Galvanization: Hot Dipped vs Electro

Posted by Rod Bolls on Jan 6, 2022 12:00:00 AM

Hot Dipped and Electro Methods of Protection

In today’s world, galvanized objects are all around us. Next time you see a staircase, stop sign, ladder, nail, bridge, bench, bucket, pipe, car part, building, structure, or storage container, know that it’s probably galvanized. And with good reason. The iron in steel is prone to oxidize. Without a layer of protection, or galvanization, steel will rust.

So, what exactly is galvanization?

It is the process of applying a coat of zinc to steel for corrosion protection. The zinc acts as a protective barrier for the steel, prolonging its life, reliability, and uniformity. Above all, it helps prevent rust and wear. Some objects and structures made with galvanized steel may not need maintenance for 40-50 years! This is certainly not the case with bare or untreated steel. In essence, galvanization makes steel last longer.


There are two main methods of galvanization

Items can be hot dip galvanized, or electro galvanized. Both methods rely upon a layer of zinc to protect the metal from the outside environment. These two methods vary in zinc application, aesthetics, and durability. Each method serves a purpose, but there are differences. Hot dipped galvanization is an excellent choice for buildings and structures. It creates a thick coating that stands the test of time outdoors. Electro galvanization creates an attractive outer layer. This thinner coating works well for smaller, less vulnerable items. Let’s look:


HOT DIP GALVANIZED:  This is the process of dunking steel into melted zinc. When it’s taken out, the zinc cools and forms a coating onto the steel. The coating from the hot dipped process is thick and creates a somewhat dull finish. Hot dipped steel is tough, durable, and abrasion resistant. This layer of protection is ideal for large, exposed items.  It will be virtually maintenance free, which will bring cost savings. Think: no repairs, maintenance, or replacements.

ELECTRO GALVANIZED: Here, the process of electroplating takes place by placing the steel into a cold solution of zinc salts and exposing it to an electrical current. The zinc attaches to the steel to create a layer of protection. This method of galvanization brings an aesthetically pleasing surface that is smooth, bright, and shiny. The zinc coating from electro galvanization is thin, which is great for smaller items. Electro galvanized products do not have a long lifespan or optimal durability. But they look beautiful, which is a benefit.

To break it down, hot dipped galvanized offers a thick protection from the elements. Its finish is dull yet durable, especially for large items. Electro galvanized offers a thin layer of protection that’s smooth, shiny. It is a good option for smaller, more intricate items, although it is less durable than hot dipped. Either way, galvanized steel will last longer than steel that is not galvanized. In the storage industry, you have options for your steel containers. Powder coating and painting are ways to increase the longevity of storage containers. But if you’re looking to decrease your maintenance and repair costs with a product that will last, choose galvanized. As for storage containers, hot dipped galvanized will offer the most corrosion protection. You will add years to the investment you’ve made with a rust-free, maintenance-free storage solution.


Boxwell LLC designs, manufactures, and distributes customizable storage solutions for businesses around the world. Based in Boulder, CO, Boxwell’s relocatable self-storage units and portable storage containers are durable, innovative, and beautiful. Led by Founder and CEO, Rod Bolls, Boxwell’s mission is to raise the industry standard by exploring new technologies, services, and features. Since 2015, the Boxwell team has been working together with one goal in mind: to stay true to their product and listen to their customers, partners, community, and each other.