ThePipingMart Blog Metals Carbon Steel vs Galvanized Steel: What’s the Difference

Carbon Steel vs Galvanized Steel: What’s the Difference

Carbon Steel and Galvanized Steel

When it comes to metal, there are a lot of choices for builders, homeowners, and property owners. Carbon and galvanized steel are two options often used in construction and home improvement projects. To make sure you’re choosing the best option for your project, let’s look at what these materials offer.

What is Carbon Steel?

Carbon steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and other elements like manganese or silicon. Its high strength-to-weight ratio makes it great for multiple uses, such as machinery parts or building constructions. Carbon steel is also resistant to corrosion, but it can rust if exposed to moisture. This means that you should use a sealant on it if you plan on using it outdoors or anywhere else where it might come into contact with water.

What is Galvanized Steel?

Galvanized steel is created by coating the base material (carbon steel) with zinc. This zinc coating protects against corrosion caused by the elements such as rain, snow, or extreme temperatures. The thickness of the zinc coating depends on the application but generally ranges from 0.5 mils (mils = thousandths of an inch) up to 20 miles (or 0.02 inches). Galvanized steel can be used indoors and outdoors since its protective layer helps prevent rusting even in moist environments.

Difference Between Carbon Steel and Galvanized Steel

The main difference between carbon steel and galvanized steel lies in their respective compositions; carbon steel contains less than 2% total alloy content, while galvanized steel contains 10-30%. In addition, galvanized steel has a protective layer that helps protect against corrosion caused by weathering. In contrast, carbon steel does not have this protection, so it will corrode more quickly when exposed to environmental elements without proper protection. As far as cost goes, galvanized steel may be more expensive than carbon due to its protective layer, but this added cost could save you money in the long run due to the increased durability provided by the zinc coating!


Carbon steel and galvanized steel are made of iron with carbon added. However, galvanized steel has a coating of zinc on it that protects it from corrosion. Carbon steel is vulnerable to corrosion if it is not adequately protected.

Manufacturing Process

Carbon steel is made by adding carbon to iron in a furnace. The carbon combines with the iron to form an alloy. Galvanized steel is made by coating the iron with zinc in a process called hot-dip galvanizing.


Carbon steel is stronger than galvanized steel. However, the zinc coating makes galvanized steel more resistant to corrosion.


Carbon steel is used in various applications, including bridges, buildings, and automobiles. Galvanized steel is often used in plumbing and electrical applications because of its corrosion resistance.


Carbon steel is generally less expensive than galvanized steel because it does not have a zinc coating.


Galvanized steel requires less maintenance than carbon steel because it is more resistant to corrosion.


When deciding which type of metal is best for your project needs, consider factors such as cost-effectiveness, durability, resistance to corrosion, weight-to-strength ratio, and whether or not you need extra protection against weathering elements like rain or snow. There are many advantages to using carbon steel or galvanized steel, depending on your specific requirements – understanding these differences will help you make sure you purchase the suitable material for your needs!

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