October 21, 2021 in Iron, Steel

How to Prevent Rust |Phoenix, AZ|

Rust poses a big challenge for any construction project—not only because it’s unsightly, but it also threatens the stability of a structure. At Arizona Iron Supply in Phoenix, we specialize in iron and steel because we believe they are the highest-quality metals on the market. But you do have to take some precautions when working with these metals. In today’s post, we’ll talk about how to prevent rust. Be sure to also check out our last post on metals that don’t rust

What is Rust? 

Rust is a form of iron oxide. It occurs when iron combines with oxygen in the air causing it to corrode. Rust can affect iron and its alloys, including steel. Water is the main catalyst for rust. If the metal is also exposed to salt in seawater, the breakdown will happen more quickly. Exposure to sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide will also speed up the corrosive process.

Although iron and steel structures seem solid to the eye, water molecules are able to penetrate microscopic gaps in the metal. This starts the process of rusting. Rust causes the metal to expand and weaken, which places a lot of stress on the structure as a whole. 


Galvanization coats the surface of the metal with an external layer of metallic zinc through a specific process called hot-dip galvanizing or electroplating. The zinc layer prevents corrosive substances from penetrating further into the metal and damaging it. 


There are specific design considerations during the planning phase of a project that can minimize water exposure that causes rust. 

  • Avoid cavities and crevices where water will run through 
  • Make sure joints are welded, not bolted
  • Add drainage holes for water 
  • Allow air to freely circulate
  • Create access that allows for regular maintenance, especially for larger structures


Organic coatings, such as paint, are a cost-effective way to protect against rust. The paint forms a barrier against corrosive elements, like water and oxygen. Oil-based paint coatings are the best option for preventing rust. 


Bluing offers partial protection against rust for small steel items. The term “bluing” is named after the blue-black appearance of the finish after the technique is performed. Blueing is commonly used in the manufacturing of firearms to provide some corrosion resistance. The bluing process is carried out by submerging the steel into a solution of potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide and water.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is advised to stop rust from forming and to halt the progress of any rust that has occurred. Removing any rust that has formed is essential. Use warm water and soap to remove any surface grime. And, lastly, a rust-resistant coating should be applied to the surface.

Stop by Our Warehouse! 

If you have any more questions about how to prevent rust for your next project, give us a call or stop by our Phoenix warehouse. At Arizona Iron Supply, we pride ourselves on providing you with quality products and excellent service!

Image by Gerhard Gellinger from Pixabay