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Rusty oceanfront 316 SS gate in Los Angeles - I'm at wits' end


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First off, I came across this forum in Google and seems like an awesome place. Thank you in advance for any help.

I have a 316 stainless steel gate which has been a continuous bane of my existence in the 3 years of dealing with it, since fabrication in 2018.

For starters, it's either not 316 as I paid for but even if it's 304, it rusts so much worse than any other SS I've dealt with here in my 10+ years. 

I also have the following exterior things made out of 316; another gate, skylight, all kinds of exposed flashing, outdoor shower, door hardware, and more. Guess what? None of these other items even rust 1/10th as much as this gate. It must be loaded with impurities as the first 3 attached pics you see are what it looked like 8 weeks after install. Oh yeah and it's passivated too and still did this! 

I'm very accustomed to cleaning rust off of 316 and as you see in this pics, this is a deep rust. Not normal at all on 316. What I normally experience with 316 is a rust that is more superficial that comes off easily with finer Scotch pads. On this gate, I need to use the red and yes, that has taken the passivation off long ago but it was either that or rust.

Going back to why I'm going crazy with this gate is that since install, I have tried all sorts of coatings with no success. Started with Boeshield, then did Everbrite Protectaclear. Neither worked and the latter actually made it worse, as it would rust under the coating (and this is despite 6 layers and removing 100% of rust prior to application). Most recently - as in these past couple weeks - I tried using RustBullet DuraGrade Clear, as their line of products I've had success with on my exterior steel I-beams (albeit I used pigmented version). As you see in the last 3 photos, the RustBullet looks like crap bec of the self leveling, which makes it impossible to go on in any orderly type of way. It will look good for 10 minutes and then after 45 minutes you get what you see in the photos. Just awful for this application, despite their assurances it would work.

I'm at the end of the rope on this. I finally ripped off the gate this morning and am thinking I'm going to take it to the recycler and just go without a gate. I've had it with this. Literally have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on it. Unless someone here can convince me otherwise of a product that truly holds up to salty marine layer. This rolls in nightly and condensates all over this gate, so it really takes a beating. For whatever reason, NONE of my other 316 SS reacts like this gate does. Other SS is cleaning every few months, this gate requires red Scotch pads bi-weekly - no exaggeration - if no coating is on it.

I am in Los Angeles and also open to hiring this out for clear powder coating, etc. if that is even viable, I do not know. 

Thank you very much in advance for any help/advice.







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Welcome aboard MB, glad to have you. I wish we were meeting under happier circumstances. If you think you'll stick around and participate I suggest you put your general location in the header so you'll have a chance to hook up with members living within visiting distance.

Were I having that problem I think I'd load the gate and take it to the supplier that sold me the stock. I live maybe 12 miles as the raven flies from Cook Inlet and live with sea air. I don't have anything that rusts minutes after derusting!

I mean HOLY MOLY it's beginning to pit in 45 minutes?:o Your welds are staining, not rusting and I assume you matched the filler. Also, the welds on the hinge look awfully rough for stainless. What did the sparks look like when you ground on it?  I don't know what alloy that is but it's not any stainless I've encountered or would use. 

If you're a regular with that supplier they'll replace it ASAP, heck, as good will they'll probably toss in an extra stick, up the grade, or other goodies to help cover your labor and consumables.  THEY can't afford to be selling bad stock. Word of Mouth is a big part of their marketing.

The steel yard I buy from locally mis-cut a couple sticks for transport and the office manager gave the yard hand a yelling at and gave me two sticks cut at 10', the mis-cuts were 9' & 11'. It was close enough for what I was doing and didn't even mention it as a gripe but I did ask the yard hand if he was using a rubber tape measure. It worked out as a twofer or 1/2 price deal.

Steel yards have been like that as far back as I can recall. 

Frosty The Lucky.




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13 hours ago, Frosty said:

I mean HOLY MOLY it's beginning to pit in 45 minutes?:o Your welds are staining, not rusting and I assume you matched the filler. Also, the welds on the hinge look awfully rough for stainless. What did the sparks look like when you ground on it?  I don't know what alloy that is but it's not any stainless I've encountered or would use. 

Ha! Sorry if I wasn't clear but it's not rusting in 45 minutes. That would require a magic trick or something! I was talking about the Rust Bullet Duragrade Clear, which is the latest coating on it. All the junk you see on the metal - the thick lines, bubbles, distortions, and clumps - are from attempting to coat it with that product. It is not feasible, as I suspected, due to the self-leveling. Those defect happen 10 to 45 minutes after applying, due to the self-leveling nature. 

As far as reputation, if you think labor shortages are bad now, here in Los Angeles and Southern California they have been like this for years. Welders will screw you over and don't care, have been doing it for several years here. This is a walk in the park compared to my steel stairs, which were left unfinished by welder, not to mention a fire he started by not using protection and burning part of my basement. That's despite getting full payment. It's really bad here bec there's such a shortage, so threatening a contractor with reputation, reviews, and so forth does nothing. My architect/general contractor (who sub'd out this welder) I have a list a mile long of complaints to him documenting this among from the get go. Falls on deaf ears, doesn't do anything or even respond.  


I have experience using this product with success on an exterior 10" steel I-beam, applied 2 years ago and so far no rust, however that is with black. With a pigmented color, the nice thing is that all you have to do is make the top layer look good, as you can sand out all the defects underneath created by the self-leveling on a vertical surface. 

On that other hand, with this SS gate, since it's clear, there's not a good way I know of to hide the defects caused by the self-leveling properties. 

10 hours ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

We won't remember this once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to add your location in your profile. Did you fabricate the gate or have it done?

Ok thanks will do re: location. I had it fabricated. It was not the design of the welder though. 

39 minutes ago, LeeJustice said:

Have you been here  https://www.nace.org/home in your quest for information?  Or here?  https://naceinstitute.org/home  You might be able to glean some information while poking around on those sites, or find leads to other resources.

Thanks. I went on there and did find info like this: 


and this:


But I can't find things like ASTM scratch tests results of products. Speaking of scratch tests, that's why I used Rust Bullet a couple years ago after failing miserably with Hammerite paint (that would rust my I-beam in <3 months). Great for that but not so much for applications needing a clear coat.

I've researched out to several powder coaters in Los Angeles. Have yet to find one that does a clear coat. One who does them tells me it won't last at the beach. Makes sense bec there's no sand blast and primer but still, seems like there must be some sort of clear coating out there.

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You have already done due diligence by selecting a SS for use in that environment.  If that is not working; you may have to bite the bullet and go a level higher and reproduce it in something like Monel or Titanium; both forgeable and *VERY* corrosion resistant. (Both very expensive and more of a pain to work as well.)  Don't tell folks what you used if you go that route as theft would then become an issue.

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I would see if a scrap yard has an XRF? gun , and can do a check for what alloy it is. If it is not 316 then I would go after the contractor.  If you have other items that are not rusting like this, then I would lean towards them not using the right alloy.

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