How to protect galvanized steel?

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I have one of those cargo vans, the kind with the galvanized steel roof. I'm wondering how to protect this, to keep it from starting to rust. I have some of that roofing "paint" (more like tar with some aluminum particles), but I want to be sure I don't get water leaking through any cracks and rusting underneath the paint. Or should I just keep it clean and leave it at that? Or put oil on it?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
 
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The purpose of the galvanizing is to protect the steel from rust.

You could paint over it if you wish - that would protect it further.
This ^^^

If you choose to paint, the surface has to be prepped.
Paint does not like to stick to galvanizing....needs to be prepped (etched) first.
Go to a paint store and get hooked up.

And mask off any areas that need protection from the etching product !
 
I have a 20 year old galvanized boat trailer that has gone through four axles, springs, wiring kits, etc.....but the galvanized parts stull look new and are original even after use in saltwater.
 

The Heretic

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I have a 20 year old galvanized boat trailer that has gone through four axles, springs, wiring kits, etc.....but the galvanized parts stull look new and are original even after use in saltwater.
Galvanizing will weather - it depends on the thickness of it.

The things that does it in (and stainless too if done wrong) are welding (never weld the stuff inside a building and without a strong fan blowing the fumes away - it will make you very sick - DAMHIK) and being scratched or ground on.

I personally would just leave it alone if rust is all you are worried about.
 
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I have a 20 year old galvanized boat trailer that has gone through four axles, springs, wiring kits, etc.....but the galvanized parts stull look new and are original even after use in saltwater.
Yep, I do as well.
Still looks great, but it is HDG (hot dipped galvanized)....the thick, good stuff.
Electro-plated galvanizing is not as thick and does not hold up as well. It is smoother and does not change parts dimensions as much as HDG.
 

Norwestr55

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Back in the days when I worked the electrical trade every time we cut something that was galvanized we sprayed the cut edge with a zinc coat. It is on the shelf at most electrical supply houses.
We used it 45 yrs ago when I was commercial fishing. Weld something galvanized on the back deck, coat it, and never get a speck of rust on it even with it being washed down with salt water daily. Pretty amazing!
 
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There was a product called "Cold Galv" that we would use.
Searching "Cold Galvanizing" will bring up a number of products.

The OP doesn't need that with the new rig.
Sheet metal is usually electro-plate. I would run it for a few years and if I saw rust anywhere, I'd prep and paint.
 
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We have about 400 feet of fencing and we used steel galvanized posts as they won't rot.
Occasionally one will get a bit of rust or a bolt or screw will start to show rust.
I just wire brush off the rust and spray it with my handy dandy Home Depot type galvanized silver spray paint.
Now I am not a stupid as I look so I know it isn't real galvanizing but it matches perfectly and it does protect
it well and stops further rusting.
There is also that white roll-on roofing coating that I have seen out here and it appears to work well.
They use that a lot on mobile homes in my area.
 
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This ^^^

If you choose to paint, the surface has to be prepped.
Paint does not like to stick to galvanizing....needs to be prepped (etched) first.
Go to a paint store and get hooked up.

And mask off any areas that need protection from the etching product !
Should you decide to paint, pay attention to the above. Painting a galvanized surface is not as straightforward as it may seem.
Automakers and paint/resins/coatings companies spent years trying to figure it out before they succeeded in making it permanent, and looking decent.
 

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