Galvanized nails have undergone a chemical treatment that helps them resist rust and corrosion, so in theory, a galvanized nail should not rust at all. However, water and oxygen can erode the treated surface over time. This erosion will cause some rust to form on the nail, which may require removal. So, how long does it take a galvanized nail to rust?
Depending on the galvanized nail’s zinc coating, there are various answers to the question. It generally takes a couple of years before the surface rust on galvanized nails begins to appear, but with time being its main ally, a galvanized nail will rust.
Thus, the time to rust depends on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and oxygen. Other external influences like the pH of rainwater, dust accumulation, and other corrosion mechanisms can influence the time it takes to rust.
What Is Galvanization?
Galvanization is a common hot dipping process for the industrial application of metal objects which refers to the coating of zinc over iron materials or any object made out of steel for the sole purpose of making it impermeable to rust.
Galvanization is an extremely easy and versatile means of offering protection from corrosion for construction materials made out of iron or steel and exposed to atmospheric conditions.
This process is mostly carried out in two ways; as a continuous barrier by protecting the underlying substrate in such a way that contact with the corrosive electrolyte is prevented or denied.
As a galvanic protector by slowly sacrificing itself in an aqueous corrosive environment.
What Are the Types of Galvanized Nails?
There are two types of galvanized nails, they include; electro-galvanized nails (EG) and hot-dipped galvanized nails (HDG).
The most popular types of galvanized nails are hot flipped galvanized nails because they have a higher quality and usually cost less. These nails function wonderfully for both indoor and outdoor use and provide an excellent balance between cost, quality, and durability.
Hot-dipped galvanized nails will last anywhere from ten to fifteen years before they begin to show any sign of corrosion or rust.
On the other hand, Electro-galvanized nails are often low-quality and function best in situations where there is no strong need for galvanizing or strong-proofing metals. Electro-galvanized nails can last between five to ten years or more, depending on how thick the application of the zinc coating is.
Galvanized nails sometimes leave stains on wooden surfaces (especially softwood) when they start to rust. As a result, it is better to use stainless steel nails for this kind of application as they are a better way to guarantee an excellent finish.
Can You Tell Galvanized Nails Apart from Non-Galvanized Nails by Their Color?
Yes, you can. It is mostly easy to tell if a nail has been galvanized by its color. If you are not purchasing your nails directly from the manufacturer or a store and you want to be sure if it is galvanized, take out a single nail and note its color.
The biggest way to tell a nail that has been galvanized from one that has is to note its colors. Galvanized steel nails have a physical outlook of a matte silvery shiny appearance.
In some cases, galvanized nails tend to appear in such a way that the coating looks like it’s running off even though it’s already dried. This is very common in hot-dipped galvanized nails.
Stainless steel nails on the other hand have more of a shiny silver coating which is similar to that of stainless jewelry.
The distinction in their appearances is due to the zinc coating in galvanized nails and none violating in non galvanized nails. The zinc coating in galvanized nails is what keeps them from rusting.
How Long Do Galvanized Nails Last?
On average, galvanized nails that have properly and duly undergone the galvanization process can last anywhere from five to fifteen years and sometimes, even more.
Other factors such as the weather condition of the environment and the type of surface on which they have been installed also influence the lifespan of galvanized nails.
Also, nails that have been installed indoors will typically last longer than nails that have been installed outdoors as they are not exposed to elements such as humidity, direct heat from the sun, air pollution, and rain.
A galvanized nail is effective against rust because it is much more reactive than the iron and the nails and the coating oxidizes faster, shielding the iron from rust or corrosion. Galvanized nails can sometimes outlast the lifespan of the roof or other outdoor structures themselves.
Do Normal and Galvanized Nails Rust at the Same Rate?
No, normal nails and galvanized nails do not rust at the same rate. This is because, while galvanized nails have been coated with zinc, normal nails haven’t. Normal nails here refer to ordinary iron nails or sometimes steel nails.
The zinc coating on galvanized nails makes the nails almost completely resistant to rust and corrosion is slow. Apart from their strength, they are known to withstand a long period of rainfall, moisture, corrosive chemicals within treated wood and concrete.
While non-galvanized nails have no coating and as a result, the exposure to the environment they get leaves them more susceptible and they may last a few weeks before they begin to rust, unlike galvanized nails that can last several years.