Does Black Pipe Rust?

Black pipe refers to plain steel pipe without any protective coating. They are commonly used in home constructions, especially as gas pipes and plumbing systems. Since black pipes are not coated, they can easily rust when exposed to environmental conditions such as water and oxygen. Therefore, does black pipe rust?

Yes, black pipe rusts. Black pipe is made of steel without or with a rough coating of black oxide. When the iron starts to rust, it eventually creates holes in the pipe.

Black pipe is reliable against rust, but it isn’t entirely rust-proof. The areas of your black pipe most susceptible to rust are threaded connections and pipe contours that retain the most moisture after wet weather.

You can prevent rusting in those areas by clearing debris out of threads with a wire brush before connecting pipes and applying an anti-rust coating to pipe contours that are likely to be wet.

Avoid creating conditions that promote rust in the first place, especially where you are cutting and threading pipes. With this information, you will know more about black pipe and its usefulness.

The Difference Between Black Pipe, Stainless Steel, And Galvanized Pipe

Steel is an affordable material that is very durable and eco-friendly thus is readily sought for several building projects. It comes in numerous types such as black pipe, galvanized pipe, and stainless steel.

Galvanized pipe is steel or iron pipe protected with a zinc material to increase the resistance of the pipe to rust and corrosion. The steel is dipped into molten zinc as zinc is more resistant to rust. This type of pipe is commonly used by outsiders in water supply systems to houses or building areas.

Black Pipe, Stainless Steel, And Galvanized Pipe

Unlike galvanized pipe that is coated, pipes made of stainless steel on the other hand have a mix of other materials infused in them. Materials such as carbon, chromium, and nickel are added to molten steel and cool together.

Black pipe on the other hand is also much different from the others because it has no other material in it and is made without steam. It is just steel and appears darker than the other types of steel pipes. Not a sad thing though as it is more fire-resistant than galvanized pipe and that is why it is mostly used for fire sprinklers.

The lifespan of black pipe

Due to the absence of a protective cover on these pipes, they easily get affected by rust. It is not uncommon to see rust stains on the pipes within three or four days of leaving black pipes exposed.

The lifespan of black pipe

However, there is no fixed age for black pipes as several factors could affect them. For instance, black pipes that are used for gas or sprinkler systems in homes could last as long as 50 or 100 years.  On the other hand, if used for underground systems or that are in contact with water could get rusted within a short time.

Uses of black pipes

Black pipes have a high level of strength and are used for several things.

  • The major use of black pipes is as channels for transporting water and gas to houses both in rural and urban areas. They are also used to transport these essentials within houses. Because they would rust when exposed to water, they are not used for transporting potable water.
  • They are also used for transporting steam, air, and sewage within houses and housing units.
  • Black pipes are also used as conduits for wiring as they protect the wires.
  • They also found usage in the petroleum industry for large transportation of oil and gas to remote areas.

How To Protect The Black Pipe From Rusting?

Black pipe is a plain steel pipe that makes it easier for rusting to take place. Therefore a lot of preventive methods have to be considered with time to ensure it serves the end-user well and for long. One simple method to combat rust especially on the outside of the black pipe and which can be done by you at home is painting.

How To Protect The Black Pipe From Rusting

Follow on to learn the steps to successfully protect the black pipe against rusting or corrosion.

  • Wipe the surface of the pipe to take away any rust, oils, or loose paint. You can use a wire brush to scrub the points with rust and then use a cleaning agent to wipe down the areas with much oil.
  • Get a slim layer of rust inhibitor primer and alloy it to the surface area you are working on. Allow what you applied to dry off just for the right time and then after that, you can then re-coat it with another layer of primer.
  • Now you can spray your first layer of topcoat. Make sure to move the spray both ways to be certain that it covers everywhere. Make sure you allow it to fully dry up and then you can add a second coat.

Remember that if the paint added to the affected area becomes damaged, it can spring up rust, which will begin to affect even the paint around it and that could lead to another cracking, feeling, and most definitely other damages.

So, make sure to touch up the paint to prevent the above conditions. In case you notice another damage, quickly repaint and re-prime the area affected again.


Black pipe is made of steel and is different from galvanized or stainless pipes as it has no protective film or element added. Black pipe has a lifespan of about 50 years to a few days depending on the environment. Because it is a cheaper option, black pipe is often considered for transporting some things within the house.

However, as an unprotected steel pipe, it could get rusted pretty quickly. To prevent this and extend the lifespan of your pipes especially when exposed outside, you would need to paint it and you could choose whichever you fancy best.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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