3 Key Differences Between Stainless and Galvanized Steel

Stainless and galvanized steel are commonly used in construction sites and other industrial applications. Because these materials look alike, they are often mistaken for one another. However, there are three key differences between stainless and galvanized steel that you should know about.

Composition

The main difference between galvanized and stainless steel is their composition. Although both materials are made of steel, they are manufactured using very different processes.

Galvanized steel is made by dipping ordinary steel pipe into molten zinc or an electrolyte solution that contains zinc. This method gives the material a protective coating that helps it prevent corrosion.

On the other hand, stainless steel is made by mixing ordinary steel and chromium while both materials are molten. The ratio between the two components varies depending on the type of stainless steel that needs to be manufactured. The mixture is then cooled into several shapes, whichever are needed for the batch. Then, the stainless steel is treated using acid to remove any impurities that may have stuck to the surface.

Because the process of creating galvanized steel is much simpler, this material is cheaper than stainless steel.

Characteristics

The different compositions of galvanized and stainless steel give these materials varying characteristics.

Compared to stainless steel, galvanized steel is more ductile. The zinc coating of the material allows it to be shaped and molded without cracking.

On the other hand, although stainless steel is less ductile, it is a more durable material compared to galvanized steel. Stainless steel has high tensile strength that allows it to withstand a large amount of force without breaking.

Stainless steel can also resist corrosion better than galvanized steel. Because galvanized steel only has a coating of zinc on its outer layer, it can be damaged by rust after some time. Meanwhile, stainless steel contains chromium, which helps it prevent rusting for a long time.

Uses

Although they are found in construction sites and industrial settings, stainless and galvanized steel are used in different applications. This is understandable given the differences in the compositions and characteristics of these materials.

Because it is less durable and a lot cheaper, galvanized steel is often used for smaller projects. Most of the time it is used for the following applications:

  • House pipes and fittings
  • House roofs
  • Air-conditioning equipment
  • Chain link fencing
  • Benches
  • Balconies
  • Staircases
  • Walkways

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is used for larger plans because of its durability and high tensile strength. It is often used in projects that involve a lot of heavy lifting and thicker elements, such as:

  • Skyscraper, bridge, and railway construction
  • Monuments
  • Sculptures
  • Car and airplane manufacturing
Steel for Buildings

Choosing Between Galvanized and Stainless Steel

Deciding between these two materials depends on the project that you are working on. If you are completing a project that does not need heavy-duty materials and you do not have a large budget, you should consider choosing galvanized steel. It is still durable than non-steel materials even if it is weaker than stainless steel.

However, if you are working on a large-scale project that involves heavy components, you should obtain stainless steel. This material can provide you with the durability that you need without having to worry about corrosion.

If you need expert help deciding which kind of steel pipe to use for your project, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are committed to helping you complete your projects successfully.