Materials, Design and Finishes
Materials and Design
Most of the products are made from mild steel, welded up to form a strong light structure that will last for many years. There are a broad range of sections to allow for a lot of design flexibility.
There are 9 options for finishes:
This is a spray finish that works well for internal use, providing the metal is not going to be handled or rubbed too much. It is easy and relatively cheap to apply and can easily be touched up by you if necessary in the future.
This is a very traditional finish and has the same qualities as lacquer, plus a nice smell.
Mild steel left untreated will naturally rust. This is regarded by many gardeners, including ourselves, as a preferred option for plant supports and even many decorative items so some outdoor applications may suit this finish. Any of the products used with this finish will last for many years given the size of the metal section used in the design.
Galvanising is an industrial process that results in a very durable bright shiny silver finish that will quickly weather to a dull grey. It is most suitable for outdoors. It is a rather utilitarian finish so it is great for rose towers and some types of garden sculpture, but more decorative items may look better with something more decorative. Galvanising stops all rusting and fades into the background quite well. It is particularly suitable for permanent structures.
Powder coating is an industrial process where pigment is sprayed on to metal and then baked to create a durable hard finish. It is not quite as durable as galvanising and the colour will fade away a little over time from weathering. You can have something powder coated in pretty much any colour you want although in practice common colours come at a reasonable price while the more interesting and funky can become expensive. The cost difference is because the powder coater must buy a large container of a colour that will probably only be used once so will want to pass on the total cost, often £300 or more, plus the cost of the job.
Galvanised and Powder Coated
It is possible to first galvanise metal and then powder coat on top which provides the maximum durability. This can get expensive unless you consider the cost of a cherished new piece of furniture and the number of years it will last. You will only want to consider this options for an outdoor setting.
Do it yourself is the 9th option. Hammerite metal paint or similar is easily applied and easy to touch up later. It comes in a limited range of colours and is pretty utilitarian compared to powder coating, but carefully applied it can look very nice for the right application, usually an outdoor one.