coating is somewhat fragile when it is new, and it can succumb to oxidation. Oxidation typically forms where the roofing panels come into contact with water over a period of time. This means that overlapping areas around seams are most likely to form white rust. Rusting can also occur if the metal roof is in direct contact with a copper, lead, or other metal item. The oxidation can spread out over the zinc ion coating, so you should inspect your steel roof carefully for signs of the rust.

White rust is white in color and may appear waxy on the surface when it first forms. When the rust starts to dry out, it will have a powdery texture and wear off. Both types of the white rust can be removed fairly easily, and removal is best to reduce widespread oxidation concerns. 

How Can White Rust Be Removed?

If you notice white rust, then you should first look for metal objects that come into contact with the roof and are made out of a different type of material. For example, a copper weathervane may be causing the corrosion problem. Afterwards, remove the oxidation. White rust can be removed with a variety of different techniques. If the rust is fresh, then you may be able to brush the oxidation away with a cotton cloth or a small nylon bristle broom. If this does not work, then you can eat through or dissolve the corrosion with the help of a mild acid like vinegar. Pour a small amount of vinegar on the oxidation and allow it to sit for several minutes. Rinse the vinegar away afterwards and wash the area with soap and water.

If the vinegar does not remove the white rust, then you may need to gently sand the oxidation away. Use either a wire brush or a 120 to 220 piece of fine grit sandpaper to gently work the oxidation away. 

How Do I Protect The Corroded Metal?

If you have used a brush or a small amount of vinegar to remove the white rust, then you can help the zinc build a new ion coating by placing some zinc rich fluid on the area. You can purchase a fluid zinc supplement from your local health food store and place it on the roof. Tap water is also rich in zinc, so add a small amount of tap water to the area and allow it to sit.

If you have sanded the area or used a wire brush to remove oxidation, then purchase a can of galvanizing compound or zinc aerosol primer. This primer contains flakes of zinc mixed with a clear resin or epoxy. Spray the compound on the treated area. 

For more help dealing with corrosion and issues on your roof, contact a company like Upson Company.


2 September 2016

Learning About Building A Dedicated Team Of Employees

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