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Industrial Painting for Structural Steel

As a structural steel painting contractor, McCahill Painting helps clients properly restore, maintain, and extend the life of their structural steel buildings and other steel assets. Our team paints and restores structural steel beams, girders, joists, canopies, storage tanks, staircases, catwalks, railings and more.

We are highly skilled and experienced in removing rust, failing paint, and contaminants to restore steel substrates to optimum condition prior to painting. Once the substrate is sound, we carefully apply industrial-grade paint and coatings to achieve an attractive and highly protective finish.

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Why Structural Steel?

Structural steel is an excellent building material valued for its strength, durability, cost-effectiveness, fire, and moisture resistance, and relative low maintenance. Structural steel is tough, but atmospheric elements will rust and corrode structural steel, slowly compromising its strength and appearance. To protect structural steel beams and other structures, professional maintenance and painting/coating are essential. 

before and after of metal beam

How corrosion and rust damages structural steel

When steel structures are left unpainted or are painted improperly, the steel is exposed to corrosive atmospheric and environmental elements like moisture, chemicals and salt. These corrosive elements exist both indoors and out and slowly corrode the steel, creating unsightly rust and scale buildup and degrading the integrity of the steel itself. If left unprotected, the steel will not only look unsightly but will slowly thin and eventually fail due to continued corrosion.

Rust Removal and Painting of Structural Steel

How to get rid of rust on structural steel

If steel has already corroded, professional abrasive blasting and cleaning should be performed to completely remove rust, scale and buildup prior to painting. Skipping or cutting corners on this step will always lead to early paint failure and further corrosion of the steel.

McCahill Painting provides a variety of abrasive blasting options including vapor blasting, sandblasting and soda blasting, as well as highly effective power washing and drone power washing using hot water and gentle cleaning agents, if needed. The specific processes used depend on the condition and goals of each project.

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How to protect structural steel

The single best way to prevent corrosion and preserve your structural steel assets is with professional application of a protective paint or coating. Simply throwing on a coat of paint will not do, as paint applied improperly will quickly fail and allow corrosion.

McCahill Painting has extensive experience and training in preparing and painting structural steel to ensure a durable finish that delivers the highest level of protection from future corrosion.

Safety and Respect on Every Job

Safety and respect are non-negotiable priorities on every job we perform. Our professional crews recognize they are guests in your space and perform their work with the utmost respect for your employees, visitors, and property.

Our team is trained and licensed to work safely in demanding work environments and skilled at using elevated work platforms, lifts and other specialty equipment often necessary when painting structural steel. Our methods deliver outstanding results while protecting your work environment and minimizing disruption. 

The mccahill process

Comprehensive Painting & Restoration Services for Structural Steel

In any structural steel painting project, it is the preparation process that largely determines success. McCahill Painting, a structural steel contractor never skimps on prep work, and you can see our meticulous preparation process in steps 1-3 below. It’s our no-fail formula for consistently creating finishes that are attractive, highly resilient, and extremely durable. 

Industrial Vapor Blasting on Pipes

1. Blasting, Grinding, Sanding and Scraping

Abrasive blasting

When significant corrosion has occurred, the first step in refurbishing structural steel beams and other steel surfaces is usually abrasive blasting. In this process, abrasives are blasted at the steel to remove rust, mill scale, loose paint, and other contaminants to create an ideal surface profile for the new paint or coating.

McCahill Painting is highly skilled and experienced at safely and effectively sandblasting, soda blasting, and vapor blasting structural steel. The precise blasting method used will depend on the condition of the structural steel and the work environment.

Power grinding, sanding, and scraping

In cases where corrosion and buildup are mild, blasting is not necessary and the debris can be removed by any combination of power grinding, sanding, and scraping with hand tools. In most cases, the surface will first be cleaned via power washing or hand washing before sanding or scraping. This is important because sanding or scraping on a dirty surface can push dirt and other contaminants into the existing paint film, ultimately causing adhesion issues with the new paint.

2. Cleaning

After blasting and sanding, the structural steel surface must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining abrasive, dust, or residue. Depending on the project, we may power wash the surface using hot water, hand wash the surface, and/or apply a chemical solvent to achieve a clean surface ready for primer.

3. Priming

Applying a high-quality primer is the final step in ensuring a structural steel surface is fully prepared to be painted. Primers assist in paint adhesion by forming a binding layer that is better prepared to receive paint. Specialty primers such as a two-component epoxy mastic industrial primer can convert iron oxide (rust) into a solid, paintable surface. McCahill Painting is highly knowledgeable in selecting the best primers for each project, and we always apply them exactly per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Industrial Sandblasting and Painting of Structural Steel

4. Painting

Lastly, we apply a high-performance paint finish to the structural steel. The exact paint product used is selected to meet each specific project’s requirements and can include properties like abrasion resistance, water resistance, and gloss retention.

As with the primer, the paint is applied exactly per the manufacturer’s specifications. This level of precision in the application is extremely important in achieving a durable, attractive, and long-lasting finish. Once the paint is applied, the structural steel looks like new and is protected from rust and contaminants for years to come.

Why Choose McCahill Painting?

Asset Preservation Approach

McCahill Painting approaches every project with the fundamental goal of extending the usable life of our customers' industrial and commercial assets. Always keeping this perspective in mind, we help clients properly restore and protect their buildings and structures to achieve the aesthetic appearance they're looking for while maximizing the long-term return on their investments. 

Sky-high Standards

McCahill Painting never cuts corners on safety, results, or service, and our customers have come to know that they get what they pay for—working with a company that delivers consistently outstanding results, employs excellent safety practices, offers expert consultation, has a professional crew, and can operate without constant oversight and handholding.

40+ Years of Experience in the Business

With decades of experience and thousands of successful projects completed, we've developed proven methods and tried-and-true techniques for achieving superior restoration results. It is our privilege to bring this expertise to our customers, consulting with them to develop the best possible solutions for their projects to ensure excellent finishes and long-term durability.

proudly serving chicagoland, illinois, wisconsin, indiana & michigan

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McCahill Painting is an ISNetworld Member Contractor, underscoring our commitment to safety, training and sound business practices.