A Guide to Galvanized Steel

“Not all steel is created equal. Behrens steel is more durable than plastic and resistant to rodent, rust, and odor.”

Even if you’re not in the metal industry, you’ve surely heard the term “galvanized steel.” But do you know what, exactly, it means? What it’s used for? And the benefits of using it? At Behrens, we’ve been manufacturing galvanized steel products for more than 100 years. Generations have used and enjoyed our products, from traditional pails and buckets to more recent bird feeders and compost pail introductions. We manufacture galvanized steel products for a reason: they’re quite simply the best. And we’re happy to tell you why.

From our experts at Behrens, here are the basics of Galvanized Steel 101.

What is galvanized steel?

Galvanizing is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel. Why zinc? It’s key in the prevention of rust. Steel, on its own, can rust in reaction to elements like air, rain and snow. Applying the zinc coating, or galvanizing, prevents rust from occurring. It provides a long-lasting, highly durable, weather-, chemical-, and rodent-resistant finish, which is shiny and looks like new even after years of use.

There are two different types of galvanized steel: Regular galvanized steel, which we just described, and hot dipped galvanized steel.

Hot dipped galvanized steel
The most common form of galvanizing is the “hot dip” method. According to the American Galvanizers Association, hot dipping has been used since 1742. It immerses steel in a hot bath of molten zinc, which provides “maintenance-free corrosion protection at a reasonable price.” Hot dipping creates a very different finish and look than the shiny finish of galvanized steel products. Hot dipped products have a more textured, rustic finish, rather than the smooth, shiny look of galvanized steel. But it’s not just about looks. Hot dipping seals the product for wet or dry contents.

Little-known fact: In 1772, Luigi Galvani discovered the process that took on his name during an experiment with, of all things, frog legs.