Zintec is the brand name for a type of mild steel that has been coated in a thin layer of zinc by electrolysis. You may be more familiar with another type of steel that comes coated in zinc: galvanised steel, but there are key differences between the two metals.
What is the difference between galvanised steel and Zintec?
Galvanised steel is made by immersing steel in a hot bath of molten zinc, whereas Zintec is made using an electromagnetic process on cold rolled steel. The layer of zinc on Zintec is much thinner than that on the galvanised steel, making Zinc especially machinable. Zintec isn’t quite up to withstanding the elements like galvanised steel, and is rarely used in outdoor projects where it’s likely to be exposed to extreme weather, but it is tough stuff that won’t corrode in storage or transit. It also boasts an extra-smooth surface, meaning it takes enamelling, painting and powder-coating very well. Zintec is bluish-grey in colour and has a matte finish that’s easy to distinguish from the brighter surface of galvanised steel.
What is Zintec used for?
Car bodies, white goods such as fridges and washing machines, air conditioning units, electronics, temporary road signs, interior doors, metal cabinets and furniture. In short, Zintec is good for a huge range of pressed products. Its key benefits are its easy machinability and resistance to rust and corrosion when being stored or transported.
Are there any other names for Zintec?
Yes. You may have heard Zintec be referred to by one of its other names, such as zinc steel, electrogalvanised steel, electro zinc steel or electric zinc coated sheet (EZC).
Can Zintec be Painted?
Absolutely! Some say Zintec is one of the best metals for painting; that thin layer of zinc and the even surface it creates are the perfect base for colour. And although Zintec itself isn’t designed to be left outside for long periods of time, the right coating can make all the difference. In Pontypridd, South Wales, for example, there’s an enormous outdoor sculpture celebrating the area’s industrial heritage, and it’s made of bolted-together Zintec panels. Unity, built by award-winning artist Andy Hazell in 2010, stands at a towering 14.7 metres tall, weighs 1,3280kg, and survives the weather thanks to being coated in specialist red paint.
Can Zintec be laser-cut?
It certainly can, and often is: Zintec is becoming increasingly popular for its use in decorative panels.
How thin is Zintec?
Zintec is available in a wide range of thicknesses, from 0.7mm (22 SWG) to 3mm (10 SWG). (SWG stands for Steel Wire Gauge, which is the standard form of measurement for metal thickness. You can read more about it here).
Zintec is mild steel, electroplated with zinc for extra strength. It is especially designed to resist corrosion and rust when it is being stored or moved around. Although the thin outer layer of zinc protects the metal from corrosion in situations with low levels of moisture, this metal is generally not recommended for outdoor use. A better metal to consider for continuous exposure to the elements is galvanised steel. That said, Zintec’s smooth surface is perfect for painting and enamelling, and if a specialist coating is used (and well-maintained), Zintec can perform well in exterior applications. Some of the most popular uses for Zintec include in car body parts and repairs, and in the manufacture of household appliances.