As mentioned earlier, scaffolding comes in various materials, shapes and forms. Many people would have come across the traditional tube and fitted scaffolding as they pass by under-construction buildings. These scaffolds rank among the most conventionally used varieties of scaffolding. In recent times, the use of mobile scaffolding has become quite popular too. And, when constructing skyscrapers, builders will invariably use suspended scaffolding.
When you visit the showroom of an industrial or residential scaffold supplier, you might come across lightweight aluminium scaffolding. These scaffolds come into use for specific applications. However, you will observe that most scaffold systems comprise steel – in painted or galvanised form. People unaware of the distinction between the two will probably look at these scaffolds as tubes of metal stacked together. But, people working on construction sites will be aware of the differences between galvanised and painted scaffolding.
On exposure to humidity and air, iron or steel can be susceptible to rusting. For this reason, many scaffolding manufacturers paint their scaffolding to prolong its lifespan. By doing so, they can enhance the life of the scaffolding. This, in turn, will yield a greater return on their investment. It goes without saying that prolonged exposure to the elements can cause the scaffolding to corrode or rust. Therefore, painting the surface of the scaffolding gives the scaffolding a protective coating, which prevents it from rusting.
Having said that, it can be worth highlighting that the structural integrity of the scaffolding will diminish with the passage of time. Environmental factors and regular wear & tear can affect the structural integrity of the scaffolding. For this reason, regular and proper scaffolding maintenance remains imperative. By painting the scaffolding, you will be able to enhance the safety, reliability and longevity of your scaffolding. The coat of paint applied on the scaffolding eliminates the likelihood of oxidation when you expose the scaffolding to humidity or moisture.
It can be easier to spot painted scaffolding than their galvanised counterparts. For starters, the use of galvanised scaffolding has not become as widespread as the use of painted scaffolding. Some people might assume that galvanised scaffolding will be cheaper than painted scaffolding because the former does not require painting. However, galvanised scaffolding needs to undergo an additional process for galvanising the metal. This process protects the metal from oxidation and corrosion. The additional steps that galvanising the metal requires serves to make the galvanising process longer. As a result, galvanised scaffolding will be relatively pricier than its painted counterpart.
However, the relatively higher price of galvanised scaffolding comes with one significant advantage. Galvanised scaffolding will always have a longer lifespan than painted scaffolding. The galvanising process coats the metal with a protective zinc coating that protects the metal from corroding or rusting. Unlike paint, which can peel or scratch easily, this coating of zinc will not wear out as easily. As a result, galvanised scaffolding will continue to remain strong and durable for longer spans of time. In contrast, scaffolding with peeled paintwork will expose the metal to the elements. As a result, the metal will deteriorate quickly, thereby necessitating frequent maintenance and repair. Over time, galvanised scaffolding will yield lower ongoing expenses as opposed to their painted counterparts.
When you shop for outdoor or indoor scaffolding hire, you will do well to remember that:
- Painted scaffolding will be cheaper than galvanised scaffolding
- The maintenance and repair expenses for painted scaffolding will be significant
- Assembling, dismantling and using painted scaffolding will make the paint chip and wear off, thereby exposing the metal beneath to the elements
- On spotting this, you will need to repaint, recondition and re-test the structural strength of the defective components
- Galvanised scaffolding will never experience oxidation or rust and,
- The longer lifespan of galvanised scaffolds comes in conjunction with its minimal maintenance requirements
So, when you need scaffolds in harsh environments, opt for galvanised scaffolding. Similarly, when working in locations that experience moderate or stable weather conditions, opt for painted scaffolding.