Properly prepared metal guardrails should not be rusting in one year.
The one year inspection is a very important one as it is the last time a home buyer can have things reworked or repaired or replaced under warranty.
This expensive home had lovely guardrails on the front porch and front stairs. They were made of heavy, solid steel, welded and fitted together.
Why not protect that beauty from the start with good priming and two coats of paint?
A well-prepared and well-painted metal guardrail should last a long time without rusting.
Corrosion happens! And it happens quickly. If this rail is already rusting one can conclude that it was not prepared, or painted, properly. Rust is literally eating the metal.
> What causes rust? Water and air.
> What metals rust the quickest? Magnesium, zinc, aluminum and steel.
> What is the best way to protect a steel guardrail? With a rust inhibiting primer, and two coats of good exterior paint.
Metal is inherently unstable, and once refined is trying to get back to its original state, which is stable. Active metals, like those listed above react more quickly to air and water and corrode (rust) sooner. The more stable metals which take longer to corrode include titanium, silver, gold and platinum, but you already knew that.
Paint chemists know how to prolong the inherent corrosion of metal by putting rust inhibitors in the primer or paint. Zinc is a great rust-inhibiting pigment which, when put into primers, chemically alters the metal surface to corrode less easily.
READ THE LABEL! If the label does not say that the primer contains rust inhibitors, get another one! Builders should hire subs who know this. AND OIL-BASED PRIMERS ARE THE BEST SUBSURFACE FOR THE PAINT TO FOLLOW. I could feel the paint on the guardrail above and know it was not oil based.
My recommendation: done right things last. Not done right things do not. And rust kills quickly! It will attack metal guardrails like the one in the photo, particularly at the base where it enters the concrete porch or stairs below. Remember, a rust-inhibiting primer and two coats of good paint and you are good to go, for a long time!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560