Corten steel, also called Cor-Ten steel, is a weathering steel that resists corrosion but is not rust-proof. This steel alloy is widely used in landscaping and other outdoor applications because it forms a protective layer of rust after approximately six months of exposure to moisture and oxygen. Since the rust layer (patina) protects the steel from further corrosion, it does not require painting or additional weatherproofing.
It is important to note that to form this protective layer, weathering steel needs exposure to wet-dry cycles. If the Corten steel is submerged in water or buried in wet grounds, it will not form the protective rust layer. Exposure to marine environments or areas close to the ocean may also prevent the protective layer from forming in time to protect the underlying steel.
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Corten Steel is A Low Maintenance Solution for Outdoor Applications
There are several benefits to using weathering steel sheets and plates. The natural corrosion resistance of Corten steel gives it a long lifecycle, creating a low-maintenance solution for a variety of uses. Corten steel plates and sheets have high strength properties, which is why the metal sheets are used for structural applications including bridges, building facades, and other large structures. Other industrial applications for weathering steel plates include rail cars, industrial shipping and storage containers, and other transportation uses.
Because of its corrosion- resistant properties, weathering steel is also widely used by architects and artists, including Richard Serra (my favorite artist). Artists and sculptors use Corten steel because the color of the protective rust layer continues to deepen with weather exposure, which many find visually appealing. At M&K Metal Co., we’ve used waterjet cutting to produce decorative, intricate designs in Corten steel plate. Check out our
to see examples of our work.
Corten steel plates are a low cost, low maintenance solution for structural and decorative applications. Overall benefits of using weathering steel sheets include:
Provides natural corrosion resistance
Requires no paint or weatherproofing
Exhibits high strength for heavy or load bearing structures
Requires minimal maintenance
Creates a distinctive, artistic finish
Weathering Steel Plates and Sheets
Now, for the metal geeks out there, Cor-Ten is the trademarked named for a weathering steel developed by US Steel. The name combines the alloys two primary beneficial properties: Corrosion Resistance and Tensile Strength. Although it is accurate to say that only US Steel can make Cor-Ten, many other steel mills make a similar product. The correct designation for these products would be ASTM A588 plate (weathering plate) or ASTM A606 sheet (weathering sheet/coil).
M&K Metal Co. offers Cor-Ten weathering steel sheets in two thicknesses. Our Corten steel plates meet the same weathering steel specifications as ASTM A588 plate and ASTM a588 steel plate you find through other metal fabricators and suppliers.
Learn More About Using Corten Steel and Plate
Interested in learning more about the benefits of using weathering steel for your next project?
to learn more about the different applications for Corten steel plate and sheet.