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What is Corten Steel and what are its benefits?

Corten is the trade name given to a steel alloy that was originally produced by United States Steel. The great thing about using corten is that it is a weathering steel meaning a material that is corrosion resistant and left uncoated, develops an outer layer patina protecting it from almost any element. It is very strong and used where higher strength and longer life cycle materials are required.

Further benefits of Corten Steel

Corten steel is blessed with atmospheric corrosion resistance which enables it to be used in a paintless form for many structural/architectural. Corten is therefore ideal for use in structures like bridges, open-frame constructions, and decorative sculptures. Corten steel can also withstand very high temperatures meaning it has benefits for use in flues, chimneys and ducting. Corten steel’s corrosion resistance gives it considerable advantage over other metals for structures that are exposed to outside elements. Examples of corten use can be seen in Corten Metal Sculpture pieces. AFSculpture are corten metal sculpturers with an impressive range of sculpture installations.

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Cost Benefits

Corten is a great cost-effective alloy as it saves money not needing to apply any protective coating or paints. This more than makes up for the recent incremental material cost of corten steel. The cost of using corten steel is said to be about 5% lower than using conventional painted steel alternatives.

Low maintenance

Corten steel is the perfect solution for bridges and other structures that are tough to access or dangerous, and where any future disruption needs to be minimized. It requires very little maintenance and is highly durable. The only actions required should be regular inspection and cleaning to ensure the structure continues to perform well. The small maintenance needs and upkeep of corten steel structures greatly reduces the costs of large maintenance operations and the potential indirect disruption and costs of delayed traffic.

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Without the need for painting, either during production or on site, the construction of a structure made from corten is quicker and more streamlined.


For a metal, mature corten steel actually blends in well with the natural environment. As it ages, it’s appearance improves even more as it develops its protective patina. Corten is better for the environment too as it eliminates the need for blast cleaning practices and chemical paints.

High temperature benefits

Often metals placed in outside environments suffer from oxidation at temperatures above 400 degrees Celsius. This is lessened when using corten steel. Cleverly, corten forms a protective patina at temperatures higher than 400 degrees Celsius so bear up far better in hot conditions. Corten steels are, however, not suitable for use in significant load-bearing structures at temperatures higher than degrees Celsius.

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