Corten Weathering Steel

Corten Weathering Steel

Corten weathering steel, also known as Corten resistant steel, or simply COR-TEN, is a combination of steel alloys that develop a protective, rust-colored coating when they are exposed to weather. This eliminates the need to paint the metal by giving it a natural and agreeable rustic appearance. The name Corten is a mashup of the metal’s properties: Cor for corrosion resistance, and Ten for tensile strength.

The Short Iron Store sells Corten resistant steel and other specialty metals for your use in art and construction projects. Just give us a call, and we’ll happily help you select the metal that best suits your needs. For outdoor sculptures and structures, Corten steel can be a good-looking and weather-resistant choice. The more it rusts, the better it looks, and the more protection it has from corrosion. Let’s take a closer look at this unique steel and its uses.


The Properties of Corten Steel

Weathering steel forms a stable, rusty appearance after about six months of exposure to weather, though the time required to obtain this effect can be shortened to as little as two hours with surface treatments. The unique nature of Corten resistant steel is that it resists corrosion, but forms a complete outer layer of rust that protects the underlying steel from damage.

It is important to note that the steel must go through wet and dry cycles in order for the weathering effect to take place. Corten steel will not develop its protective layer if it is kept underwater or in muddy conditions. Ocean water can also corrode the steel before it can become weathered, so it is not recommended for use on or near the shore.

No special actions are needed to begin the weathering process. Once it is exposed to water, Corten resistant weathering steel will start to rust. It won’t stop rusting until it fully forms an outer layer of rust that shields the rest of the metal from corrosion. The rust actually acts as an efficient protective barrier.

So far, Corten resistant steel seems to have a very long lifespan. Some of the earliest artwork and structures made from this metal are still holding up well after five decades, with no deterioration in sight. To get the most life out of Corten steel, we recommend using a heavy gauge steel and keeping it in an ideal environment where it can cycle through periods of wetness and dryness.


Uses for Corten Weathering Steel

Weathering steel is a popular metal for outdoor furniture and artwork because of its toughness and its charming antique appearance. It has also been heavily used in bridge construction, marine transportation, and architecture. Corten resistant steel was the metal of choice for the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois. That was the steel’s debut as an architectural material, and it has been going strong ever since.


Need Corten Resistant Steel? We Have It!

The Short Iron Store specializes in bringing your project to completion, from start to finish. We are here to assist you in buying, processing, and delivering stainless steel, aluminum, steel and other specialty metals like Corten weathering steel. Unlike other companies out there, we take the time to educate our customers and walk with them through every phase of their idea. We help them choose the materials that will best bring their vision to life and give them the best possible outcome for their project.

If you’re interested in using Corten resistant weathering steel for your artwork or architecture, call the Short Iron Store today! We bring you the very best in metal supply at a price you can afford.

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