The Benefits of Corten

Corten steel, also known as weathering steel, is a material commonly used in architecture and landscaping design. It is strong, durable and its weathered look is timeless. Corten steel’s name comes from its utility: it stands for corrosion-resistant tensile-strength steel.

The genericized name COR-TEN steel, trademarked by U.S. Steel in 1993, has since become the brand name commonly used to describe weathered steel, even if it isn’t the COR-TEN brand. It was originally used on railroad cars to make them more durable. Weathered steel has fascinated the minds of architects and designers, rapidly becoming one of the most popular materials used in architecture, especially in landscape architecture. It gives designers a material option that doesn’t have to be painted and is virtually maintenance-free. This eases the design process and streamlines projects. This material also gives great freedom in design for all types of products like benches, planters, bike racks, and barriers, to name a few. Designers are turning to this as a solution more and more due to the fact that it is versatile.

Raw corten steel, because of its unique process of maturation/oxidation, is considered a “live” material. Shades and hues can vary over time depending on the shape of the object, the position in which it is installed, and the weathering cycles the product undergoes. This oxide “leak,” while part of the natural process, can stain certain surfaces such as concrete. The stabilization period of oxidation to reach maturity is generally 12-18 months. The topical rusting effect does not penetrate the material and allows for the steel to naturally build a layer of protection to avoid corrosion. It prevents most weathering effects (even rain, sleet, and snow) as well as atmospheric corrosion. Metalco’s Corten Steel is 100% recyclable, making it an attractive and environmentally friendly option.

We offer an anti-washout treatment that will reduce the loss of oxide and thus the staining of certain surfaces. It will not completely block loss, but significantly decreases the oxide leak, giving the product a darker appearance and finish than that of matured corten steel. The anti-washout treatment comes standard on seating products but is available for all Corten products upon request. A factory-applied treatment that prevents approximately 95% - 99% of the oxide leak, giving the product a darker appearance and finish to that of matured corten steel.

This beautiful material, with a natural appearance, can lend to creating a place to remember. Browse the hundreds of products that can be made with corten steel and we look forward to hearing about your specific project needs.

If corten steel is not a viable option, Corten Colour is a proprietary powder coat color that closely resembles the look of fully matured corten steel and/or corten steel when treated with our anti-washout treatment. Metalco’s high-quality steel is first galvanized for corrosion resistance and then powder coated. This is an option for those circumstances where no risk can be made with regard to maturation/oxidation that characterizes corten steel with anti-washout treatment.