Is Corten Steel The Same As Rust?

A very common misconception is that Corten steel and rust are the same things. Aesthetically, yes. But not technically. Corten steel, also known as weathering steel, is a group of steel alloys that give a rust-like appearance after many years of weathering. While rust is the outcome of the weathering process, it is the reddish-brown coating formed on iron or steel, due to the oxidation process. However, in today’s world, they are used interchangeably. When one is looking for a Corten steel finish or a rust texture, they are looking for an orangish-brown shade for their project.

There are many different materials and applications now, using which one can achieve the Corten Steel look. Below is the list of the many options, discussing their pros and cons.



1. Corten Steel Sheets



These copper chromium alloy steel sheets are the original way to achieve Corten steel textures. They are available in many thicknesses and can be cladded onto exteriors, owing to their strength. This highly durable material takes about 2 to 4 years to oxidize to get a stable rust look. Since this alloy was developed to eliminate the need for painting, one cannot expect a seamless solution. Furthermore, this material has a high level of weather and corrosion resistance. Despite all its functionality, Corten Steel sheets tend to bleed, due to which it stains the surfaces around. This has in recent times, become a nightmare for architects. Also, it’s not easy to clean the same, leaving designers looking for hassle-free options.



Exteriors Designed With Corten Steel Sheets
Image Source: Pinterest

2. Liquid Metal



A 20th-century innovation, one can now achieve Corten Steel textures using liquid metal coatings. In this process, metal is sprayed onto the base substrate, aged instantly and sealed with a protective layer. Due to the spraying process, the rust textures can be seamless. Liquid metal coatings are as durable as the base substrate applied to and hence the base needs to be chosen with much thought. Since these coatings are manufactured using iron, they can survive temperatures as high as 60 degrees Celsius. Besides, an added advantage with liquid metal coatings is the ability to create custom shades by controlling the oxidizing process. This gives a designer the added advantage to have a shade unique to themselves.



Rust Finished Interiors by Evolve India
Image Courtesy: Studio Untitled

3. Paintable Rust



The instant rust kit is a user-friendly product that achieves the Corten Steel finish in one step. A first of its kind product by Evolve India; manufactured using real rust in an aqueous base. This product is a do it yourself solution, giving end-users to try it out for themselves. It has the same durability as iron, owing to the rust component used to manufacture it, and is applied just like paint. In terms of its strength, it can withstand high exterior temperatures, rain and dust. The shades can also be customized by experimenting with layering techniques and application tools. Paintable rust is a great option for large volume exteriors, due to its quick and easy application. Thus, allowing you to get the look of Corten Steel, without any of the limitations.



4. Rustic Paints



There are many metallic paints in the market that can give you the look of a rust texture. The paints are developed using metallic pigments mixed with solvents, in varied proportions. These are applied using brushes and rollers. Since these are not real metal, they will not oxidize on exposure to the sun. Nor will they have the depth of the real oxidized metal. Rustic paints are a good alternative for such cost-conscious clients, who are looking for an orange-brown colour versus the feel of Corten steel. Although with the many alternatives that are made using real metal, metallic paints are often given the miss.



Image Source: Pinterest

Comparison of all application mediums




  Metal Sheets Liquid Metal Paintable Rust Metallic Paints
Composition Steel Alloy Real Metal in an aqueous base Real rust in an aqueous base Metallic pigments in a solvent base.
Thickness Wide range of thickness’ available. 4mm – 12mm 1m – 1.5m 1mm
Application Cladding Onsite and/or Cladding Onsite Onsite
Seamless No Yes Yes Yes
VOC free Yes Yes Yes No
Installation By Contractors By Contractors DIY By Painters
Warranty    7 – 10 years 7 – 10 years  
Will oxidize over time Yes No No No
Easy to clean No Yes Yes Yes


Are there any other options using which one can achieve the Corten steel texture or a rust finish? Tell us in the comments below! If you are looking for rust finishes, we at Evolve India have an exciting wide range. Fill the form below to receive our e-catalogue.


Blog Comments

Pls arrange for a call and samples at earliest

Hello Hardik, to receive our samples please fill up this form and we will be in touch with you shortly:
You can also reach out to us at 9372862239.

Very useful information given…and….also comparisons


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