Internal steelwork

Inside heated buildings, where the steel is concealed from view, no protective coating is generally required. Consequently, it is now practice to use unprotected steelwork, except where the steel penetrates the envelope. For largely visual reasons, a thin coat (25 microns) of shop primer may be applied before delivery to site.

Where the steel is exposed to view internally, a decorative coat (often an alkyd) on a suitable primer (usually a zinc phosphate) may be applied. If an intumescent paint is used as fire protection, advice should be sought from the specialist paint manufacturer to ensure compatibility between it and any decorative coating.

Steelwork within perimeter walls is more susceptible to corrosion, particularly if the steel is in contact with, or embedded in, the outer leaf of a masonry wall. Bitumen, zinc-rich epoxy and pitch epoxy coatings are commonly used in such situations.

For industrial, or other more potentially severe environments, a wide range of options and coatings are available, from the use of weathering steels to metallic coatings, such as galvanizing or aluminium spray. General guidelines on the use of metallic coatings are given in BS EN 14713. Provided the individual steel pieces are small, hot-dip galvanizing can be a cost-effective option.

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