Can You Solder Galvanized Steel?

Can You Solder Galvanized Steel?

So you’ve got a galvanized steel project and you’re not sure if you can solder it. Don’t worry, this comprehensive guide will answer all of your questions! In this article, we’ll discuss what galvanized steel is, the pros and cons of soldering it, and how to do it properly. We’ll also provide some tips to make the process easier for you. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not soldering galvanized steel is the right choice for your project.

What is Soldering Process

In order to better answer the question “can you solder galvanized steel” it is important to have a general understanding of what soldering is. Soldering generally involves the use of a hot iron to melt a lead-based alloy, which then cools and hardens to create a durable joint between two pieces of metal.

What is Soldering Process

The main advantage of soldering over other methods of joining metals, such as welding, is that it can be done relatively quickly and does not require any special equipment beyond a soldering iron. Additionally, soldering doesn’t damage the metal like welding can, making it ideal for delicate projects.

Why Soldering Galvanized Steel is Seen as Complicated

Galvanized steel is simply regular steel that has been covered in a zinc coating. This process is called galvanization and it protects the steel from rust and corrosion.

You’ll often find galvanized steel in outdoor applications like fencing, roofing, and gutters. It’s also common in automotive parts, appliances, and even some plumbing fixtures because of its durability and resistance to corrosion.

Galvanized steel is known to have poor thermal characteristics. This is because of the said zinc coating that protects it from any harm.

The zinc coating will prevent the heat from the soldering iron from reaching the steel, which means that you won’t be able to create a proper joint. Zinc also has different properties than other metals, so it can be difficult to work with if you’re not used to it.

There are some methods that can be used to solder galvanized steel however, and we’ll go over them in the next section. [1], [2], [3]

How to Properly Solder Galvanized Steel

While soldering galvanized steel is not as hard as it may seem, you need to pay attention to a few things in order to do it properly. With proper techniques however, you’ll be able to get a great joint that will last for a long time.

Sand the surface

The first step is to sand the surface of the galvanized steel. This will help to smoothen it out and remove any potential obstacles that could get in the way of the soldering process. If your metal has inconsistencies, it could cause the joint to be weaker. You can use a variety of sandpaper grits, but we recommend starting with a medium-grit sandpaper and then working your way up to a finer grit. Just make sure to not apply too much pressure, as you don’t want to damage the metal. [2]

Sand the surface

Wipe the surface

The second step is to wipe the surface of the galvanized steel with a clean cloth. This will remove any dust or debris that might have been left behind from sanding. It’s important to make sure that the surface is completely clean before you start soldering, as any contaminants could prevent the joint from forming properly. [2]

Drive a pushpin through a steel wool

The third step is to drive a pushpin through a piece of steel wool near the galvanized steel. This will help to create a small area of exposed metal that can be used for soldering. Make sure that the steel wool is clean and free of any debris before you start. [2]

Rub the surface with liquid flux

As with any soldering job, you’ll need to use flux in order to get a proper joint. Flux helps to clean the surface of the metal and prepare it for soldering. It also removes and prevents oxidation, which can weaken the joint. It’s important to use a clean cloth and make sure that you’re not using too much flux, as this can cause problems during the soldering process. For best results, we recommend using a liquid flux rather than a solid one. This will help to ensure that the flux is evenly distributed over the surface. [2]

Heat the soldering gun to the maximum heat setting

Now it’s time to heat up your soldering gun. You’ll want to set it to the maximum heat setting, as this will help to ensure that you’re able to get a proper joint. If the gun is not hot enough, it will be difficult to solder the galvanized steel. [2]

Use a generous amount of solder

Once the soldering gun is heated, you’ll need to use a generous amount of solder. Solder is what actually creates the joint between two pieces of metal. You’ll want to make sure that you’re using enough solder, as this will help to ensure a strong and durable joint.

Use a generous amount of solder

We recommend using an acid core solder. This type of solder is designed for use with galvanized steel and other metals that are difficult to solder, as this will help to prevent the zinc from corroding the joint. Double check that you’re using the correct type of solder, as this will help to ensure a proper joint. Rosin solders for example, are not going to work well with galvanized steel.

