The scaffolding industry utilises many different types and formations of scaffolding. Some types are mobile, made entirely out of super-lightweight aluminium.
Other types of scaffolding come in pre-fabricated components that are fitted together resulting in a temporary structure, with platforms. Another commonly used type of scaffolding in the UK is one of the most traditional types, tube and fitting scaffold.
The average Joe looks at scaffolding as nothing more than a mass of metal, required to gain access to unsightly construction. Paying little to no attention to whether it’s painted or not.
It’s not until you delve deeper or perhaps become familiar with scaffolding and construction that you soon realise that mass of metal is far from just an unsightly eyesore, despite how simplistic it may look. Scaffolding remains to be the most cost effective means of gaining access when working at height is required.
So, why are some scaffolding systems painted and others are galvanized?
Painted Scaffolding – What’s the Point?
Scaffolding is painted for many reasons, the first and foremost being; painted scaffolding reduces rust and corrosion. Regardless of what type of scaffolding is utilised for the task at hand, scaffolding of all types must be structurally sound and stable.
Through time, environmental factors and general wear and tear, scaffolding does diminish. When scaffolding is painted, it provides a “shell” like finish that prohibits the consequences of water-on-metal contact, eliminating the oxidisation of the metal beneath.
Scaffolding, albeit at times is personalised to be indicative to a company’s brand or corporate colours. Is painted for longevity, safety and reliability.
Painted scaffold systems tend to be types of system scaffolding such as; Cuplock and Kwikstage. Tube and Fitting systems, generally are kept to being galvanised.
Galvanized Scaffolding – Is Cheaper?
Galvanized scaffolding, popular although not quite as common as painted systems mainly due to the vast differences in cost.
The average Joe would assume that surely the system that has no paint is cheaper to purchase or hire than the system that is painted.
That’s not the case, because scaffold’s that are manufactured as fully galvanised systems go through an additional process in order to fully galvanise and essentially seal the metal from all oxidisation and corrosion. Galvanisation process is more timely and thus, more costly for the manufacturer and customer.
So, why bother buying galvanised scaffolding?
Galvanized system scaffolding is sought after – at the right price.
Reason being, galvanised systems have a far longer life span that painted systems, alongside requiring far less maintenance and repair.
Many offshore, oil and gas and marine industries opt for fully galvanised system scaffolding, most commonly opting for fully galvanised Cuplock.
Painted V’s Galvanised Scaffolding
Both painted and galvanised scaffolding systems each have their own pros and cons, alongside varying costs and varying benefits.
Most commonly, painted systems are used within sectors and environments that don’t experience harsh environmental conditions. Mainly due to the fact when painted systems are used, paint does chip and wear off through installation, use and removal of the scaffolding. When that happens, the component or part can become oxidised resulting in eventual rust and a defective component that requires reconditioning, re-painted and re-tested for structural strength.
Galvanized systems on the other hand hold a far higher life span, with the ability to be installed in harsh offshore environments, with no risk of paint chipping to permit any oxidization and rust. Fully galvanised scaffolds require far less maintenance in comparison to painted systems.
Resulting in the additional costs paid on purchase, being costs saved on future maintenance. With painted scaffolds, what is saved short term, is paid out long term on maintenance and refurbishment.
Despite which system you chose or what finish you opt for, scaffolding must either be painted with a protective finish or fully galvanised, in order to maintain lifespan and structural stability.
The question is, does your budget permit long term investment on a fully galvanised scaffold system?
Or is your budget better spent on a painted system, saving short term on purchase costs, inheriting maintenance costs as time goes on?
If you’d like any advice or further information on both painted and fully galvanised system scaffolding manufactured and supplied by St Helens Plant. Contact us on – 01744 850 300 or email us at – firstname.lastname@example.org