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Why Corten Steel Alternatives May Suit Your Project

With its weathered look and earthy, rusty colouring, Corten Steel has been a popular material for art sculptures, landscaping designs and industrial-inspired projects. The material, however, does pose some major issues for architects and designers. Here are some reasons why you should consider an aluminium Corten alternative over real weathered steel for your project. 

Steel is very heavy

Steel is a heavy building material that requires extra labour or sometimes heavy machinery to install it. To maximise cost efficiency, it is ideal to specify lightweight, easy-to-transport products that require minimal labour and equipment for installation. Choosing a lightweight alternative such as aluminium can significantly reduce costs by minimising the total hours of labour required and transport needed to move the material, plus lower the required strength of the building. I.e. can be installed on buildings without extra structural support. 

Durability

Corten or Weathering Steel will never completely stop rusting, but it does eventually decrease and start to build a protective coating for the base of the metal. It is this protective coating that essentially stops any corrosion. In order to properly form a protective layer, the Corten steel requires alternating dry and wet weather. The durability and corrosion resistance of Corten decreases dramatically in areas that have high sea-salt air, rainfall and humidity, meaning it can be difficult to use and maintain. 

When looking at Corten alternatives, aluminium building products have an extended lifespan, which is enhanced by aluminium’s inherent corrosion resistance. The same natural oxide ‘skin’ that protects aluminium from corrosion provides superior resistance to weather conditions. The strength and durability of aluminium, especially when powder coated, have seen it utilised across a wide range of projects. 

Runoff stains and discolouring 

A major issue associated with Corten steel is the rust runoff that will likely stain surrounding areas. Architects and designers must ensure that rainwater runoff will not settle on other materials or surfaces used on the project as this can cause them to discolour. Conversely, a sublimated rust-look finish used on an aluminium product does not actually rust, so the product will not degrade any further or produce colour runoff. It will also never discolour its surrounding materials, making it extremely low maintenance.

Get the look you want instantly 

With real weathered steel there is no specific timeframe on how long the patina finish will take to develop. There are multiple factors that affect the steel to achieve the orange-brown oxide finish. You can achieve an instant rust-look effect with a powder coated and sublimated aluminium product

Architectural rust-Look finishes for aluminium

DECO’s powder coated and sublimated rust-look finish for aluminium can be used for a wide variety of projects and is ideal for exterior applications on facades or outdoor features. The finish can also be applied for interior applications such as feature walls and ceilings.  It can also be applied to DECO’s range of architectural products.

To order a sample of DECO’s four rust-look finishes, please click here

Deco's rust-look finishes

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