Scaffolding comes in various shapes and forms; from traditional tube and fitted scaffolding to mobile scaffolding, and suspended scaffolding which you’ll typically find on skyscrapers. While you will find lightweight aluminium scaffolding to serve specific purposes, most scaffold systems are steel that are either painted or galvanised. Most people don’t even notice if scaffolding is painted or galvanised, they’ll just notice huge chunks of metal stacked together at construction sites. But, for those in the construction industry, there is a vast difference between painted and galvanised scaffolding and today’s article will examine the two by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Why paint scaffolding?
There are many reasons why scaffold is painted, however the primary reason is to prolong the lifespan of the scaffolding which offers contractors a greater return on investment. Scaffolding is prone to rust and corrosion due to its nature, so painting the surface of the scaffolding offers a protective coating from deterioration. The paint which is used on scaffolding eliminates any oxidation from water which would normally occur if the scaffolding wasn’t painted.
Like all structures, the structural integrity of scaffolding will diminish over time due to environmental factors and general wear and tear, so it’s vital that contractors take great care to prolong their investment. While it’s common to see corporate logos and branding painted on scaffolding, the main reason for the paint is safety, reliability, and longevity.
What is galvanised scaffolding?
While most people would assume that galvanised scaffolding is cheaper because no paint is needed, the opposite is actually true. Galvanised scaffolds, while not as common as painted scaffolds, require an additional process to galvanise the metal so it’s protected from oxidisation and corrosion. While no paint is involved, the galvanisation process takes longer to complete with additional steps and therefore more expensive for the consumer. The reason why painted scaffold systems are more popular than galvanised scaffold systems is mainly because of the difference in costs.
The biggest advantage of buying galvanised scaffolding is that the expected lifespan is much longer than painted scaffolding. When paint scratches, the metal is exposed to the elements and deteriorate quickly, therefore requiring frequent maintenance and repairs. On the other hand, galvanised systems are protected from oxidisation and rust for their entire lifespan and have lower ongoing costs than painted scaffolds. Thanks to the superior quality, most offshore marine and oil and gas industries utilise galvanised scaffolding systems.
Which is a better investment?
While painted scaffolding is cheaper than galvanised scaffolding, the ongoing costs to maintain and repair the scaffolding is more expensive. When erecting, using, and dismantling scaffolding, paint has a tendency to chip and wear off which can lead to components becoming oxidised and eventually rusting. When this happens, defective components will require reconditioning, re-painting, and re-testing for structural strength. As a result, painted scaffolds are typically used in locations that have more stable and moderate weather conditions.
On the contrary, galvanised scaffold systems never experience any oxidisation or rust and has a much longer lifespan than painted scaffolding systems. Galvanised scaffolding can be installed in harsh offshore environments and still require less maintenance than painted scaffolding. Essentially, the money saved through buying painted scaffolding will be later spent on maintenance and repairs throughout the life of the structure.
At the end of the day, scaffolding must be either painted or galvanised to maximise its lifespan and its structural integrity. if you’re looking for a superior product that requires less time and money on maintenance and repairs, then galvanised scaffolding is by far the better option. If you’re interested in purchasing or hiring galvanised scaffolding for your next project, get in touch with the experts at Uni-Span by phoning our staff on 1300 882 825.