If you’re having trouble getting the solder to stick, try slowly turning the soldering device. This will help to heat up the metal and make it easier to solder. [2], [3]

Start working on the galvanized steel

Now it’s time to start working on galvanized steel. You’ll want to make sure that you’re moving the soldering device slowly and evenly over the surface. If you move too quickly, you run the risk of not heating the metal evenly, which could cause problems with the joint.

You should also be careful not to touch the tip of the soldering device to the galvanized steel for too long. This can cause damage to the coating and make it difficult to solder properly.

Once you’ve finished soldering, you’ll want to allow the joint to cool for a few minutes before moving on. This will help to ensure that the joint is strong and durable. Be sure to inspect the joint closely. If there are any gaps or voids, you’ll need to fill them in with more solder to ensure a strong and durable joint. [2]

Extra tips

Now that you know the basics of soldering galvanized steel, here are a few extra tips to help you get the best results.

Clean sticking metal pieces from your soldering device

One of the most important things to remember when soldering galvanized steel is to always check that there’s no metal pieces sticking to the tip of your soldering gun. This can cause problems with the joint and make it difficult to solder properly.

If you find that there are metal pieces stuck to the tip, you’ll need to remove them before continuing. The best way to do this is to rub the tip against steel wool. This will help to ensure that the joint is strong and durable. [2]

Re-apply the flux if necessary

As you’re working, you’ll want to keep an eye on the flux. If it starts to turn black or smoke, this is a sign that it’s time to apply more flux. Applying more flux will help to ensure that the joint is properly cleaned and protected from oxidation. [2]

Wipe the soldering area after each pass

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re wiping the soldering area after each pass. This will help to remove any debris or acid that could prevent the joint from adhering properly.

The best tool for this is an abrasive sponge. You can find these at most hardware stores.

You should also be sure to wear gloves when you’re working with galvanized steel. This will help to protect your hands from the corrosive nature of the zinc. [2]

FAQ

How do you join galvanized steel?

Welding, brazing, and mechanical fasteners are the best methods for joining galvanized steel. Of course soldering is also an option, but it isn’t as strong as the other three methods.

Galvanized steel is coated with a layer of zinc to protect it from corrosion. This makes it difficult to weld because the heat of the welding melts the zinc and causes it to vaporize.

How do you solder galvanized steel pipe?

The most common way to solder galvanized steel pipe is with a soldering iron and lead-free solder. You’ll need to clean the pipe with a wire brush to remove any debris or rust. Once the pipe is clean, apply heat to the area you want to solder. Then touch the tip of the soldering iron to the lead-free solder and apply it to the joint.

Is it safe to solder galvanized steel?

The main safety concern when soldering galvanized steel is the zinc fumes. Zinc fumes can be dangerous if inhaled in large quantities, so it’s important to work in a well-ventilated area.

Finally, it’s important to wear gloves and eye protection when soldering galvanized steel. The zinc fumes can be irritating to your skin and eyes, so it’s best to take precautions.

What kind of solder do you use on galvanized steel?

You can use any type of solder on galvanized steel, but acid-core solder is the best choice. This type of solder will create a stronger bond and is less likely to cause corrosion.

Useful Video: how to solder galvinized steel

Final thoughts

Soldering galvanized steel can be tricky, but with a little practice, you should be able to get the hang of it. Just remember to take your time and be careful not to overheat the metal. If you do, you run the risk of damaging the galvanized coating and making it difficult to solder properly. Always sand the area prior to soldering to ensure a good connection. Now that you know the basics of soldering galvanized steel, get out there and give it a try! With a little practice, you should be able to master this challenging technique. Thanks for reading! We hope this guide was helpful!

References:

  1. https://www.muggyweld.com/video/solder-galvanized-steel/
  2. https://www.hunker.com/13402935/how-to-solder-galvanized-steel
  3. https://www.ehow.co.uk/how_6942534_do-distinguish-between-benzene-cyclohexane_.html