Steel Deck Maintenance: Keep It Rust Free

While a Steel deck is sure to be the most durable type of outdoor deck, in order for it to last as long as possible, you need maintain it properly. Steel decking has become used more and more often in a variety of building applications due to its many advantages over competing materials.  Given all its durability, however, steel decking is susceptible to rust.  Nothing is more harmful to your steel decking than rust which is why it’s so important to practice proper maintenance.

Apply Surface Primer

One of the most important things you can do when maintaining a steel deck is to practice preventative care by applying a good surface primer. This step serves a dual role in the care of your steel deck by both protecting it and making future maintenance much easier.  The primer is applied in a similar fashion as paint since most companies offer these primers in either spray or roll-on applications. No matter which type you choose, one coat is all you’ll need to give yourself and extra layer of protection against the elements. You can find both types of primer paints at your local home improvement supplier.

Restore a Rusted Deck

But even if the unthinkable happens and your steel deck begins to show signs of rust, there are ways to restore it to its original state. The first thing you’re going to have to do is remove the rust down to the bare metal of the steel deck. To accomplish this you’ll need to purchase some heavy grit metal sandpaper, which, unlike wood sand paper, is black in color. This sandpaper has been specifically designed for metals and is offered in similar grit numbers as wood sandpaper. First, attack the rust spots with a low numbered paper (80 or lower) followed by a higher numbered paper (150 or higher) to smooth out the rusted area. After you’ve completely removed all the rust from the steel deck, you can apply the primer of your choosing.

Apply the Primer

Most metal primers aren’t offered in a wide range of colors, but there are specially formulated metal paints that you can use to apply a finished coat to your steel deck.  These paints, when combined with a primer, offer superior protection against rust.  Every few months it’s recommended that you apply a fresh coat of the finish paint to ensure the optimum protection.  However, after 3 coats, it’s probably best to sand down the previous coats of paint and start with a new primer base.

Remember, rust acts like kryptonite to steel making it weak, brittle and can cause potential damage.  Regular maintenance and care of your steel deck will make it last for many years to come.