Steel Post and Rail fencing - Different types and their performance against rust.
If you own horse property, you understand the importance of providing a safe and secure environment for your equine friends. One essential component of this environment is a sturdy and well-constructed fence.
Steel post and rail fencing is a popular choice for many horse owners due to its durability and versatility. However, over time, steel fencing can develop rust, which can weaken the structure, make it less secure and even compromise the aesthetics of your property.
Rust is the result of a chemical reaction between iron or steel and oxygen in the presence of moisture. This reaction forms iron oxide, which is commonly referred to as rust. The rust can continue to spread until it weakens the steel and causes it to break. This can result in the fence collapsing, which can pose a significant hazard to both horses and people.
If you’re looking to buy Steel post and rail fencing for your property but are worried about rust, keep reading to find out which steel fencing is the best prepared to tackle it.
At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand. Our flagship product is a premium Steel Post and Rail fencing developed after years of research and we’ve learnt the strategies to minimise and manage the biggest enemy of steel – rust.
Based on our knowledge and experience we will discuss three types of Steel Post and Rail fencing solutions available and the impact of rust on each one of them.
Cattle Rail horse fencing and the problem of rust
What is Cattle Rail?
Cattle Rail is also called Steel Pipe or Tubular fence and as the name suggests it looks like a pipe or a tube and comes in the form of 6 metres or 8 metres, which can then be used as per your requirement.
The most common size is 115 mm, x 42 mm wide. It typically has a 2 mm wall thickness and comes in a standard 6.1m length.
The truth: How protected is Cattle Rail from rust?
Steel Pipe is a pre-galvanised steel fence.
Galvanised steel is a type of steel that has been coated with a layer of zinc to prevent rust and corrosion. The zinc layer acts as a barrier to protect the steel from exposure to moisture and other corrosive elements. This process, known as galvanisation, is typically performed by dipping the steel into a bath of molten zinc, which creates a strong, uniform bond between the steel and the zinc.
So, while Cattle Rail is pre-galvanised according to Australian standards it’s still exposed to rust because of three reasons:
1. Cattle Rail has no painting or powder coating on top to add an extra layer of protection.
2. Cattle Rail is typically cut or welded to create rails as per the customer’s requirement. The parts which are cut, screwed or joined during installation lose their protective layer. Once exposed to moisture these parts can start corroding. The steel rails will form brown spots around screws and welded areas which will spread quickly over the fencing.
3. Steel posts that the cattle rail is attached to are often installed in the ground using concrete. The lime in the concrete reacts with the steel causing rust to occur.
How to manage to rust in Cattle Rail
1. Paint the exposed parts which have lost their protective layer with a pre-gal solution.
2. Use premium quality steel fence paints to add an extra layer of protection against rust, increase the life of your steel fence and also improve its looks.
3. Check and maintain your fence regularly to spot any signs of rusting and manage them without delay.
4. Always make sure you buy Cattle Rail that’s been pre-galvanised as per Australian Standards.
Pre-powder coated Steel post and rail horse fencing and the problem of rust
What is Pre-powder coated Steel Post and Rail fencing?
Pre-powder coated Steel post and rail fencing is typical of the same specification as Cattle Rail. Suppliers usually buy it, powder coat it to enhance its looks and provide the customer with pre-cut posts and rails.
The truth: How protected is pre-powder-coated Steel post and rail from rust?
1. Steel posts and rails are all screwed together using Tek screws which makes the fencing susceptible to rust and are highly visible on the fences, bringing down the overall finish. Once the steel is penetrated, it’s open to moisture and rust. It’s important to check for corrosion around the screws and also if the rails are welded at any point.
2. Posts of Pre-powder coated Cattle Rail are installed into the ground with concrete. There is a higher moisture content around and in the ground. So, the lime in concrete can react to even protected steel and cause rusting.
3. Pre-powder-coated Cattle Rail gates are typically welded together. The fact is where welding occurs it becomes the most susceptible to rust.
How to manage the problem of rust in Pre-powder coated Cattle Rail
1. Check with your supplier how thick are the rails.
Typically rails that are more than 2 millimetres in wall thickness are stronger and even if they start rusting they will not break down for a long time.
2. Keep an eye out for rust that develops around the tek screws and welded gates.
Continue to do your regular clean-up and paint touch-ups.
3. Ask the supplier, if your steel fencing is galvanised or mild steel.
As some pre-powder-coated steel is galvanised while others use untreated mild steel. Depends on the supplier.
Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing and the problem of rust
What is Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing?
Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing from Stock & Noble is not made from standard Cattle Rail but is an engineered system. It is made with 2-sided pre-galvanised steel, treated with a phosphate conversion coating for added protection and finished with an architectural grade polyester powder coat.
The truth: How protected is Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing from rust?
1. Premium Post and Rail fencing needs no welding.
While the posts of Cattle Rail, Blue Dog Fences and Dunn and Farrugia are hollow and rails are attached using Tek screws or welded the Stock & Noble Steel Posts have a rail locking system that is inserted into the post after the rails have been placed into position. This eliminates the need to weld, screw or cut when installing or removing a damaged rail.
2. There is no penetration of steel at any point
The posts have pre-punched rail openings lined with rubber grommets, and at no point, steel is penetrated with screws thus reducing the likelihood of any rusting or corrosion. The whole system is closed and designed to repel moisture from open ends preventing rust.
3. There are no open ends of the rails
During the assembly of the Premium Post and Rail fencing, it all clicks together, there’s no external cutting or fixing, unlike pre-powdered Cattle Rail. Hence the open ends of the rails that go into the post, are covered and not exposed to the elements.
4. The posts have an epoxy layer of zinc
At the ground level where concrete and lime mix, rusting can start to develop. Our steel fencing has posts with an additional layer of zinc that helps keep moisture at bay and can avoid any rust from developing.
5. The gates of Premium Post and Rail fencing are welded with stainless steel
The only part which needs to be welded in the entire premium post and rail fencing system is the gate. The exposure to rust has been effectively controlled here as well, by using stainless steel weld filler to prevent rust.
How to manage the problem of rust in Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing
Steel is steel. Even if it’s a well-thought-out engineered fencing system. Any scratch during installation or in regular wear and tear can remove the protective layer and expose the fence to rust.
This can be mitigated by doing a touch up occasionally as you see any part that’s been scratched or has started developing any rust.
This probably is true for all kinds of steel posts and rail fencing. As soon as you scratch the surface, apply the paint.
Clear on which Steel Post and Rail fencing is most likely to rust?
You are considering buying or already own Steel post and rail fencing on your horse property and wanted to know the risk of corrosion or rust.
Now you know the difference between the three types of steel post and rail fencing available today and how well-built they are to tackle rust over the years. You’ve also learnt ways to maintain your fences if rust finds its way in.
You are well-informed to evaluate and make a decision about which Steel post and rail will be the easiest to maintain and give you the least stress when it comes to managing rust. It’ll be worth considering other factors and comparing different steel posts and rail fences based on quality, longevity and cost.
If you have any more questions on the warranty, installation, cost or maintenance of Steel post and rail fencing, feel free to connect with one of our experts. We would love to know all about your property, understand your vision and help you find the right fencing solution to build your dream property.