Can you weld galvanized to steel?
Galvanized steel is mild steel but coated with a zinc layer to improve general corrosion resistance. It is used in a variety of applications, from construction to automotive manufacturing.
Due to outer zinc layers, welding galvanized steel to other materials, such as regular steel, can pose some challenges and risks.
In this post, I have answered all your queries for: Can you weld galvanized to steel?
To begin, Yes, you can Weld galvanized steel to other steels. How you can, I have covered in this article. But first, think on below questions:
- Do you have experience welding galvanized steel?
- Have you heard of the potential risks of welding galvanized steel?
What is Galvanized Steel?
Galvanized steel is a type of steel that has been coated with a layer of zinc to protect it from common corrosion.
The process of galvanizing the steel involves immersing the steel in a bath of molten zinc, which forms a metallurgical bond with the surface of the steel. This creates a protective barrier that helps to prevent rust and corrosion, even in harsh environments. There are several types of galvanized steel, including hot-dip galvanized steel, electro-galvanized steel, and galvannealed steel.
Which Welding is Best for Welding Galvanized to steel?
When welding galvanized steel to regular steel, it is important to choose the right welding process and welding rod to achieve quality weld joints.
The two most commonly used welding methods for welding galvanized steel to steel are:
- MIG Welding,
- Stick Welding,
- TIG Welding (rarely used).
MIG welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is a popular welding process for welding galvanized steel. This method uses a solid wire electrode that is fed through a welding gun, along with a shielding gas using a wire feeder.
MIG welding is fast, efficient, and produces good weld. However, it can be difficult to control the heat input and may cause the zinc coating to vaporize, which can create harmful fumes. Hence, setting up the MIG Welder is important.
Stick welding, also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), is another commonly used welding process for welding galvanized steel. This method uses a stick electrode (such as E6010, E6013 & E7018), which creates a shielding gas when heated to protect the weld from contaminants.
Stick welding is versatile, easy to learn, and can produce a strong weld. However, it can be slower than MIG welding and may require more cleanup due to the flux residue.
Safety When Welding Galvanized Steel
When welding galvanized steel, it is important to take safety precautions to protect against harmful fumes and potential hazards.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
- Wear protective clothing: Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a welding helmet, safety glasses, leather gloves, and a respirator or mask. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants made of natural fibers to protect your skin.
- Ensure proper ventilation: Make sure your workspace is well-ventilated to prevent inhalation of harmful fumes. If possible, weld outside or in a well-ventilated area. Use a welding curtain or barrier to contain the fumes and prevent others from being exposed.
- Clean the surface: Before welding, clean the galvanized surface thoroughly to remove any oil, grease, or debris. This will help prevent the release of harmful fumes during welding.
- Use the appropriate welding technique: When welding galvanized steel, use the appropriate welding technique to avoid burning through the zinc coating and releasing harmful fumes. A technique called back-stepping can help to reduce the heat input and prevent burn-through.
- Avoid grinding or sanding the surface: Avoid grinding or sanding the galvanized surface, as this can release harmful fumes. If you need to remove the zinc coating, use a chemical solvent or mechanical methods such as scraping or wire brushing.
Stick Welding Rod for Welding galvanized to steel
When stick welding galvanized steel to steel, it is important to choose the right welding rod to ensure a strong and durable weld.
The most commonly used welding rods for welding galvanized steel are:
- E6011: E6011 is a versatile welding rod that can be used for welding galvanized steel to steel. This rod has a high cellulose sodium coating that creates a deep penetrating arc, which helps to burn through the zinc coating and create a strong weld. E6011 is a good choice for thinner gauge materials and is suitable for all positions.
- E6013: E6013 is another versatile welding rod that can be used for welding galvanized steel to steel. This rod has a light to medium penetrating arc and is ideal for welding thinner gauge materials. E6013 is easy to use and can produce a clean, smooth weld. It is suitable for all positions.
- E7018: E7018 is a low-hydrogen welding rod that is commonly used for welding steel. This rod has a high tensile strength and is suitable for welding thicker materials. E7018 is a good choice for welding galvanized steel to steel, but it may require more cleanup due to the slag produced during welding. It is suitable for all positions.
MIG Welding Rod for Welding galvanized to steel
To achieve a strong and durable weld when MIG welding galvanized steel to steel, it is crucial to select the appropriate welding wire.
The most commonly used welding wire for this purpose is ER70S-6. This welding wire contains higher levels of silicon and manganese, which enables it to penetrate through the zinc coating and create a robust weld.
In addition to ER70S-6, another commonly used welding wire for welding galvanized steel to steel is ER70S-2.
This welding wire contains a lower level of silicon and manganese compared to ER70S-6, making it a suitable choice for welding thinner gauge materials. ER70S-2 can produce a clean, smooth weld and is suitable for all positions.