How to Identity and Treat Cut Edge Corrosion on Industrial Structures

Cut edge corrosion is a common issue in industrial structures, especially those made from metal. It occurs when the protective coating on the edges of metal sheets deteriorates, leading to rust and structural damage. Addressing cut edge corrosion promptly is crucial to maintaining the integrity and longevity of industrial buildings. In this article, we’ll explore how to identify and treat cut edge corrosion on industrial structures effectively.

Understanding Cut Edge Corrosion

What is Cut Edge Corrosion? Cut edge corrosion occurs at the unprotected edges of metal sheets where the protective coating has been compromised. This often happens during the cutting and shaping process, exposing the bare metal to the elements. Over time, exposure to moisture, oxygen, and other environmental factors leads to rust and corrosion.

Why is it a Problem?

Cut edge corrosion can weaken the structural integrity of industrial buildings, leading to potential safety hazards and costly repairs. It also affects the aesthetic appearance of the structure, which can be detrimental to businesses relying on their facilities’ appearance.

Identifying Cut Edge Corrosion

Visual Inspection

The first step in identifying cut edge corrosion is a thorough visual inspection. Look for signs of rust, discolouration, and flaking paint along the edges of metal sheets. Pay special attention to joints, seams, and areas exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

Professional Assessment

For a more detailed analysis, consider hiring a professional inspector. They can use specialised tools and techniques, such as ultrasonic testing and magnetic particle inspection, to detect hidden corrosion that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Implementing a routine maintenance schedule can help identify cut edge corrosion early. Regular checks allow for timely intervention before the corrosion causes significant damage.

Treating Cut Edge Corrosion

Surface Preparation

Before treating cut edge corrosion, it’s essential to prepare the surface properly. This involves cleaning the affected area to remove rust, dirt, and debris. Methods such as wire brushing, sandblasting, or using chemical rust removers can be effective.

Applying a Rust Converter

A rust converter can be applied to the cleaned surface. This chemical treatment converts rust into a stable, non-reactive compound, preventing further corrosion. It also provides a suitable base for subsequent coatings.

Reapplying Protective Coatings

Once the rust converter has dried, reapply the protective coatings. This typically involves priming the surface with a rust-inhibiting primer, followed by a topcoat of paint or sealant. Ensure that the coatings are compatible with the metal type and environmental conditions of the structure.

Sealing Edges

To prevent future cut edge corrosion, seal the edges of metal sheets with a high-quality sealant. This creates a barrier that protects the exposed metal from moisture and contaminants. Regularly inspect and maintain the sealant to ensure its effectiveness.

Preventing Cut Edge Corrosion

Using Pre-Coated Materials

One of the best ways to prevent cut edge corrosion is to use pre-coated materials during construction. These materials come with a protective coating that extends to the edges, reducing the risk of corrosion.

Proper Installation Techniques

Ensure that metal sheets are installed correctly, with minimal cutting and exposure of bare edges. Use appropriate tools and techniques to minimise damage to the protective coating during installation.

Regular Maintenance

Implement a regular maintenance schedule to inspect and address any signs of corrosion early. This includes cleaning, touch-up painting, and reapplying sealants as needed.

Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental conditions of the industrial structure. In areas with high humidity, salt exposure, or industrial pollutants, additional protective measures may be necessary. This could include using corrosion-resistant materials and coatings designed for harsh environments.

The Role of Professional Services

Specialised Contractors

Hiring specialised contractors with experience in treating cut edge corrosion can ensure effective and long-lasting results. These professionals have access to advanced tools and materials, providing a higher level of protection for your structures.

Regular Inspections

Professional services can offer regular inspections and maintenance programs tailored to your specific needs. This proactive approach helps to identify and address potential issues before they escalate.

Expert Advice

Professionals can provide expert advice on the best materials, coatings, and techniques to prevent cut edge corrosion. They can also recommend products and methods suited to your industrial structure’s unique requirements.


Cut edge corrosion is a significant concern for industrial structures, but with proper identification, treatment, and prevention strategies, its impact can be mitigated. Regular inspections, using pre-coated materials, and employing professional services are key to maintaining the integrity and appearance of your industrial buildings. By addressing cut edge corrosion promptly and effectively, you can ensure the longevity and safety of your structures, ultimately saving on costly repairs and downtime.


What causes cut edge corrosion?

Cut edge corrosion is caused by the exposure of unprotected metal edges to moisture, oxygen, and environmental contaminants, leading to rust and deterioration.

How can I identify cut edge corrosion early?

Regular visual inspections and professional assessments can help identify cut edge corrosion early, allowing for timely intervention.

What treatments are available for cut edge corrosion?

Treatments include surface preparation, applying a rust converter, reapplying protective coatings, and sealing edges with high-quality sealants.

Can cut edge corrosion be prevented?

Yes, using pre-coated materials, proper installation techniques, regular maintenance, and considering environmental conditions can prevent cut edge corrosion.

Why should I hire professional services for cut edge corrosion?

Professionals offer specialised expertise, advanced tools, and tailored maintenance programs, ensuring effective treatment and prevention of cut edge corrosion.

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