Why are my grates orange? – FAQ’s on Rust

Cast Iron Sun Grate

You received your raw cast iron grate with its silver hue and flawless appearance only to walk outside two weeks later to find a grate with orange spots of rust starting to form. The first thought you have is to return the grate because they must be defective an you didn’t sign up for this abomination. “Why me? Why my grate?”

Weather affecting rust
The amount of rain and regional conditions can affect how quickly rust forms on iron.

When exposed to moisture and air, a typical orange-brown hydrated oxide (limonite) forms. This is a natural process that a grate goes through that takes time to achieve the classic dark amber color that makes it beautiful again. The more tightly adhering oxide coating actually protects the grate from further corrosion.

“How long will my grate be orange?”

Cast Iron Sun Grate
Cast Iron Sun Grate

Depending on the climate, it can take anywhere from months to years. The amount of traffic and weather the grates receive may speed up the process.  We understand that some of you don’t want to wait for an ugly duckling to become a beautiful swan. We offer an alternative with our special Baked on Oil Finish (BoOF). The BoOF process includes putting the grates through a series of stages that promotes even coloring that essentially speeds up the rusting process so you end up with grates that are aged to perfection. Why not be environmentally friendly by letting nature takes its course or allow us to give her a helping hand.

“Does the rust ruin my grate?”

This is a concern for most people but an unnecessary one. The rust is superficial and will remain that way. The structural integrity of ductile iron is not impaired by the rust.

“Why not paint my grate?”

Powder coating is a great way to change the look of your grate when trying to achieve the color you desire.  Depending on what material your grate is made of and what application it is being used, powder coating is an acceptable option.  Paint is not necessarily a long term option to keep your grates rust free, with time paint can wear and crack causing water to get under the paint making it bubble up and chip.  Paint is also used to hide defects, blow holes, and will need to be regularly maintained to keep it looking pristine.

Still hating the orange?

Still not sure whether to embrace that orange or let your grates grow old gracefully? There are other materials available that won’t rust and may be better options for your application while providing the look and feel that’s perfect for your design.

Bronze Cathedral Grating
Bronze Cathedral Grating
  • Aluminum
  • Bronze
  • Plastic
  • Stainless Steel or Galvanized

Call our experienced experts who can help you weigh the options for your project at 610-638-1221 or check out our online store by clicking here.

Have a big job and need a quote? Click here.