What's the difference between a "galvanized" and "pre-galvanized" steel barricade?

What is hot-dipped galvanizing?

While shopping for steel barricades online, you may notice some galvanization terms popping up which can be confusing. For instance in our steel barricade buying guide you'll see a barricade described as "galvanized' or even "hot dipped galvanized" as well as "pre-galvanized."

Before we discuss the distinction between these two versions of galvanizing, let's talk about the galvanization process itself. In this post, we'll review:

  • What is "galvanizing" and why do we do it?
  • What is "hot-dipped" galvanizing:?
  • What is pre-galvanizing?
  • Which method of galvanizing is more effective?

What is "galvanizing" and why do we do it?

"Galvanizing" is essentially the process of treating steel or iron with a protective zinc coating to prevent rusting. This typically involves literally submerging the steel or iron into a molten zinc bath. 

What is Hot-Dipped Galvanizing?

Perhaps this imagery makes it a bit easier to see where the term "hot-dipped" comes from. This is the term which is sometimes used interchangeably with just "galvanizing" and refers to this process of dipping a steel structure (such as our steel barricades) into the molten zinc bath. 

But if all galvanizing makes use of this molten zinc bath, why are some products referred to as "hot dipped" and others are not?

The short answer is this: steel barricades described as "hot-dipped galvanized" would have been submerged in this zinc bath after assembly. In other words, the individual parts which make up the barricade weren't necessarily treated - but the entire barricade structure was.

What is pre-galvanizing?

Pre-galvanizing on the other hand is when the individual components of a steel structure are dipped into the zinc bath, before assembly. This is typically less costly, and on average, even uses a slightly thinner coating of zinc. (This article breaks down some of the common differences in a pre-galvanized coating and a hot-dipped coating.) 

Which method of galvanizing is more effective?

 As you can probably guess, the hot-dipped method is more effective, but let's review why that is. 

For one, the simple act of dipping a structure after it's been fully assembled means that the coating covers the joins and seems where parts connect. This is important because these areas are often the most rust-vulnerable part of the structure. 

Secondly, the coating used for this post-assembly version of galvanization is thicker, and therefore more durable. These hot-dipped steel barricades for instance are better for outdoor use than pre-galvanized.

This article has laid out the practical differences between "pre-galvanizing" and "hot-dipped galvanizing", but there are many other feature variations which might be important to your steel barricade selection. For more information on other barricade features, take a look at our Comparison Chart  and our Barricade Buying Guide


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