Welding galvanized steel is a specialized metal fabrication capability offered by Badger Sheet Metal Works that requires special safeguards to protect welders from harmful fumes. Overexposure to the zinc oxide vapors generated by welding galvanized steel can result in severe flu-like symptoms that can even result in death.

Galvanized steel involves a protective zinc coating that helps prevent rust and corrosion. The most common use for galvanized steel is for structures or equipment that are exposed to the environment. While the galvanizing process offers long-term benefits for the steel or iron it protects, the health risks for workers are real and cannot be ignored.

Badger Sheet Metal Works, a leader in stainless steel equipment fabrication and other custom fabrication services, provides specialized training and the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for welding galvanized steel. In addition to typical welding equipment such as leather jackets and steel toe boots, welding galvanized steel also requires the use of a respirator.

Welding galvanized steel creates challenges for weld quality

The zinc coating used in the galvanizing process makes weld penetration more difficult than uncoated steel. Badger Sheet Metal Works’ welding team is trained in proper welding techniques that overcome this challenge. Those strategies can vary depending on the thickness of the zinc coating.

Badger Sheet Metal Works also has experience working with galvannealed steel. This process is the product of galvanizing and subsequent annealing of sheet metal. Galvannealed steel is a matte, uniform grey surface that is easy to paint. Its coating is harder and more brittle than galvanized steel, and requires special attention from our team to maintain its integrity.

Welding galvanized or galvannealed steel is not offered by many metal fabrication shops due to the specialized equipment and expertise required.