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Benefits and Rusting Capabilities of Corten Steel

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Often used interchangeably, Corten and weathering steel are essentially the same material and offer high strength and corrosion resistance. Corten steel is ideal for outdoor architectural and landscaping projects. Often used for its aesthetics, Corten steel will exhibit a patina (rust) that provides a protective layer from corrosion and atmospheric elements. Corten steel’s appeal includes the ability to use the steel in a range of applications without the need for initial painting and maintenance upkeep.

Learn more about Corten steel and how you can use it for a variety of outdoor architectural applications.

Corten Steel Basics

While Corten and weathering steels are often interchangeable, COR-TEN® is a branded, trademarked, proprietary steel. COR reflects corrosion resistance and TEN reflects tensile strength. Due to its name recognition, weathering steels are often called Corten steel. There are ASTM also specifications that reflect equivalent Corten types. 

ASTM Weathering Steel Designations

ASTM weathering steels reflects specifications for low-alloy, high-strength structural steels. ASTM weathering steel options include:
  • ASTM A588 - Uses include applications that require structural shapes and steel bar
  • ASTM A242 - Specification used for steel plate
  • ASTM A606-4 - Ideal for cold-rolled or hot-rolled steel sheet or coil
  • ASTM A709-50W - Commonly used for bridgework, options include steel plate and bar
  • ASTM A847 - Ideal for steel tubing and pipe

Corten Steel and Rust

Although Corten steel is corrosion resistant, it is not completely rust-proof. How long Corten steel lasts and how quickly the protective layer of rust develops is largely dependent upon the climate and environmental factors.
  • Generally, Corten steel will patina or rust within 6 months of atmospheric exposure. Most weathering steel types need cycles of wet/dry weather to develop and oxidize.
  • With the protective rust that provides corrosion resistance, Corten steel can last upwards of a few decades to over 100 years.
  • To inhibit Corten to rust faster, saltwater or a mixture of salt solutions mixed with vinegar and peroxide can speed up the rust process

Weathering Steel Advantages

Although Corten steel is primarily used for aesthetic purposes, additional benefits of weathering steel include:
  • Low maintenance corten steel building
  • Cost-effective
  • Long-term durability
  • Perfect for heavy-duty applications such as bridgework
View Corten Steel Sheet

Applications for ASTM A606 Type 4 Steel

Applications where Corten steel is preferred include:
  • Bridgework
  • Outdoor sculptures
  • Landscaping work/gardens
  • Marine applications
  • Roofing
  • Sign posts

Find High-Quality Corten Sheet and Plate

Let us help you find the right Corten sheet and plate for your architectural projects. IMS stocks Corten sheet and plate in a variety of thicknesses. We also offer custom cut-to-size services for all your metal service needs. Stop by one of our CA or AZ locations or request a quote online today.
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