When to Use Stainless Steel Vs. Galvanized Zinc Screws for Outside Construction

When you’re planning some kind of outdoor structure, such as a deck, you might not usually stop and wonder whether you should use screws that are stainless steel or ones that are made of galvanized zinc. However, this is actually a very important point to consider before you buy your materials and get started on the job. 

Galvanized screws are often an attractive choice because they’re cheaper – nearly half the price of stainless steel. Price is not the only factor, however. Let’s look at it from a few other angles before you make the choice.

  • Strength and Rust Resistance

A galvanized screw seems very strong to begin with – every bit as strong as stainless steel, surely. The problem is that this strength might only be skin deep, so to speak. Under that thin layer of hard-wearing zinc is plain black steel that is very susceptible to rust and corrosion. Now, that’s fine provided the zinc coating is never worn away somehow. Over time, however, this coating can be worn away, even if only in one small spot, leaving the rough steel underneath open to the elements. With stainless steel, however, especially of 316 grade, this vulnerability is almost completely eliminated.

  • Appearance

This is not really a direct contest. Galvanized fasteners have that hardy, dull, industrial look, while stainless steel is shinier and more refined looking. Which one of the two you choose depends on your preference as well as the overall look and feel of whatever it is you’re building.

So, galvanized wins when it comes to price, stainless steel when it comes to strength and rust protection. They come out fairly even in the looks department. You would need to decide which of the factors are more important to you. If you go for the savings, hopefully, you’re careful with your zinc fasteners and are building where exposure to moisture and corrosives won’t be that much of a problem. Stainless steel is certainly the safer option, provided that you’re willing to spend a little more.

It all comes down to the specifics of your project. Contact Marsh Fasteners; we will be able to advise which screw is best for the job.

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