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Dublin: +353 1 626 8363
Cork : +353 21 439 7313
N. Ireland: +44 28 7187 8753

Information links including our current brochures, advice on the available product finishes, document downloads and videos related to our extensive product range.

If you have any questions or require any further information please contact us here.

Downloads Section – Click on a category to view / download files.

Mesh Perimters

Gates / Barriers

Palisade

Metal Finishes

Wall Topping

Hardwood

Mesh Sports

Railings

Guard/Handrails

Turnstiles

Bicycle Sheds

Smoking Shelters

Metal Finishing and Coating for Fences, Gates and Railings - An Honest Guide based on over 50 years’ experience.
We have a long experience in metal protection and finishing as a user ourselves and as a supplier to our clients. The basis of metal protection for our Fencing, Gate and Railing products has always been Galvanising. Initially full Hot Dipped Galvanising but now in the case of some weld-mesh systems, Galvanising of the wire or strip industrially by an in-line process.

 

We have always adopted a policy of working with a small range of partners companies whom we have generally known for decades, who produce to the best industry standards. We believe that in general the quality of the products we offer will not be bettered in the market place.

The Galvanising Process
Galvanised protection processes use the application of molten Zinc to a steel surface which acts as a sacrificial coating to the steel. The zinc coating degrades over a period of time which is calculable to a predictable extent, dependent on environment and thickness of the Zinc.

 

All steel work which we manufacture is Hot Dipped Galvanised in an approved plant to BS EN ISO 1461:2009 a thickness of Zinc in the range 75 to 85 microns would be expected.

Reference to The Zinc Millennium Map of the Galvanizers Association at www.galvanising.org.uk will give a good idea of the life of the galvanised coating. Remember this is the point at which you would have to start maintenance i.e. painting or other protection to the steel, it does not indicate that structural integrity is affected.

Hot Dipped Galvanising is an excellent protection measurable in its application and attractive on its own for many applications. It is not however a table top finish and should not be used where the finished item is expected to be smooth, unblemished and consistent in feel. Imperfections will show up there may well be bumps or changes in colour, it will weather over time once the Zinc begins to oxidise. For our Fence, Gate and Railing products, for Electricity Pylons and Structural Steel and many others products it is a perfect protection.

In reality the life to first maintenance for Galvanised products is in excess of The Galvanizers Association estimates. Ireland does not have any significant Industrial pollution (Individual plants may give some very localised pollution effects) our rainfall generally washes pollutants from a surface, our biggest issue is salt contamination from the sea and this again is much diluted by rainfall. We would comfortably expect an exposed Galvanised structure to far exceed 20 to 25 years before requiring maintenance anywhere in Ireland.

Powder Coatings

These are designed to provide a colour finish to a product where a galvanised or bare steel finish is not wanted. On their own they provide no protection to a steel substrate as they are generally porous and corrosion (Rust or Iron Oxide) will rapidly commence when exposed to the elements.

The presence of a galvanised zinc coating however has a synergetic effect and extends the expected life of the product to first maintenance, whether this is at a significant deterioration of the powder or plastic coating to a level unacceptable from an appearance point of view, or to actual rust appearing which could affect the structural integrity of the product is a decision for the user.

Generally these Powder or Polyester finishes are applied by Electrostatic spray techniques and the addition of additional coating layers or treatments can enhance them, they are covered by BS EN 13438: 2015. In general none of the Standards for Powder Coating or Polyester Powder Coating give the client any guarantee or expectancy of life. Most applicators then impose ludicrous requirements to wash or maintain a product in any marginally exposed environment before offering any warranty, something that will never occur in real life.

So is the reality that a Plastic or Powder coated finish is of no value?
Well no we have been using Polyester coating over Hot Dipped Galvanising since 1981, initially we were told it was impossible to get a powder coating to adhere to Hot Dipped Galvanising but with the help of The Irish Science and Technology Agency (EOLAS) and UCD we established the first plant in The UK or Ireland to do this, we called the process Plasgalv™ Some of the product we produced at this time is still in use and looking fine if a bit weathered.

 

What has happened is that the quality (and Cost) of Polyester has fallen since then. We now have very sophisticated plants providing coatings, which are fit for purpose but without any way for a client to evaluate life expectancy, whether this is a critical issue the market will have to decide. In the case of powder coatings over Hot Dipped Galvanising we believe that there is a high quality long-lasting finish in the case of coating over industrial galvanisation the jury is still out.

Welded Mesh Systems
These products which now provide the largest sector of the fencing market are being continuously engineered to provide lower prices.  When they first came on the market individual sheets of mesh were hot dipped galvanised after welding and posts were similarly treated. During the period 2008 to 2012 and again now as the economy improves, large amounts of mesh systems were imported from China which often had little or no Zinc on them, these can be found rusting away merrily on the perimeters of schools and buildings all over Ireland today!

 

Nowadays most Welded Mesh Systems and Posts utilise Industrial galvanised coatings again of Zinc but applied in continuous processes these coatings are thinner than hot dipped galvanising but always have Polyester or other Plastic coatings which enhance their life. In addition to the thinner coating welded mesh panels are constructed by fusion welding at the joints this burns the coating at these points giving a further weak spot.

These products comply with the following standards – Galvanising to BS EN 10244-2:2009 Steel wire and wire products – Non-ferrous metallic coatings on steel wire Part 2 Zinc or zinc alloy coatings.

At the same time we have a change of the method of protection to the steelwork from full Hot Dipped Galvanising applied to a Standard, to a significantly lower industrial grade finish. Many fence posts are now made from Steel Strip Z2 which designates that a zinc plating process has been applied extending the tubes life: This coating is typically around 20 microns. Again it will always have a Polyester or Plastic Coating over it.

A reduction in coating thickness from 75 microns of Zinc to 20 microns is highly significant! We have always adopted a policy of working with a small range of partners companies we have generally known for decades producing to the best industry standards and we believe that in general the quality of the products we offer will not be bettered in the market place. However in a world with continuous pressure to reduce prices or to compete with countries with lower standards, wages or responsibilities it may not be possible to hold back the tide of continually cheapening offerings where quality is compromised.

WE CAN PROVIDE IF REQUIRED AND SUBJECT TO MINIMUM QUANTITIES, POSTS AND WELDMESH PANELS FULLY HOT DIPPED GALVANISED AND POWDER COATED, THEY WILL BE CONSIDERABLY MORE EXPENSIVE THAN STANDARD PRODUCTS.

As well as reduction in coating thicknesses the thickness and spacing of wires in mesh panels enables unscrupulous suppliers scope to offer products that to the end user look similar but in reality contain significantly less steel than the products initially contained. Reducing a wire by 1mm can save 10% on the cost of a panel. Increasing the space between wires by 1mm can save 2%. One need only look at the temporary fence market where from the original Heras fence panel the current standard offering contains over 50% less steel!

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CALL US TODAY ON 1850 33 62 46 OR EMAIL INFO@IRISHFENCING.COM FOR YOUR FREE ESTIMATE