Cut Edge Corrosion: The Hidden Threat to Your Commercial Property

Cut Edge Corrosion

One common issue with metal sheets, either roofing or cladding, is the corrosion that can occur at the very edge of the sheet. Known as cut edge corrosion, it’s a hidden threat that, if overlooked, can grow until it becomes a much more significant – and much more costly – problem.

So, what is cut edge corrosion, and what can you do to prevent it?

What is Cut Edge Corrosion?

Cut edge corrosion is the rusting away of your metal sheets that starts at the very edge of metal panels – thus the name. The sheets are covered with a protective coating, but over time, this can peel and flake away from the edges, leaving them exposed, and it’s not too long before corrosion starts to occur.

It’s important to sort out cut edge corrosion as soon as possible because the rusting will quickly spread, and what is an easily-fixed problem early on becomes a larger issue that requires replacement panels before too long.

What Causes Cut Edge Corrosion

Metal panels that are used for roofing, cladding, and other purposes are often made by creating large galvanised steel sheets that are coated, typically in PVC, PVDF or polyester, both to add a layer of protection and to colour them.

These long sheets are then rolled for transportation and storage. When purchased, the required length is cut from the roll. Unfortunately, this means that in many cases, the edge where the sheet has been cut is left uncovered by the protective plastic and can be exposed to the elements.

While in many cases, care is taken to edge coat the sheet, this doesn’t always happen, nor is it always 100% successful, and that’s when you can expect cut edge corrosion.

It’s not the only reason for the problem, however. As the sheets are shaped and cut when applied to the building, especially if not installed by an expert, further damage can occur where the protective layer is cut or otherwise exposed.

Other causes of corrosion include environmental factors, such as particulates in the weather eating away over time and simple ageing. Nothing lasts forever, after all.

At any point where water can get past the resistant plastic and directly onto the metal, corrosion can (and eventually will) occur.

Spotting Cut Edge Corrosion

What to look for? Here are the key signs of cut edge corrosion on your metal panelling:

  • Peeling or flaking paint or plastic covering
  • Rust stains – especially in water runoff
  • Discolouration
  • Gaps in edging

It’s really important to catch the corrosion early. Rust spreads once it takes hold and will get into the metal sheeting, further peeling away the protection until large sections of the sheet have fallen away.

As repairing cut edge corrosion in small sections is relatively cheap and easy, missing it due to a failure to properly inspect your property is a costly mistake.

Cut edge corrosion 6

What Happens if I Ignore Cut Edge Corrosion?

  • Structural weakening—The corrosion will soon compromise the strength and stability of your metal panelling and the structure that holds it up. Water will get in, rusting the metal structure and causing rot and mould issues to any wooden supports.
  • Aesthetic damage – Your building represents your business. Customers who see sections of decay will make assumptions about the quality of your work, even if subconsciously. Keeping up appearances really does matter.
  • The cost of repairs – As mentioned above, the greater cost of significant repairs or panel replacement is far higher than fixing early cut edge corrosion.

Preventing Cut Edge Corrosion

If the sheet manufacturers and installers are quality professionals, then there won’t be any points of exposure early on. However, sadly, many companies don’t pay as much attention to detail as we do at GI Sykes, which can cause problems for you a year or two later. Don’t skimp on your budget and opt for quality materials with higher corrosion resistance.

The next step is to ensure you have a regular inspection and maintenance routine – after all, the problem is solvable if discovered early enough. Exterior inspections should be undertaken quarterly if possible, ensuring that as the seasons change, the building is properly looked after.

GI Sykes Cut Edge Corrosion Treatment

At GI Sykes, we’re experienced professionals in dealing with cut edge corrosion and have an established treatment of works to solve it during the early stages. If you spot cut edge corrosion, contact us as soon as possible to prevent the need for a total replacement of your roof sheets or metal cladding.

We will extensively clean and de-rust the affected area before applying a coating treatment to the edges that is designed to protect against future moisture exposure. At GI Sykes, we use Giromax Edgecoat and Tor Coatings Unicover Edgeprotect Systems to provide the top-quality protection you need.

It’s a cost-effective treatment as it just treats the affected area, protecting against weathering and guaranteed for 15 years.

Cut Edge Corrosion in the UK

Let’s face it, while there’s lots to love about living and working in the UK, the weather isn’t at the top of anyone’s list. It may be good for plant life, but the mix of downpours and baking sunshine wreaks havoc on your building exterior – it’s not surprising that every now and then, a little corrosion occurs!

Here in the UK, cut edge corrosion is a real issue that can easily get out of hand. Just remember to keep checking and managing your building maintenance to extend the longevity of your metal panelling as much as possible – and take quick action if you spot anything. Get in touch with us at GI Sykes to get a quote for cut edge corrosion treatment or to discuss a regular, cost-effective maintenance contract that’ll give you peace of mind.

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