Cold-rolled steel is strong and durable, but it is still subject to rusting if it isn't stored properly. Having extra steel on hand during your construction projects, and so you can make repairs, is very helpful, but if you go to get some steel and find it covered with rust, then it becomes unusable. Proper storage involves multiple tactics, starting when the steel is about to leave the factory.
Ensure the Steel Is Coated or Oiled
Coating the steel with a thin layer of oil or a special dry coating can prevent rusting when the steel is left out for a short time. This oil or dry coat is usually added at the factory before the steel is shipped to you. The amount of protection the steel gets against rust this way varies, so be sure you find out from the factory what their recommended environmental exposure time is for steel that has one of these thin coatings.
Store in Original Packaging
When you receive the steel, remove only what you need from the original packaging. The packaging works with the oil or dry coat to protect the steel from more rust for a longer time. The steel isn't going to suddenly turn red and look eaten through if it's exposed to air for more than a few minutes, of course, but if you take out too much, then you've allowde that extra exposed steel to start the corrosion process.
In addition to the oil and the packaging, ensure the steel is stored somewhere where the humidity is at least under 60 percent. It's preferable to get the steel storage area under 40 percent humidity. Rusting can start at 40 percent, but it's at 60 percent and above that the real rusting problems become obvious. Use a dehumidifier in a closed storage space if needed to get the humidity to acceptable levels.
Protect from Rain
Even if you are in an area where the humidity is naturally under 40 to 60 percent most of the time, you should still store the steel in a protected room where the steel will not be exposed to rain or other weather phenomena. Water contact will accelerate the corrosion process.
If you are still unsure if your storage plans for the extra steel are adequate, talk to the factory that's sending you the steel. They can give you recommendations and shortcuts that will help keep the steel in good shape. Learn more by contacting services like A & C Metals - Sawing.