View Full Version : Zinc coated vs. Stainless Steel hardware for outdoors?

09-05-2013, 08:27 PM
I am looking at options to bring my cable railing for my decking into a more cost effective scope and in so doing I am looking at ways to make my own system. That being said, I see a lot of Zinc Coated hardware and wondered how well it would hold up vs. Stainless Steel when left out in the elements year round (hot, cold, rain, snow, ice).
Will the Zinc Coated rust?

Educate me please.

09-05-2013, 08:34 PM
Zinc coated should not rust, but stainless is much prettier.

Table Rocker
09-05-2013, 08:39 PM
As the zinc oxidizes, the steel underneath will eventually rust. Any scrapes, cuts, etc. will also rust. Think of a roof on an old barn, it was once galvanized. As to your cable, it's just a matter of how long is long enough.

09-05-2013, 09:09 PM
Zinc coated hardware comes in an assortment of quality levels. The cheap non-graded stuff at menards will show rust in less than a year.

09-06-2013, 07:21 AM
Never had a zinc bolt last more than a season with out showing signs of rust, however, the structural integrity is still there. I even used zinc from Fastenal. Stainless is the only way to go. Over the years I have replaced zinc with zinc and still money ahead to start with stainless. Might be some of that MC OCD! Eventually you will have that cabinet drawer full of stainless left overs and not think twice!

09-06-2013, 07:33 AM
If I was in your shoes, I wouldn't think of using Zinc.

I'm a "do it once" kind of guy when it comes to a project of that scope.

What sort of price difference are you looking at?

09-06-2013, 08:15 AM
Thanks for the education, kinda what I expected to hear but never hurts to ask.
As to the cost aspect, it is a significant difference however, I too am of the mindset that you do it once and do it right the first time otherwise you easily spend twice as much as you would have had you just done it the right way from the start.
So, stainless steel it is!

09-07-2013, 10:08 PM
Don't forget that rust runs and will stain anything it comes in contact with.

Check around on quantity and price I know Menards has decent prices but limited on selection. Don't rule out McMaster Carr and Grainger.

09-08-2013, 05:34 PM
I only use SS!

09-08-2013, 06:10 PM
Don't forget to use good quality stainless fittings also. There is a lot of Chinese made stainless stuff floating around that will rust in 12months also. Google 316,304 stainless and check it out so you don't spend the big bucks and be disappointed. Have Fun.

09-08-2013, 06:17 PM
One other thing to consider. Some of the treated wood will react with galvanized coatings and rust out prematurely.

Stainless steel is vastly superior.

09-08-2013, 06:49 PM
I would shop Mcmaster first.
Big quantities there usually beat the one-zy two-zy prices at hardware stores badly and their online catalog is the best.